YouTube has been the king of video content since its launch in 2005. Since then, numerous sites tried to copy the massive footsteps of this online video-sharing platform giant and failed. Although Twitch came into the picture in 2006, it was only around 2014 that millions of people began to take notice.
As of 2020, about 2.2 million people are loyal Twitch streamers. YouTube is still a force to reckon with specially with its dedicated gaming app YouTube Gaming launched in 2015 (and now expanded as part of YouTube Live).
If you’re mulling a Twitch vs YouTube dilemma, it is totally understandable, but this guide was made exactly to help you choose.
Twitch vs YouTube - Which Is Better For You?
YouTube has been the leading video platform since 2005. Twitch launched in 2006 and quickly became the go-to platform of streaming online games that by the time Amazon acquired it in 2014, there was nowhere for Twitch to go but up.
Today, other companies like Facebook Gaming and Microsoft’s Mixer are trying to get a slice of the pie by paying famous Twitch streamers like Ninja to move on Mixer, or DisguisedToast to move to Facebook Gaming.
For beginner streamers, or those who are still on Twitch, weighing options between Twitch vs YouTube is understandable. You wouldn't want to be giving all your efforts into building your channel only to move to another company so soon, right?
The decision to go with either YouTube or Twitch will ultimately depend on your resources, goals and personal preference, but this comparison guide should help you a little.
What’s the Difference Between Streaming on YouTube and Twitch?
You may have chosen the best streaming software based on the products we reviewed, but deciding where to stream your content between YouTube and Twitch is another completely different dilemma you must face.
There are pros and cons for both platforms, but here are 3 major considerations you should weigh:
1. YouTube saves your streams automatically. Because of this, it is easier for viewers to rewind and catch up with missed streams. This means you can earn from ads immediately after streaming.
2. Twitch is everywhere. You can use your phone, PC, PS4, Xbox, and other platforms to stream your content. Viewers can also access your stream from any of these platforms. On the other hand, YouTube doesn't support Xbox One and does not allow content creators to stream from their phones before their 1,000th subscriber.
3. Community support is big on Twitch. Because Twitch is owned by Amazon, the company gives out free money to Amazon Prime subscribers, so they could support their favorite Twitch streamers. You can be on of them as long as you learn how to get more viewers on Twitch. Also, the Twitch chat box feels more homey than YouTube's comment section.
How Viewers Find Your Content
How viewers find your content is another important consideration when deciding streaming on YouTube vs Twitch.
On YouTube, the platform has its own algorithm that promotes videos based on a viewer's watching history. If the viewer keeps on watching Fortnite streams and your own Fortnite stream gets saved into a long video, there's a good chance YouTube recommends your video to these Fortnite-loving viewers.
But this isn't guaranteed because YouTube will mostly recommend streamers who are more active and with a certain number of subscribers.
An advantage of YouTube streaming vs Twitch is that the saved videos are presented with a thumbnail, which makes it easier for viewers to get a clue what your video is all about.
On Twitch, viewers have to browse categories to find the games they'd like to watch. When a viewer clicks on a particular game, currently-streaming streamers are then listed with the most views shown first. For streamers, this could be bad news if they're just starting out competing with more popular or older streamers in the Twitch community. Plus, thumbnails are generated by Twitch automatically.
Overall Content and Content Guidelines
It doesn't matter if you have the best game recording software (we posted the best of the best here) when it comes to deciding between Twitch vs YouTube streaming. Content rules can be another reason to swing to one direction.
- Twitch became popular as an exclusive gaming only platform, but expanded to "IRL" categories to welcome other streamers. YouTube has always been a multi-genre platform, but YouTube Live has been gearing to compete directly against Twitch.
- When it comes to rules, YouTube follows a three-strike system and usually penalizes streamer offenses through demonetization of their ads. Meanwhile, Twitch is quicker to ban people for various reasons, but the ban is often temporary.
Why YouTube is now the biggest threat to Twitch
Twitch is still the YouTube of video games, but it could change soon. Here's why:
Gaming studio Activision Blizzard used to give Twitch exclusive streaming rights in 2017 to 2019. In early 2020, Activision Blizzard announced that it signed a multi-year partnership with Google that would make YouTube their new exclusive live streaming partner for its esports leagues.
This new development means Call of Duty League and Overwatch League, which is viewed by millions of people every year like the Superbowl of eSports, will now bring the viewers to YouTube.
Because of this reason, the battle of YouTube Live vs Twitch could have a new leader by the end of 2020.
The Money You Can Make
One of the major considerations streamers make when picking between YouTube vs Twitch streaming is monetization, or how they can make money in their chosen platform.
On YouTube, you can earn through ads, donations, and membership payments (only 70% since YouTube takes a 30% cut).
As for Twitch, cash is mostly in donations and subscriber fees (each one pays $5, but Twitch takes $2.50 per subscriber). There is also an option for ad revenues, which works similarly to YouTube ads.
Mobile-Game Streamers Are More Likely to Stream on YouTube
When it comes to mobile streaming on Twitch vs YouTube, the former company always had the upper hand because it supports almost any platform, so streaming mobile-based games wouldn't be any problem.
Garena Free Fire and PUBG Mobile are extremely popular on YouTube with up to 20 million hours of live viewership, while not so much on Twitch. The YouTube app makes it easier for content-makers to stream games because it has a built-in function with a button that you just have to press when ready.
On the other hand, Twitch gives you control on how you'd like to stream your mobile games. You can either get a third-party live streaming app, then cast it on a TV, or connect your phone via cable. It isn't as straightforward as YouTube's process of mobile game streaming.
Twitch vs YouTube - My Final Conclusion
The dilemma of streaming on YouTube vs Twitch is harder now that both companies are cranking up their features to attract more streams (and keep their celebrity streamers to stay). With Facebook Gaming and Microsoft's Mixer also taking slices of the game-streaming pie, the fight to be on top will just continue in the months or years ahead. After all, gaming is a $160-billion industry.
Both Twitch and YouTube have their strengths and weaknesses, but deciding where to stream must be based on your personal preference and business goals.