Evolution of Twitch

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Evolution of Twitch

If you haven’t heard of Twitch, then where have you been for the past four years? Living under a rock? Twitch is the Amazon owned video game streaming site that has and still is taking the technology scene by storm.

The site averages over 100 million viewers per month, with 2 million unique streamers per month as well. There are also an estimated 17,000 users making a formidable living from streaming on the site and using the Twitch partner program.

Twitch was initially set-up as a site for gamers to stream their gameplay to other enthusiasts, but it has slowly started to change and adapt to new markets. In this article we take an in-depth look at Twitch and see how it is evolving from a simple video game streaming site.

The beginning

In 2007 a website called Justin.tv was launched and over time the creators noticed that the gaming section of their site was gaining serious interest from visitors. With that in mind they decided to create a dedicated game streaming site, and in 2011 they did, calling it Twitch, based on the phrase ‘twitch gaming’.

In the early days Twitch were based in San Francisco and had just under 80 employees working for them. Three years later, the company was acquired by Amazon for a reported $1 billion, as the retail giants recognised the endless possibilities of the site.

Nowadays Twitch is synonymous with gaming and is the number one spot for players interested in watching video game streams and a host of other services currently provided by Twitch.

Making money from Twitch

The site has three main streams of revenue itself, predominantly adverts which are shown at the beginning of every single stream, and then money gained from turbo subscriptions which disable adverts for users and the partner program.

The partner program is the way to make money for yourself through Twitch. If you create a channel that gains enough interest or viewers, you can sign up to the program and make a good slice of money.

Twitch will give you a share of the money from adverts, which you will be able to control on your stream, including how long they are and when they are shown to your audience. Twitch partners can also charge their viewers a monthly subscription to get special access to their content. Of course, Twitch will take a share of your earnings, but you can make plenty of money for yourself regardless.


As with anything, diversification is the key to success and Twitch is no different. The site has evolved over the years and now offers viewers much more than just traditional video game streams. Below are a list of some of the new features on Twitch.

IRL: Behind video game streaming, the second-most popular feature on Twitch is IRL (in real life) streaming. If you’re of a certain age, you’ll find this completely bonkers, but IRL is basically a user talking to his or her viewers about their daily lives.

Whether that’s walking to the shop, seeing friends or doing a bit of decorating. Hundreds of thousands of viewers subscribe to a whole host of IRL channels all at varying degrees of boringness…

Talk Shows & Podcasts: The people behind the most popular Twitch channels are regarded as heroes and celebrities by their followers. One way these celebrities have sought to connect to their audience is through creating talk shows or live panel podcasts.

Often the talk shows or podcasts will focus on one particular video game, and the people on the show will talk about their success and their journey as well as giving gaming tips to their viewers.

Cookery shows: Not perhaps something that you would associate with the demographic that Twitch attracts. But cookery shows have become incredibly popular on the site. It’s all part of the Twitch Creative program which is focused on showcasing peoples abilities to help people and teach them new skills.

The tone of the shows are obviously different to traditional cookery shows that you would see on the Good Food channel. ‘Cooking for Noobs’ is a channel that’s had great success in the past 12 months and is aimed at young gamers that have no idea how to cook.

Twitch Con: In 2015 Twitch decided to take advantage of their popularity by organising a three day exhibition in San Francisco in which over 20,000 guests attended. The event featured workshops with successful gamers, tournaments and an awards ceremony that paid tribute to some of the platforms most successful users.

In the second year of Twitch Con, the event in 2016 attracted 35,000 guests with day tickets selling for a reported $85 each, making it an incredibly lucrative endeavour for Twitch. The next event is in late October this year in San Jose and is expected to attract over 50,000 guests.

Poker: The world of online gambling hasn’t been slow to jump on the Twitch hype, with hundreds of the best-known players in the game setting up streams on the Twitch platform. Traditional land-based tournaments such as the World Series of Poker have long been popular amongst spectators, but Twitch has allowed viewers to watch the best of the action from the world of online poker.

Pro players have also taken to streaming their online exploits as educational tools for viewers, talking them through strategies, probabilities and the best bluffing techniques.

What’s next for Twitch?

It seems like the next big thing on the gaming scene for the past few years has been Virtual Reality, although the technology has still not taken off in mainstream use. However Twitch are busy preparing ways to integrate VR into their future operations.

Twitch Creative is also an area that the company are looking at expanding, offering viewers’ not just cooking advice but plenty of other practical advice tailored to their demographic. The growth of Esports doesn’t look like slowing down either so Twitch will have to remain dedicated to their core offering in order to keep their audience numbers growing.

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