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Twitch Makes Videogames the New Sports

Can a Video game get high­er rat­ings than the Super Bowl?

This may soon become a real­i­ty. Coun­tries like Korea and Japan have already been fea­tur­ing video game tour­na­ments as enter­tain­ment, with peo­ple reg­u­lar­ly flock­ing to phys­i­cal venues, tele­vi­sions and their com­put­ers to watch the world’s top gamers play live. It only makes sense that watch­ing video games as a spec­ta­tor sport would make it across the Pacific.

Tak­ing the lead in Amer­i­ca is Twitch, a videogame start up from the peo­ple at Justin.TV, which seems to have fig­ured out a way to bridge that gap. Being called the YouTube for video games, users can log in and watch peo­ple play, mak­ing it sim­i­lar to watch­ing live bas­ket­ball, base­ball, foot­ball or soc­cer on tele­vi­sion. Top gamers will also be paid to record their game­play and post it on the site. How­ev­er, unlike YouTube, the videos run on Twitch’s own plat­form, rather than a third-par­ty site, so that it is tar­get­ed direct­ly towards the hard­core gamer. As videogames are becom­ing big­ger than movies and tele­vi­sion, it only makes sense that live sport­ing events would be the next event indus­try in which to compete.

Will It Work?

Twitch began a year ago and already claims to have 20 mil­lion view­ers who tune in every month to watch dif­fer­ent chan­nels, rang­ing from actu­al video game play with com­men­ta­tors to peo­ple dis­cussing huge games like World of War­craft, Dia­blo III and Bor­der­lands 2. Accord­ing to All Things D, anoth­er 15 mil­lion dol­lars was recent­ly raised pri­mar­i­ly through Besse­mer Ven­ture Part­ners, which will go to hir­ing more engi­neers so Twitch can con­tin­ue build­ing out its plat­form and improv­ing it’s over­all qual­i­ty. So far, it seems to be work­ing and grow­ing, just as the videogame indus­try has grown rapid­ly over the past few decades.

How Does Twitch Make Money?

Twitch makes rev­enue in a num­ber of dif­fer­ent ways. Sim­i­lar to live sports on tele­vi­sion, Twitch runs adver­tis­ing in between pro­grams or game play. It also has tried the sub­scrip­tion mod­el, where users can pay a month­ly fee with­out see­ing any adver­tis­ing. Accord­ing to, they also just reached a part­ner­ship deal with CBS Inter­ac­tive to sell Twitch’s video ad inven­to­ryRight now, Twitch is the hottest com­pa­ny in this space, but oth­ers like the Los Ange­les-based Machin­i­ma rack up mil­lions of views in this space, along with YouTube and Face­book. As video game fans are drawn to watch­ing live game play online, more and more of these suc­cess­ful gamer chan­nels will undoubt­ed­ly appear.

Where Twitch Goes From Here

Beyond improv­ing it’s plat­form and over­all qual­i­ty, Twitch will broad­en into allow­ing gamers to both broad­cast and tune into games direct­ly from their gam­ing con­soles. Con­sid­er­ing they have led the charge in stream­ing live gam­ing to the vast inter­net com­mu­ni­ty, Twitch’s future looks as bright as anyone’s in the online broad­cast industry.

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