This Week In Discourse: Drama Alert
The creators are fighting! The Macroculture is dying! And Threads is... still there?
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Where is Twitch headed?
Garbage Day has an interesting piece on Twitch titled ‘Why isn’t Twitch a better website’? It lays out some of the things going on with Twitch - losing big stars to rivals, shuttering in South Korea, CEO departing - while also bemoaning the lack of innovation in features (such as poor clipping functions, poor discovery, etc).
I think the piece is thought-provoking and some of these are fair points! But it’s also a little bit too negative and news-cycle-ish for me. I’ve written before about why I’m skeptical Twitch’s rival Kick will succeed with their $100M spending spree on creators. The core issue is Kick’s inability thus far to build their own stars:
Every name on this list of Kick’s top streamers got their start on another site - mostly on Twitch, some on YouTube. Kick, to my knowledge, has not yet had a single organically grown star that began their career streaming on Kick. This is a problem. This is not how successful platforms develop. Facebook didn’t beat MySpace by stealing all the top MySpace users. TikTok didn’t become the short-form video king by stealing the best YouTube creators. They grew organically with their own audience, their own network, their own unique crowd and platform. They made their own stars. Kick hasn’t done that and doesn’t appear to be close to doing that.
Now, any new site will by definition take a while to develop organic stars. And Kick’s held up better than I thought they would because they’ve leaned hard into gambling - they’re owned by online gambling site Stake.com. If Kick ends up defeating Twitch in the livestreaming wars purely as a function of ‘we have infinite gambling money and you do not’, I don’t know that I would blame Twitch for that outcome?
But take a look at the front page of reddit’s /r/LiveStreamFail, a large and neutral-ish community dedicated to drama and gossip about streamers from all sites. Of the 25 posts on the front page at the time this blog is published, 24 are clips from Twitch and one is a tweet about someone being banned from Twitch. Zero are from Kick or YouTube. Even streamers on those platforms, like xQc or Destiny, are being discussed through clips on Twitch. Right now Twitch still seems dominant, and until Kick starts showing up on LSF or creating their own stars I’ll stay bullish on Twitch.
What’s more fun than shamelessly abusing social media systems for fame, money, and clout? Exposing other people who shamelessly abuse social media for fame, money and clout!