In 2015, YouTube entered the fray of livestreaming platforms against Twitch with YouTube Gaming.
By dangling lucrative and exclusive contracts, YouTube managed to lure established big name Twitch streamers such as Ludwig, Sykunno, and Valkyrae to jump ship.
In the case of smaller streamers, some of them instead chose to jump ship voluntarily. This was due to a myriad of reasons, such as Twitch localising their pricing, as well as the better revenue cuts from YouTube.
One such streamer is Mezame, or Mez, as he's sometimes called.
Besides being a professional photographer known for his themed pre-wedding photography as TheArtofMezame, he has also made content creation a full-time gig (which includes streaming and vlogging).
Last November, he made the move from Twitch to YouTube Gaming, and has since been streaming on YouTube three times a week to his 756 subscribers as MezameTV.
“They [Twitch] announced that they were going to localise pricing for subscriptions. For 1,000, you could get about S$3,000 to S$4,000 [a month], but after localisation happened, the pricing went down.”
“Even if I had 1,000 subs one time, after the change was implemented, I would only make half of what I used to earn, and that was very painful for a lot of full time content creators. A lot of streamers were discussing this, and that was when I started to plan my exit to YouTube as well.”
Mez further added that while the Creator Revenue Adjustment Incentive offered by Twitch did help soften the impact of the change, the long hours of streaming required became a push factor for him to switch.
A good move
Moving to YouTube will also come with some perks, with the most noticeable one being a potentially bigger share of the revenue once he hits 1,000 subs and fulfils the requirements to be made partner.
On Twitch, even if someone is a partner, the split of revenue between Twitch and the streamer is 50-50. In contrast, the split of revenue between YouTube and its streamers is 70-30.
On top of that, YouTube allows streamers to earn revenue, even when offline. Twitch, however, requires users to be online if they want to earn revenue.
Another thing that YouTube has done much better than Twitch is their support team and the weekly updates of feature implementations.
Mez recalled a time where he had a problem with his channel on Twitch, and the support team took two weeks to get back to him as compared to YouTube’s much faster turnaround of two hours.
Not all rosy
However, Mez admits that YouTube still has many shortcomings that make it fall flat when compared to Twitch, which has had years of figuring out streaming.
For one, YouTube’s interface is very complicated and requires many steps when compared to Twitch.
“YouTube has so many steps just to get it [stream raids] done, it's so confusing and it's the definition of mafan lah. Even for gifting memberships, YouTube takes so many steps to do the same thing that Twitch does in just one step. So Twitch is still comfortable to a lot of people as YouTube is still finding its footing.”
YouTube also doesn't make it easy for users to find livestreamers.
Mez said that while discovering content and doing livestreams is easy, looking for actual livestreamers is difficult.
When asked if he thought YouTube could topple Twitch as the leading livestreaming platform, for now, he doesn't think so.
He even conducted his own survey to find out why some streamers still prefer to remain on Twitch. Of the 10 streamers he spoke to, seven told him that they loved Twitch features such as emotes, text-to-speech, and gifting and receiving subscriptions that make the platform a lot easier to grow with.
“The big question is how well can YouTube do to become the bigger streaming platform.” said Mez.
This story is the work of student contributors working with Yahoo Southeast Asia.