By Brandon Brathwaite
Twitch CEO Emmett Shear knows that, while his streaming service is thriving, the company still has a lot of work ahead to make its platform more friendly for streamers.
In an interview from TwitchCon 2018, Cheddar CEO Jon Steinberg pointed out some of the difficulties with setting up Twitch's streaming tool, OBS, and asked why Twitch didn’t do more to make streaming easier. Shear admitted to the tool's shortcomings, but also made the argument that streamers were sending Twitch a different message about their top priorities.
“Their top priorities are around reach, monetization, and trying to create healthy, thriving communities,” said Shear. “I’m sure at some point we’ll invest in trying to make streaming easier, it just hasn’t reached the top of the priority list.”
Despite the barrier of entry for streaming, Twitch is still enjoying a renaissance that can contribute to the rise of gaming and esports. Shear explained that the business of Twitch, which he describes as multiplayer entertainment, is “having a moment."
Fortnite is having the kind of moment that Shear is speaking of, but he doesn’t see Twitch's success as a detriment to the games on the platform.
“We still see games from Activision-Blizzard ($ATVI) doing well," he said. "We still see games from EA ($EA) doing really well. We see a ton of indie games doing well."
The formula of success for Twitch is in its ability to ride the wave of hit games that take off on its platform, according to Shear.
“Every time there’s a new hit game that’s a new thing that works on Twitch... it doesn’t destroy the old stuff, it adds to it.”
TwitchCon 2018, the annual event for streamers and industry partners that's hosted by Twitch, is now in its fourth year. And despite more attention than ever, the event has still been able to uphold its quirky, gamer-centered culture that helped Twitch gain early dominance as the live-streaming platform for streamers.
Shear led off the event's keynote by pointing out that more than a million people are watching streams on the platform with half a million streamers providing the content. As part of its revenue program, over 235,000 streamers are Affiliates on the streaming service, and more than 6,000 have reached Partner status. The achievement speaks to how well Twitch can create revenue streams for its broadcasters.
To make the most of the growth the company has seen, Twitch rolled out a number of new and upcoming features centered around helping grow communities and sharing in the streaming experience. One such feature is the new Squad Stream, which allows up to four streamers to stream together in a single view. Viewers will be able to customize the experience, selecting the viewpoint they wish to have from the streamers that have been paired together. Revamps to the Twitch homepage to highlight different segments of its growing broadcaster base and better moderation tools were also announced during the keynote.
For the full interview with Twitch CEO Emmett Shear, click here.