Emily ‘Emiru’ Schunk’s rise has been incredible to watch for viewers and fans, but for Twitch her springboard into streaming fame is all-important: for them, it proves they still hold all the cards — for now, at least — in their ongoing rivalry with platforms like YouTube and Facebook.
This year may have seen far fewer platform swaps for big-name stars, but the ongoing war between Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook is still going strong.
The three video platforms — and Mixer, once upon a time — have been vying for control of one of tech’s biggest markets, streaming, for years. The last 12 months saw YouTube strike major blows, including luring top stars Ludwig, TimTheTatman, and more to their red-branded site.
In the end, however, Twitch won the biggest battle.
It wasn’t a signing either, but a rise. Emiru exploded into Twitch fame in the tail end of 2021, and delivered the Amazon platform its biggest victory in the process.
It’s worth mentioning the 23-year-old isn’t new to Twitch, by any means. She’s been streaming on the website for more than half a decade, slowly racking up followers, views, and a loyal fandom following her exploits.
October this year, however, saw her hit new heights.
In the half-decade prior to late 2021, the popular variety star has hit highwater marks of around 2,000 viewers in her biggest broadcasts. Sometimes, during her lengthy career on the site, she’d only be streaming to upwards of 600-700 fans, many of whom were watching for League of Legends gameplay.
She now boasts six times the viewership, and recently clocked over 612k followers. On top of that, Emiru has more than seven thousand subscribers signed up to her channel following two huge months. The newest Twitch star’s latest stream, a four-hour GeoGuessr broadcast, has already clocked up 220k views too, and that’s a lower haul than her usual.
Emiru has quickly become a very popular Twitch name and, in the process, proven Twitch can keep losing stars for years and still stay in the streaming war.
The concept is simple — on Twitch, cut off one purple head (in this case, Ludwig, TimTheTatman, DrLupo, Valkyrae, CouRage… the list goes on and on) and two more simply take their place. When Ninja and Shroud left for rich Mixer deals, a new-look generation of streamers simply took their place.
The same happened when DrDisrespect copped a shock permanent suspension from the platform. Many followed him, but just as many Twitch fans simply pivoted to other Warzone streamers. Then again when TimTheTatman left too.
Two years ago Rachell ‘Valkyrae’ Hofstetter ruled the Twitch roost alongside Imane ‘Pokimane’ Anys. Now her place has been taken by Kkatamina, Fuslie, QTCinderella, and TinaKitten.
YouTube has major buying power, and by all accounts treats their top streamers far better than Twitch bosses ever have, but the platform’s inability to promote new stars from within is a major negative for the website that will just have to keep paying overs for Twitch’s biggest names.
And it all boils down to: Twitch is the number one site for streaming, and retains its reputation around new streamers. If you decided to become a gaming streamer tomorrow, you would set up on Twitch from day one. Sure, there’s outliers picking YouTube or even Facebook Gaming, but Twitch has made itself the destination website for aspiring broadcasters to cut their teeth.
Then, the same counts for viewership. When looking for new streamers — like Emiru these past few months — fans dig through Twitch before YouTube or elsewhere.
This Dexerto writer has no doubt Emiru would absolutely smash it on YouTube. If they wanted to sign her she’d be a valuable asset to the red-branded video giant. But her steep rise to the very top these past few months never happens on YouTube. It’s been a uniquely Twitch element in streaming’s early years, and stays that way heading into 2022.
Emiru is just one example too. Ludwig’s rise, Kkatamina’s explosive fame via her subathon, or even Mizkif’s slow build are all inherently Twitch-related too.
This isn’t to say YouTube can’t wade into the new-streamer fight soon enough, but it’s an uphill battle for them right now. Buying is easier than developing, but as they continue to expand their website functions, add more features, and keep getting input from top stars about the best upgrades, things will change in their favor in that regards too.
There’s always exceptions to the “rules” too, like ZLaner. The Warzone star has blown up in the streaming world on Facebook, but even that was off the red-and-black shoulders (sorry Zack) of DrDisrespect and his immense Champions Club fandom.
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Right now, Emiru is the perfect reminder — YouTube is buying, but Twitch’s fame means it still holds all the cards in the streaming wars. For now, at least.