If you’re into the live stream scene (News Flash: you should be if you also run a Youtube channel), you’ll know that Twitch now has competition. YouTube announced their entry into the foray of live streaming services last Friday and the internet kinda went a little crazy in regards to that. Youtube Gaming is being touted as the “Twitch killer” and supporters for both Youtube and Twitch are getting all up in each other’s business. Even their Twitter accounts are throwing shade at each other:
So what does this mean for you, as a live streamer? It means you’re about to have a second, really good (hopefully) option for your live streaming needs. Twitch has been on top for a very long time and they have not had to do anything to stay there, so competition in the field is a very good thing for you, the content creator. This means Youtube Gaming and Twitch are gonna have to constantly outdo each other to make sure they are number one.
An announcement like this can be confusing and require a lot of data aggregation and, ugh, reading, to make the right decision. TGN‘s got your back by gathering up all the pros, mehs, and cons we could find about this major industry announcement, as well as our own personal experiences with both Youtube Gaming and Twitch, so that you can make an educated decision for your own channel/live stream. Let’s drop this knowledgebomb!
An Impressive Amount of Pros
The first big plus that everyone is raving about is that Youtube Gaming will save your live streams and automatically upload them as VoDs. This is a major advantage over Twitch due to the fact that, unless you are a Turbo member, Twitch only holds onto your VoDs for 2 weeks, and then they’re gone forever. As well, most Twitch live streamers upload their older broadcasts to Youtube anyway; this just cuts out the middleman.
Automatically turning your live streams into VoDs means an increase in instant revenue (via views on Youtube – which is something Twitch streaming currently lacks. Youtube Gaming is really pushing to make this the “one-stop shop” for live streaming and uploading VoDs.
“YouTube Gaming is really pushing
to make this the ‘one-stop shop for
live streaming and uploading VoDs.”
Youtube Gaming is also focusing on creating an easy way to stream in high quality and surpass the limitations that Twitch currently imposes on live streamers. Right now, if you are not partnered with Twitch, they will recommend that you stream around or below 2000-2500 bitrate. Why? Because viewers of non-partnered streams cannot change the quality of the stream, and therefore, it may cause issues for those of your viewers with weaker internet connections. Twitch partners are welcome to stream at around 4000 bitrate.
The current Youtube Gaming live stream quality options blow that out of the water. Not only can smaller channels be free to stream in much higher quality, but there are almost no limitations on bandwidth. You can stream from as low as 240p up to 1080p video at 60fps, and as long as your connection can handle it – 3000-6000Kbps! And the best part is your viewers get whatever quality their connection can handle. This is a pretty big deal for those partners who are limited by Twitch‘s current “guidelines”.
“The current Youtube Gaming
live stream quality options
blow that out of the water.”
There’s also something similiar to a DVR mode which watching streams on Youtube Gaming, where your viewers can rewind the broadcast and watch it with a delay, but still live. So that’s a neat option that Twitch doesn’t currently have. Also, you will no longer have to schedule live streams (just press the “Go Live” button) on Youtube Gaming! Whether or not these are major selling points for our TGN partners, I can’t say, but they’re something neat to include.
We’ll call these “mehs”
Several features that we like to call “mehs”, because they may be pros or cons depending on your particular channel, have also been highlighted over the course of the weekend.
Your Youtube channel and your Youtube Gaming live stream will have separate subscribers. Whether or not this matters remains to be seen. Does a channel subscriber need to sub to your live stream to get notifications about when you go live? Will a live stream subscriber get notifications when you upload videos? Will this affect the pull of people from your VoDs to your live stream, and attribute a loss in views (the reason many avoid going to Twitch)? These are questions that you should be asking and talking about once Youtube Gaming launches.
“Your Youtube channel and
your Youtube Gaming live stream
will have separate subscribers.”
Youtube Gaming will also do cross-promotion a bit differently than Twitch. Twitch has a “front page” where they highlight their bigger streamers. You can also check out an entire games’ worth of streamers by tossing a favorite to a specific game. Not only is Youtube doing both of these things, but they will also have a “similar tastes” page while you are watching a stream, and it will recommend streams based on what game you are watching, or the streamers personality, or other factors. This kind of cross promotion can definitely help smaller channels gain an audience, but it can also be annoying for fans who like to search for their content instead of having their content come to them (ie internet hipsters).
