We’re back! After our now-concluded baker’s dozen of posts about our core mission (“Software That Matters”) — selecting and implementing at ERP system — we’ll return to switching it up from post to post, covering our usual variety of other business and tech topics of interest to readers. Today, we drift off track a bit with an interesting item that most readers probably know very little about…
You probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Netflix, Google and Apple are among the top four users of Internet bandwidth. But we’ll bet you never even heard of the fourth company (unless you were born after about 1990).
It’s “Twitch.tv.” This is the new Internet. Twitch is basically a gaming channel. Actually, it’s a site where you can watch others play games. If you’re over about 25, you probably didn’t even know this was a thing.
Playing video games in front of a live, online audience has become big business.
And Twitch, which is sort of a social network for gamers, is a big part of it. Twitch gaming stars “gather admirers as they narrate action, explain strategy, mock opponents and celebrate victories” according to an article in the November 23 issue of Bloomberg BusinessWeek. At Twitch, swarms of channels can be found with people playing just about any popular online game you can name, from Poker and Farming Simulator to Halo and Grand Theft Auto.
Twitch is actually owned by Amazon, which did hear about it, early on, and acquired the company for nearly a billion dollars last year. Its competitor is Google’s YouTube, the premier destination for recorded-and-edited gaming clips (as opposed to Twitch TV’s “live” offerings), according to Bloomberg.
Recently, they note what ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel made of this new, multi-billion dollar platform phenomenon when ne noted in a monologue: “To me, watching another person play video games is like going to a restaurant and having someone eat your food for you.” The segment ended with a skit in which God, looking down form on-high, concludes: “I’ve created a race of idiots.”
The site was born of an earlier attempt at “life casting,” which featured Twitch’s two founders, Emmett Shear and Justin Kan, basically broadcasting Shear’s life over the Internet, all day every day. Again quoting Bloomberg, “Of all the banal and esoteric things that appeared… it was the streams of dudes playing video games that attracted the most viewers.” Thus was Twitch.TV launched in the summer of 2011.
Twitch gamers who attract viewers received “D”s or donations from viewers, and apparently it can be pretty lucrative. At the very least, it sure eats up a lot of Internet bandwidth. Not to mention, time.
Once streamers get established on Twitch, they can apply to become a so-called partner, after which they get a cut of whatever advertising, subscription and merchandising revenue Twitch can generate from their channel. The result can add up to a six figure income for the most popular. (And you said nothing would ever come of your kid playing video games all day long.) Top personalities can earn upwards of $30,000 per month.