Video Games Dominate Live Online Content

March 14, 2013

Video games are on the rise as one of the fastest growing competitive sports. With a boom in live streaming capabilities over the last few years, and especially in the last year, huge new audiences of video game viewers are cropping up all over the internet. What does a huge video game audience look like? Here’s a quick stat to put this into perspective. The debut game of the NHL 2013 season had 2.8 million viewers. The 2012 season finals for “League of Legends,” a multiplayer online battle arena video game, had 8.2 million live viewers. Yeah.

If you’re thinking, “this would be a delicious market for advertisers,” then you’d be right. Twitch, the leading video platform and community for gamers with more than 23 million visitors per month, provides the ultimate experience for gamers to connect live with their audiences. Gamers are able to broadcast any and all games they play. Everything from retro classics like “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past” to first person shooters like “Call of Duty Black Ops II” to eSports titles like “League of Legends” are streamed with in-window boxes showing the actual gamer playing live.

League Legends live streamed

Here’s me streaming some League of Legends. Isn’t my headset adorable?

The gamers streaming on Twitch have the tools and incentives necessary to build massive, dedicated followers—a dream for any advertiser. These gamers earn a share of the revenue generated from the videos they broadcast without having to do any heavy lifting—they just have to cash the check. Gamers are able to make some serious ca$h money and advertisers are able to reach a very targeted, engaged audience.

Here’s how:

  • Gamers can run commercial breaks during their streamed content or pre-roll video ads (and they control frequency). The channel owner shares all revenue with Twitch and the more live viewers, the more money collected.
  • Gamers can also offer subscriptions to their channels providing fans a premium experience that can include exclusive access to chat, special streams, and archives. The gamers also split this revenue with Twitch.

What does all this mean in reality? While writing this post, I logged onto Twitch to see who was currently live streaming. I found a dude playing some “Black Ops II.” He has 53,252 subscribers (that’s at $4.99 each). He has a total of 6,030,929 unique viewers and 4,063 live viewers. While yes, this is a professional gamer and not your average Joe, the numbers are staggering. I may or may not be rethinking my career path :).

Here are some of the games streamed on Twitch with their current live viewer tallies:

Twitch games available

The video game live content market has figured out how to not only build massive online audiences, but also how to seamlessly monetize by creating advertising and subscription methods supported and validated by their massive online audiences. Just imagine what this could start to look like in other markets…