Amazon’s Twitch versus Facebook Gaming you may ask? They have become the biggest names in video game live streaming. This is since YouTube Gaming app has come to an end.
All different types of users can benefit from video game live streaming. Passive observer who just wants to watch people play games online? Or aspiring streamer who has dreams of becoming the next internet star. While there’s nothing stopping you from casually enjoying as many services as you can, these platforms focus on community in a way that rewards users who become deeply committed. So, which video game live streaming service should you tune into? PC Mag analyzes this below:
Price and Platforms
Twitch remains the most prominent player in the video game live streaming space. It maintains that dominance by appearing on a ridiculous number of platforms. You can watch and broadcast on your computer (Mac, PC), mobile device (Android, iOS). Even through your game console (PlayStation 4, Xbox One). Twitch offers apps for Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, and Nvidia Shield, too. The only notable absences are Nintendo Switch and Roku devices.
You access Facebook Gaming either through Facebook’s website, or as a standalone mobile app. Originally, the mobile app was an Android exclusive, but iOS users can now enjoy a limited version. For example you can’t message friends through the iOS version. Even with the regular Facebook mobile app, you can use some gaming features. This makes the standalone app feel redundant, at times.
You can watch Twitch for free if you’re fine with occasional ads, but the company also sells premium plans. Twitch Prime is included with Amazon Prime or Prime Video memberships. It extends broadcast storage, turns off ads on a single channel, and gives you other perks, such as free monthly games and exclusive badges and emoticons. For $8.99 per month, a Twitch Turbo subscription gives you improved versions of those same perks. This also turns off ads across all channels.
Facebook Gaming has no premium option—it’s totally free. The only thing you’re giving Facebook is your personal data, but honestly that’s true when you sign up for any big tech platform. As a free user, it’s nice to know you’re not missing out on anything. Compared to Twitch, Facebook Gaming doesn’t really have many features worth your money.
Twitch is the go-to destination for watching video game streams. From the biggest battle royale juggernauts to the most obscure indie releases, you’ll find someone playing games on Twitch. Previously, only popular PC games dominated the home page, like Dota, Fortnite, and PUBG. Now, the Discover section points you toward content you may not have considered. Twitch even spotlights channels that have nothing to do with gaming, like Bob Ross painting videos or folks just chatting.
Facebook Gaming gives you a social feed very reminiscent of regular Facebook, but the posts and notifications are all about video games instead of bad opinions from relatives. The service pulls from existing, game-related Facebook pages you’ve liked to fill out your account, and you can expand from there by following new games and subscribing to new streamers. Once the app knows what you want to watch (for me it’s StarCraft and Super Smash Bros.), viewing exciting streams is a snap. Leveraging Facebook’s massive existing resources makes Facebook Gaming feel comprehensive as soon as you start.
Both Twitch and Facebook Gaming let you watch 1080p streams at 60 frames per second (although only Facebook partners can broadcast in the highest quality). Your personal connection impacts quality, but the viewing experience on both platforms is stable. Only YouTube offers 4K streaming, but there’s no longer a dedicated YouTube Gaming app.
As a pro streamer, your ultimate goal should be to build your brand on as many platforms as possible, but you must start somewhere. Frankly, you should put most of your initial effort in the platform that gives back the best. Twitch and Facebook Gaming both attract big streaming stars by offering lucrative exclusive deals. How many millions of dollars has Tyler “Ninja” Blevins racked up by hopping from one platform to another? But for common streamers, financial success depends on how effectively these platforms help fans help you, beyond just increasing ad revenue with more views.
Twitch users can buy Bits, a virtual currency for emotes that pay partnered streamers real money whenever you drop them into the chat. 100 bits costs $1.40. Twitch users can also subscribe to channels for $4.99, $9.99, or $24.99 per month. Twitch streamers can control when ads appear during a broadcast. In a nice touch, Twitch offers best practices on how to run ads without alienating audiences.
Facebook Gaming users can buy a similar virtual currency, called stars, starting at 99 stars for $1.99. These also pay partnered streamers when you drop them in chat. Creator subscriptions, not limited to Facebook Gaming, cost $5 per month. Select partners can also turn on ads. Facebook Gaming’s monetization features were quite limited at launch, but they do seem to be gradually improving as Facebook rolls out more options.
Specific payment mechanisms are important, but ultimately being able to build a big enough audience plays a larger role in your eventual success. You want those viewers to care enough about you that they also check out your Patreon and merch store. Countless people use Facebook, but Twitch has a bigger base of folks passionate enough to support dedicated gaming personalities. However, there’s also much more competition on Twitch. So, there may be more room right now for breakout Facebook Gaming stars. There’s always going to be opportunities and risks no matter where you go, but Twitch still feels like the overall safer bet.