How Twitch is Changing Live Video Streaming

What is driving this global phenomenon? The foundational ingredients are broadband access, high performance gaming platforms, low cost streaming technology and some really outstanding game titles.

But the accelerant, the element that creates the inferno, is a worldwide movement of insanely passionate gamers who want to share their experience.

71 million people worldwide who watched competitive online gaming last year.

people worldwide who watched competitive online gaming last year.

Gamers are an unstoppable force that have tapped into the social dimension of gaming as a way to broadcast both their performance and passion. According to GiantBomb, “The moments we talked about on the playground as kids are no longer tall tales: they are recorded moments in your gaming history. They can be saved, shared and celebrated”.

Gamers are maniacally devoted to their craft. They love to play and they love to watch great gaming online for both the entertainment value and the chance to improve their skills. So, it is no wonder that, when given the chance to watch a truly exceptional gamer play online, millions of fans show up.

Twitch: "The Netflix of Spectator Gaming"

For eGaming, Twitch is like Yankee Stadium, Lambeau Field, Madison Square Garden, Estadia Do Maracana and Wembley all rolled into one. They pull in the best gamers, biggest audiences, best tournaments and coolest shows.

Twitch is the #1 top live streaming video site in the world. Twitch reported 45 million unique viewers per month in 2013, an increase of 25 million per month since 2012. In November of 2013, Twitch became the #1 site in Comscore’s gaming category. Twitch is all about live streaming: 99% of its visitors use the site to watch live gaming.

58% of Twitch viewers spend more than 20 hours per week on the site.

How Does Twitch Do It?

They have created a great platform and they got to critical mass quickly. And, through integration with game systems, they’ve made it dead simple for gamers to share their gameplay through live video streams. Twitch’s recent integration with XBOX One is a great example. According to a blog post from the Xbox team, the Twitch app shared in the success of the Titanfall launch. During its first day, the new Twitch Xbox One app accounted for 30% of all Twitch broadcasts.

Twitch also supports game broadcasting from the Playstation and PCs, and announced support for mobile game broadcasting in April. In every case, their UI is simple to use and encourages gamers to switch to broadcast mode as a default configuration of game play.

The Twitch Movement in 2013

  • 12 billion minutes of gaming watched on average each month
  • 45 million unique viewers per month, more than double number of viewers from 2012
  • 106 minutes a day watched on average
  • 58% of all users watch more than 20 hours a week
Source - ReadWrite April 2014

How Users Stream Twitch

While many of the Twitch broadcasters use gaming platforms such as Xbox and PS4 to broadcast their games, the majority of viewers use desktops and laptops to view Twitch.

In early 2014 Twitch moved its delivery infrastructure to HTTP Adaptive Bit Rate (ABR), primarily HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) technology, from the proprietary RTMP it used until that time.

1 Chrome 67.4%
2 Firefox 16.3%
3 iPad 4.9%
4 Safari 2.5%
5 Android 2.5%

Twitch is the Top Live Streaming Site in the US

Based on Qwilt Analytics, Twitch has a commanding lead over all other live streaming sites in the US:

Twitch has a commanding lead over all other live streaming sites in the US

Source: Qwilt Video Analytics, Week of April 7th, 2014

Twitch is the number 1 live streaming site in the US

By a huge margin, Twitch is the number 1 live streaming site in the US with over 43% share of all live streaming traffic by volume.

Global Domination

Twitch consistently ranks in the top 5 video entertainment sites worldwide

Selected Country Rankings. Source: Qwilt Video Analytics, Week of April 7th, 2014

1 Google 50.4%
2 Netflix 26.6%
3 2.2%
4 Twitch 1.9%
5 UOL 1.7%
1 Google 61.7%
2 Netflix 13.7%
3 2.1%
4 Twitch 1.0%
5 DailyMotion 0.7%
1 Google 51.8%
2 DailyMotion 11.9%
3 Twitch 2.7%
4 Youku 2.3%
5 1.0%
1 Google 57.5%
2 DailyMotion 14.0%
3 Instagram 1.2%
4 Facebook 0.4%
5 Twitch 0.3%
United Kingdom
1 Google 37.0%
2 Netflix 27.6%
3 Sky 6.3%
4 BBC 3.0%
5 Twitch 2.7%
United States
1 Netflix 57.0%
2 Google 17.5%
3 Amazon 3.1%
4 Hulu 3.0%
5 Twitch 1.5%

Today’s Live Streaming Solution is The Problem

Today, live events are streamed by content providers and commercial CDNs that send a long distance unicast stream to each and every viewer. These redundant streams are massively inefficient as they require a dedicated HTTP session for every subscriber.

These streams consume enormous capacity on operator networks and, when the event is popular, can slow traffic on the network to a crawl. It’s no surprise, given how live streams are handled today, that many consumers are disappointed with the live streaming experience.

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"I’m fiercely competitive – bandwidth issues are the absolute last thing I want to be thinking about. If I had to describe gamer nirvana, it’s fast streaming with zero interruptions that lets us stay in the zone and be completely immersed in our world of games."

Johnathan Wendel (Fatal1ty), Professional Gamer
Johnathan Wendel (Fatal1ty), Professional Gamer

Live Stream Video Caching

Caching Inside Operator Networks Will Solve The Online Streaming Problem

Comprehensive open video caching-based solutions combine video analytics and delivery to monitor the network for video traffic, identify the most popular titles, store them locally, and deliver content to subscribers in close proximity - without having to repeatedly fetch it from either origin sites or remote CDN nodes.

Open Caching Improves Live Streaming Video Quality of Service for Subscribers

The result is seamless delivery of most frequently watched live streams and video titles that is completely open to the content provider, network and user. This video caching architecture reduces costs for the network operator, improves quality of experience for the consumer and preserves the full integrity of the content providers business logic and content. Everyone in the ecosystem wins.

Watch Video: Introducing Live Stream Caching

Meet Live Stream Cache™

As we have done so well with all other types of OTT video content, the key to solving this complex problem is to eliminate inefficiency and bring the video content closer to the viewers, at the network edge. Our video fabric controllers eliminate repetitive streams by caching a single live stream at the operator network’s edge, and delivering it to large numbers of subscribers from close proximity.

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