Streamed content has gained a number of new faces in recent years. While YouTube almost definitely created the concept of the civilian presenter, the introduction of TikTok, Twitch, and the now-defunct Mixer (Microsoft) meant that Google’s video platform was no longer the default king of short-form entertainment. More than that, fully live material was now an increasingly popular thing to watch on the internet.
Marbles on Stream
Live streaming allowed more traditional types of content to attempt something new. On Twitch, small games can be embedded into chat, with Marbles on Stream and Jackbox Party Pack helping to build a relationship between streamer and audience. Casino games have attempted something similar, as well, adding a real-life dealer to table games in order to increase feelings of immersion and authenticity.
The casino at Paddy Power has over thirty live lobbies of this kind, which offer versions of poker, sic bo, blackjack, roulette, and even game shows. What was once a largely computer-driven process now has croupiers throwing real dice, placing bets, dealing cards by hand, and interacting with the player base. Many of these games transitioned to mobile phones, too.
Of course, as we’ve already hinted at with Mixer, streaming is as fluid a marketplace like any other, and Google’s recent announcement that it had missed a per-share price of US$25.76 suggests that things aren’t quite as rosy on the streaming front as things might appear. In reality, Google made US$16.4bn in Q1 2022 – hardly a poverty wage but missed targets indicate changing attitudes among customers and advertisers.
Both TikTok and Twitch are encroaching on YouTube’s dominance. The advertising website eMarketer notes that the latter platform will probably only have 2m more users per year than TikTok (26m to 24m) by 2025. As the popularity of the Chinese service increases in tandem with the age of 18-24-year-olds. Of course, as far as streaming is concerned, format and video lengths make a difference – or did.
YouTube, TikTok, and Twitch all now have live modes, which puts them all in direct competition with each other for streamers. Twitch is likely to get along fine as its video game focus ensures it has a niche audience to entertain, but YouTube’s attempts at diversifying its platform haven’t done so well. For one, the YouTube Gaming app was discontinued in 2019 in favor of a new section on its website.
In its defense, YouTube had always used its Gaming app as a testbed for new services. But, as both Twitch and TikTok generate a large amount of traffic from their mobile software, the inability of YouTube Gaming. Thus, to attract any kind of buzz via an app is a little bit ominous. There’s really no denying that YouTube, like Facebook, isn’t quite meshing with people as it did a decade ago.
Live streaming remains a growth industry but expect to see YouTube take a backseat to other platforms. In the future, as Google’s longstanding struggles with the website continue into a new decade.