Will TikTok Gaming Catch Up to Twitch?

APR 11, 2022

In November 2021, the social media giant TikTok launched its first venture into the world of video game livestreaming. While the platform is known for its endless timeline of short-form videos lasting between three and 60 seconds, TikTok LIVE has led to many creators hosting cooking or more casual, conversational streams similar to Twitch's "Just Chatting" category, as well as gaming content.

While some TikTok creators used makeshift ways of livestreaming video games before, recent developments allow them to use software like OBS or Streamlabs to broadcast streams. This hard shift into video game livestreaming has people wondering if the fast-growing platform TikTok will catch up to the livestreaming behemoth Twitch.

What is TikTok Gaming About?

For the most part, TikTok Gaming still features short-form content ranging from tips and tricks to funny bugs in video games, or even edited Twitch stream clips. But with parent company ByteDance owning Moonton, the publisher responsible for popular mobile MOBA Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, TikTok's venture into video game streaming isn't all that surprising.

The official TikTok channel currently hosts monthly livestreams called "The Game Room," featuring prominent creators and celebrities. Last November, TikTok kicked off The Game Room with Stranger Things actor Noah Schnapp streaming Among Us alongside SushiBAE, FaZe Clan's ClipZ, and Hannahxxrose. A highlight clip from Hannahxxrose's TikTok channel has over 64,000 likes, but whether that's reflective of viewership during the livestream is unclear. People also cannot currently watch TikTok livestreams after they have ended.

For the most part, livestreaming on TikTok is straightforward, featuring interactions through live chats and reacts. As mentioned, creators on TikTok can stream the same way they would through Facebook, Twitch, or YouTube using programs like OBS and Streamlabs. In December 2021, TikTok soft-launched its own software - TikTok Live Studio - allowing a number of creators in the Western hemisphere to livestream gameplay directly. As easy as it may be for creators to start streaming video gameplay on TikTok, the platform still lacks many features that are present in other platforms like alerts and stream personalization.

Twitch's Standing in the Livestream Market

Many have tried to usurp Twitch as a livestream platform, but thus far none have succeeded. Mixer shut down less than a year after launch despite grabbing big names like Tyler "Ninja" Blevins and Michael "Shroud" Grzesiek. Twitch has also faced countless attempts at being dethroning by the likes of YouTube and Facebook; both launching their own livestreaming initiatives and signing their fair share of creators. Despite the competition, Twitch amassed a total of 2.84 million concurrent viewers in 2021, and doesn't show signs of stopping.

Some might say that due to the number of recent controversies faced by Twitch, it should be worried about the rise of TikTok Gaming. However, despite controversies surrounding the hot tub meta, hate raids faced by popular streamer Pokimane, and even Twitch creators staging a boycott, Twitch has not suffered terribly; viewership numbers are still going strong as creators maintain and nurture their communities.

The way TikTok creators can monetize content isn't as strong as Twitch. TikTok creators generally share a "pot" and are compensated according to their viewership numbers. Meanwhile, on Twitch one can support their favorite creators through subscriptions, donations, and tips. TikTok's livestreaming initiative only allows for monetization through "Live Gifting" - basically in-app tipping - and that isn't enough for creators to jump ship. TikTok has a long way to go before being able to compete with the likes of Twitch, but even then it seems doubtful Twitch has anything to worry about.

Jasmin Osman (5 Articles Published)

Your friendly neighborhood Jill-of-all-trades. Unless you ask her to play FPS games competitively

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