As more of Twitch’s most recognizable streamers leave the platform for better deals, the question is raised… Is the Amazon-owned streaming site seriously losing out, or is YouTube throwing creators a lifeline they so desperately need?
Over the past year, YouTube has headhunted several of the biggest names on Twitch, signing them to exclusive streaming contracts on the Google-owned platform. Streaming titans such as TimTheTatman and Ludwig have been coerced to switch to another platform in the midst of their prime.
These are undoubtedly large shifts, but they haven’t seemed to affect Twitch nearly as much as one might think. And with every flashy announcement video solidifying a streamer’s platform of choice, a wave of viewers claims YouTube has made another “big move”.
But are these moves all that big? Outside of a few superstars, will YouTube stealing former top streamers like Myth, Sykkuno, and DrLupo away from Twitch really shake things up? I argue, that they won’t.
Acquiring streaming legends vs top streamers
YouTube has recently acquired a lot of big names, though they haven’t really signed any top streamers since Ludwig seven months ago. What I mean is, the personalities YouTube is signing were once top streamers who made their mark on Twitch but haven’t been in the spotlight for some time.
Take Myth, for example – the latest streamer to make the jump from Amazon to Google – he has 7.4 million Twitch followers, the bulk of which clicked the follow button in 2018. At the height of his Fortnite career (2018-2019) he was considered a face of Twitch, but now averages 4K viewers (0.04% of his followers).
A similar story can be found in another one of YouTube’s most recent deals. Sykkuno – a streamer who grew to substantial prominence in 2020 alongside Valkyrae, DisguisedToast, and CorpseHusband – had seen a gradual decline in viewership since mid-2021. With his average viewers down 70%, YouTube swept him away to his new home.
And the same can be seen for nearly every acquisition YouTube has made. Ludwig’s viewership during his last 7 months on Twitch sunk substantially lower than it was the six months prior. Lilypichu had a fraction of her peak average viewership when YouTube arrived with a deal. And even TimTheTatman, arguably YouTube’s strongest signing yet, came at a time when his viewership plateaued lower than its peak.
We aren’t seeing YouTube sign creators that would actually hurt Twitch to lose. Asmongold, xQc, Ibai, and the rest of Twitch’s heavy hitters are nestled safely on the platform. Even YouTube’s biggest creators, like MrBeast, are choosing to hold their live events on Twitch.
It’s unclear what YouTube’s main goal is with acquiring the streamers it has. If it’s to grow their platform, where’s the growth? If it’s to compete with Twitch, where are the competitive signings?
While it is easy to wonder why Twitch isn’t fighting harder to keep the streamers it’s losing, it might just be because these are streamers they can afford to lose.
The reality is that these “big moves” aren’t ones Twitch needs to avoid, but are instead what some of these content creators need to revive their careers.