As more users sign-up to streaming platforms such as Twitch to catch a glimpse of the latest game, Jade Burke takes a look at the growing sector and how these sites can benefit retailers…
Live game streaming is certainly proving to be a hugely popular tool for watching games, with websites such as Twitch and YouTube Gaming offering gamers a platform to view their favourite players in action.
Amazon acquired Twitch back in 2014 in a deal worth around $970 million and it’s no wonder the etailer snapped up the streaming service – in 2015, The Wall Street Journal reported that the site on average had around 100 million viewers a month worldwide.
In addition, YouTube has gone on to rival Twitch with its own gaming website, YouTube Gaming, while Nvidia has launched the GRID, providing gamers with a streaming service in the cloud.
While these streaming services offer marketers and tech companies valuable advertising space, they're forcing PC makers and other companies to rethink their strategies.
Retailer Overclockers has launched a new StreamR PC hardware range specifically for game streamers. It features a streaming console, software and the StreamR Elite System, which can be equipped with Nvidia graphics cards.
Live streaming gives enthusiasts the chance to watch gamers in action, whilst also having the chance to communicate with others in real-time, and it seems the craze isn’t going to end there, with retailers making use of streaming in store.
For example, Utopia Computers has introduced an alliance programme whereby gamers who have their own Twitch TV or YouTube channel can earn a percentage on any device bought from Utopia that was redirected through their Twitch channel.
James Dean, UK MD at PR firm Kuoda (which looks after ESL), says: “Twitch requires a fair amount of performance hardware in order to stream including added peripherals. Companies could offer specific systems to attract this demographic.”
Streaming is becoming a big part of gaming, with many choosing to stream a game rather than tune in to watch the latest soap on the TV, which provides more opportunities for resellers. For example, new graphics cards and processors are essential to provide a better experience when settling down to watch the latest game.
“eSports is a massive area of growth – the industry is expecting eSports to be more popular in terms of viewers than F1 and NFL and NHL combined by 2020,” explains Ben Miles, sales director at system integrator Chillblast.
“People like us can’t afford to pooh-pooh that as a fad because it’s anything but. People can see the graphics from a stream and think, ‘Well why can’t my PC do that?’, so it’s a driver of new business for us.”
However, although the industry is off to a promising start, some gamers who are renowned for their streaming efforts in the industry have suffered due to copyright laws. For example, TotalBiscuit, real name John Bain, has often been caught up in copyright glitches. On one occasion he uploaded a video critique of the game Day One: Garry’s Incident, which has since been pulled down due to a copyright claim from the developer, Wild Game Studios.
Even though this is the case in some circumstances, streaming is starting to transform gaming, making it much more interactive and immersive.
Rich Marsden, director of VIP Computers, adds: “Streaming is huge and is helping to drive gaming to the next level. Twitch is really changing the shape of the industry in terms of engagement which in turn creates ad opportunities.”