“Youtube Gaming will
also do cross-promotion
a bit differently than Twitch.”
And speaking of promotion, Youtube Gaming‘s homepage. Bruh, this thing looks sweet. Way sweeter than Twitch‘s. But some people like the simplicity of Twitch‘s home page, and the flashy “app” feel of Youtube Gaming‘s page may turn some people off.
Another question that has been asked by content creators is a pretty important one, “How is all of this getting monetized and how does this affect me?” Well, the easy way of saying it is that Twitch, as long as you are partnered with them, currently monetizes through monthly subscriptions (paid by subscribers to your live stream) and ad revenue during your actual live stream. There is no mention of ad revenue on past broadcasts.
Youtube Gaming will monetize live streams after they’ve become VoDs, aka, past broadcasts. There is nothing to say that Youtube Gaming won’t change this, but right now, they are lacking the subscription-style monetization options that Twitch has.
Most, if not all, live streamers are in it to make a living, so Youtube not giving Youtube Gaming live streamers a subscription option is a pretty big thing to miss. And thus, we head into the cons part of this fun blog post, or as I like to call it, “What do they got that I ain’t got?”
Much Needed Improvements
Oh man, and there are some glaring cons in immediately switching to Youtube Gaming. Number one is the whole snafu with Content ID. Everyone who was on Youtube remembers that whole dealie – false claims flying around everywhere – it was a huge mess! Well, it could totally happen again with Youtube Gaming, and it looks like they are still using that awesome system to judge live streams. There is one major difference, though, and that is that if you are violating copyright on your stream, they don’t just shut it down. You will get a little angry notification that warns you of your copyright violation (most common example would be music on your stream), and you have a set amount of time to fix it before you get kicked. So that’s something.
“There is one major difference, though,
and that is that if you are violating copyright on your stream,
they don’t just shut it down.”
Twitch just mutes the stream in your “Past Broadcasts” if you play music, so it doesn’t affect the live stream, only the VoD afterwards.
Twitch is also kicking butt with their chat system right now. Youtube Gaming has a chat, but it is very basic and does not afford much in the way of leniency or moderation. Currently, you can promote people to moderator and they can suspend and ban people from chat, but….that’s about it. There are no custom emotes, no link posting, no Kappas. I mean COME ON no Kappas? They have a selection of emotes to choose from in the chat on Youtube Gaming, but nothing custom and they’re all rather bland. Twitch is so very superior when it comes to chat right now, not only for the freedom to do so much, but because you can also use tools like Nightbot and Moobot to moderate, instead of just auto-banning links and the like.
“There are no custom emotes,
no link posting, no Kappas.”
Tools like Nightdev, Nightbot, Moobot and other chat/channel improvement mods are also glaring holes in the Youtube Gaming scene, though Youtube has mentioned they are working on the API for this.
Youtube Gaming is also missing those awesome highlights that Twitch users can place over their channel. Twitch highlights lend themselves to easy, bite-sized content that can promote your channel. As far as we know, you can only watch previous broadcasts and highlights of streams on the Youtube Gaming streamer’s Youtube channel, instead of right on the stream’s page. It’ll be interesting to see if they implement a “highlights” style feature as the platform matures.
“Tools like Nightdev, Nightbot, Moobot and other chat/channel improvement mods are also glaring holes[…]”
So, while Youtube Gaming may be busting quite loudly into the live streaming arena, a lot remains to be seen about how well Youtube‘s policies work in Twitch‘s area of expertise. TGN thinks it’ll be worth our TGN Partner‘s while to check out, and even adopt the streaming service full-time, but to be patient as the service grows. It’s still too early to determine who will be number one a few years from now, but Youtube Gaming has quite a bit going for it, especially in the way of bandwidth and technology. It should not be immediately ignored or discounted because if they do things right, they could bite a serious chunk out of Twitch‘s dominating live stream pie.