In general, Twitch is the best streaming platform for growing your viewership. It has more users than its competition, making it the ideal platform to get discovered.
Combine this with an array of tools like enhanced stream analytics, Amazon integration, and best-in-class stream monetization, and it’s easy to see why Twitch is number one.
The life of a streamer sounds like a dream on paper but requires a great deal of dedication, hard work, and some luck if you ever plan on making it big or growing a large audience.
Along with equipment, streaming software, and games, you’ll have to decide which corner of the web is best for getting your name out and growing your viewership.
Although Twitch continues to thrive as the most popular live streaming platform for gaming, it’s not ideal for every game or audience. In some instances, you may be better off broadcasting to YouTube or Facebook Gaming.
To give you a better understanding of which service is right for you, we’ll be comparing the three biggest contenders: Twitch, Facebook Gaming, and YouTube Gaming, to see how their unique perks and userbase stack up.
Make sure to check back for future updates as these services continue to evolve and introduce new features.
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Streaming With Twitch
Twitch is by far the most widely-used streaming platform for gaming. Now owned by Amazon, the platform was initially designed to be a live service for DJ-ing but has evolved over time to cater to other niches, including gaming, music, art, and educational content.
Your main goal on Twitch is to earn the coveted Affiliate status by fostering a community, regularly streaming, and keeping viewers on the site for longer. There are a few other requirements to be aware of but basically, you’ll need to have a reasonably-big viewership that frequently tunes in to watch you.
Once you feel you check all of those boxes, you can apply for the Affiliate role on Twitch to see if you get approved. If accepted, you’ll be given access to a lot more features than standard users, including tools for monetizing streams and enhanced streaming capabilities.
Continue succeeding after becoming an Affiliate, and there’s a possibility you’ll be selected to join the Twitch Partner program, which allows you to accept paid subscriptions from users and earn a cut of ad revenue, among other perks.
While the number of streamers who get approved for Affiliate and Partner is very low, it has been rising in recent years. That being said, hitting it big on Twitch is a lot harder than on other platforms, mostly due to oversaturation regarding certain games and time slots.
You’ll find it’s much easier to succeed on Twitch by first growing an audience elsewhere and then bringing them over. The types of games and hours you can stream also play a large role. If you could use some help deciding what to play, check out our recommendations for the best games to stream on Twitch.
- Most popular streaming platform
- Offers in-depth stream analytics
- Allows you to create and share clips easily
- Cool perks like Amazon integration
- Affiliates rarely make Partner
- Only Partners can stream at 1080p
- Twitch takes half of subscription revenue
- Can be hard to get discovered
Streaming With YouTube Gaming
While YouTube may be the biggest platform for videos, the Google-owned company’s gaming division hasn’t fared as well, consistently bringing in fewer viewers and streamers than Twitch. It’s not all that surprising, considering they’ve always prioritized pre-recorded content.
With that said, YouTube has been taking some measures to improve the quality of its streaming service. This includes moving YouTube Gaming to the main site in order to make it easier to find, revamping the Creator Studio, and offering new monetization tools for Partners.
Since implementing these changes, YouTube Gaming has seen an increase in popularity, and many creators have started using it to interact with fans in real-time between uploads. Setting up your stream is similar to Twitch and comes with the perk of already being uploaded once your stream ends.
When it comes to earning an income, new streamers can monetize their content using Google AdSense, and the YouTube Partner program allows you to make even more money; however, you’ll need a minimum of 1,000 subs and a total of 4,000 views to get approved.
Discovery is where YouTube has Twitch beat. With just a little SEO knowledge, you can optimize videos to maximize your chances of attracting viewers. The only downside is that you’ll still be competing with an endless ocean of pre-recorded gaming videos.
- Still well-known, just not for streaming
- Streams are automatically uploaded
- Anyone can stream at 1080p
- Faster payouts than Twitch
- Have to compete with pre-recorded content
- Less potential viewers than Twitch
- Lack of perks or special features
Streaming With Facebook Gaming
One of the many byproducts of Facebook’s growing interest in the video game sector, Facebook Gaming allows you to live stream games directly through the site to audiences around the world. The setup is similar to that of Twitch and YouTube, only streamlined and accompanied by a host of exclusive perks.
For one, you can bring over viewers by inviting friends from your personal profile or get discovered by creating a listing of your stream, which then gets categorized based on game title. Once you have your profile set up, Facebook starts suggesting your stream to a target demographic.
In Facebook’s Creator Studio, you can manage gameplay clips, trim videos, and post to your profile. Since all content on Facebook Gaming is directly related to video games, you have a smaller chance of getting lost in the noise.
Naturally, there are some downsides to using Facebook Gaming as a streamer, the most obvious being its substantially smaller userbase compared to YouTube and Twitch. By default, streamers aren’t able to monetize content in any form until they join the Level Up program, requiring you to stream four hours within 14 weeks.
Once you’re enrolled in Level Up, viewers can start supporting you with stars, which are worth 1 cent each. There are several other perks and ways to monetize your streams, including getting selected to become a Facebook Gaming Partner. Partners can access stars as well as receive premium subscriptions from viewers.
Despite its relatively-small userbase, the platform has benefited from Mixer’s recent shutdown, with many of its streamers and viewers transitioning to Facebook’s service. If they can retain even a fraction of Mixer’s audience, it would go a long way towards strengthening Facebook Gaming’s position in the streaming world.
- Easy setup
- Convenient Creator Studio for managing clips
- Attractive monetization model
- Better game/stream organization
- Less potential viewers than Twitch and YouTube
- Requires Level Up to stream at high quality
- Still very competitive despite its size
The Final Verdict – Which Is Best?
Considering each service has its pros and cons, determining the best streaming platform comes down to what features you prioritize. Twitch is great for streaming at high resolutions with 60 FPS but offers arguably the worst monetization program.
YouTube Gaming may not have the biggest audience for live content but will help grow your community if you already have a channel and some SEO know-how. Lastly, Facebook Gaming offers the best monetization features but bundles it together with the usual Facebook messiness.
However, if we have to pick a winner, it is Twitch. Boasting a userbase more than double the size of any other platform, in-depth stream analytics, Amazon integration, and stream monetization, it’s clear Twitch is the preferred platform for live gaming.
With that said, we recommend trying out each platform to get a feel for the experience and see which one you prefer. As you hone your skills and improve as a streamer, you should have no problem switching back and forth until you find the best one for you.