Not long ago Amazon acquired Twitch, a platform for game players and gameplay viewers, where users can see thousands of live gameplays broadcasted from thousands of games. Although ‘why people are becoming more interest in watching games than playing” is still a much-debated question on YouTube and social media, but it doesn’t affect the fact that Twitch audience is growing at a really fast rate. Is it a new turn for the gaming industry? Did Amazon know that?
It all started from reaction videos
To understand that why Twitch is Amazon’s best bet in the gaming industry yet, you must know how it all started. If you go to YouTube today, you will see videos that never existed before. The “Reaction Videos!” These videos are actually getting attention! Towards the end of 2008, new celebrity clips began emerging on YouTube, showing the reaction of Hollywood celebs to various weird videos. Like Jessica Alba watching Two Girls One Cup. Now that was maybe okay to watch?
But then it started happening everywhere. Not only celebrities but famous YouTube channels and even low-profile YouTubers began uploading reaction videos. In a matter of months, “reaction video compilations” became trending hits on YouTube. People were enjoying watching guys, girls, kids, and elders react to funny clips, grossy clips, movie trailers and what not. Of course, it didn’t take long when reactions to games and game trailers arrived as well. Over time between 2009 and 1016, reaction to game plays gained popularity and somehow ( perhaps the credit goes to PewDiePie) the game-ogling habits of YouTube audience turned into just-watching-random-people-play-game phenomena.
Gamers think watching games is just as adorable as star gazing
Sitting right on the peak of game watching fame, Twitch was founded in 2011. The company’s pitch was simple. If game enthusiasts liked watching other people play games, they would love watching gameplays minus reactions more. All the game reaction videos contained a substantial amount of gameplays anyway, where YouTuber showed the screens or monitors. Twitch’s success proved that they were right and 3 years later, Amazon came to realize that they were really really right about it.
This three year period between Twitch’s arrival in the gaming industry and its acquisition by Amazon was marked by revolutionary technological advances in gaming. For example Unity3D rocked the smartphone game development, Xbox One and PS3 rose as the next generation gaming consoles. game development platforms like Unreal Engine and CryEngine became cheaper, Play Store, App Store, and Facebook started offering game developers better tools to kickstart their projects. Last but not the least, the advent of virtual reality gaming, sparked by Oculus Rift. Had Amazon woken up in time, the Rift would not have belonged to Facebook today.
Amazon’s Lumberyard gives an accessory boost to its cloud platform
Twitch is Amazon’s best investment yet (only in the gaming industry because the online store’s other ventures like Amazon Web Services (AWS) are booming with revenues) because Twitch is as perceived as a very powerful gaming company that can literally control gaming trends. Now aware of its true strength, Amazon started taking more providential steps like Developing its own gaming engine, Lumberyard, to rival Unity Technologies, Unreal, CryTek, and Autodesk (Sting).
Furthermore, offering game developers AWS integration as a premium package to Lumberyard users boosted its cloud services sales. AWS an already powerful online services provider now could become the one-stop destination for giant gaming companies like Gameloft, Blizzard, Electronic Arts and even indie game devs and startups. It matters because Facebook had previously failed to nourish Parse, which even as a solid game backend service failed to attract enough users (partially because of the prices and) due to the lack of a “powerful beacon.” And no, Facebook Canvas doesn’t count.
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Likewise, Google’s recent acquisition of Firebase proved that Google Cloud Services weren’t attracting enough audience from the gaming industry. Firebase, like Parse is a powerful backend service and the search giant could benefit from the fact that it runs the Play Store. All develop console account holders must have already seen the notification about improving their games with Firebase.
Okay, so Firebase has the advantage with Play Store… but AWS has the future with Lumberyard, Twitch, and now Twitch’s latest acquisition of the Curse platform. That’s three times the advantage. Anyways, the subject of our interest is not AWS, but its growth through Amazon’s gaming ventures is going to be so promising that you can’t oversight the fact that Twitch is benefiting the online store in more than one ways.
Consider the long-term possibilities in the following areas.
Game Development: Unity3D is on the top and it’s doing great. For now. That’s because Unity Technologies relies on revenue from Unity3D Pro sales and its latest video advertising on mobile games. But those to profit channels combined aren’t enough to face off a collision with a game engine fueled by tech titan like Amazon. An aggressive challenge could possibly mean another acquisition. That’s how easily purchasable Unity is among the wolves. Speaking of wolves, Google has definitely felt the uproar of game streaming, otherwise, why would it endow a dedicated space for games, a new YouTube Live feature.
Cloud Services: Amazon Cloud (AWS) has about 1 million users, translating into $10 billion in annual sales. Reportedly, Microsoft Azure only generated $1 billion from 2011 to 2015, but in company’s own version, the odds look much better. See Microsoft can never dream to pull the market share of cloud services from gaming sector. Unlike Amazon’s Twitch, the beacon here Microsoft’s Office. While figures are not clear about Google Cloud, hopefully, it is doing well. Here are more details about this cloud war.
Game Streaming: Microsoft recently acquired Beam (from an 18-year old). Comparatively, Amazon Twitch boasts 8 million monthly users. Although Beam is new but is has a great potential as earning 100k users half way through the launching year isn’t a joke. So that could be a win. Google already has YouTube Live, which would require less work. Although, Facebook’s Live Videos are gaining the market quickly, but the social network prematurely gave up on Parse, so no conversions here.
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So if you break it down to statistics, it is clear who’s the boss. Twitch again has an advantage because gaming is in its label. Unlike Facebook videos, there is no distraction. Distraction for viewers. On Twitch, viewers could only get distracted by another game video or stream, but on the other two, there are a hell lot of tempting options even to distract gamers. Yes, viral videos, compilations, twerking videos and vines are really big click-bait motivators these days.
Here is the far vision you need to understand why Twitch is Amazon’s best stroke in the gaming industry.
Twitch is YouTube of tomorrow for the gaming world. Overtime, videos could be streamed from Xbox, PS4, Windows, and even smartphones. The future game and gaming console reviews by likes Tech Crunch, Wired, and The Verge would not only be available on YouTube but Twitch as well. It will become an ultimate destination to watch live game streams, get the latest info about upcoming games and all sorts of gaming news. And if that really took flight, who know Twitch will trespass boundaries of gaming and delve into other types of videos as well. But Twitch is only game-streamer right? Well, Amazon is only an online store.
We were looking at the best of Amazon Twitch, so the worst can always happen. What’s the worst? The apocalypse.