If you watch games, you have probably used or heard of Twitch, Facebook Gaming, and YouTube Gaming and may be wondering which is the best and how they compare. Here we pit the three titans of game streaming up against one another to decide which is best live game streaming platform.
Twitch started as an offshoot of Justin.tv, which was a general-purpose streaming service back in the day. Twitch was an offshoot focused on gaming, though, and it quickly took off, resulting in a company rebrand to Twitch.tv, the closing of Justin.tv, and a full focus on Twitch and what it offers.
In addition to gaming, Twitch has also been used to broadcast live events unrelated to gaming, as well as art and other forms of creativity.
Twitch’s popularity quickly made it one of the most popular video-streaming platforms on the Internet, making a noticeable impact around the web. Because of this, Google and Amazon both looked to purchase the service, but ultimately, Amazon won out in the end, and Google decided to make their own live game streaming platform.
- Size. As the pioneer, Twitch is by far the largest and most popular game-streaming service, and its capabilities only increase as time goes on.
- Great for growing as a creator and finding a new audience, especially when compared to YouTube Gaming, due to its larger size.
- Higher average revenue than YouTube Gaming.
- By far the most powerful chat/moderation system.
- While Twitch is the best for growing, it’s still tough to get noticed in the early days of your streaming.
- Additionally, you won’t be able to monetize your Twitch stream until you reach Partner status, which can take quite some time. Compared to YouTube Gaming, meeting the bar to make money on Twitch is much more difficult.
- Limited allowed bitrates prevents streaming above 1080p 60fps.
- Uses Flash instead of HTML5.
Facebook Gaming is the social media site’s game-streaming service, which integrates directly into the video component of Facebook. This means your content can appear in people’s feeds just like any other video on Facebook would, even sometimes to people who aren’t following you yet.
For some people, Facebook Gaming has proven to be even more fruitful than Twitch and YouTube. Right now, FB Gaming doesn’t stack up on its own to its live game streaming platform rivals’ numbers to be considered as one of the best, but its connections to the rest of Facebook can improve your chances of being discovered.
- Tied to your Facebook account, so easily able to extend your content to friends and family.
- Due to Facebook Gaming chat being tied to real-name Facebook accounts, the likelihood of spam and hateful comments are greatly reduced compared to more anonymous services.
- Until 2023, Facebook will take no portion of your revenue; all of the money that you make will go straight to you, and its cut is slated to be under 30 percent when it does begin.
- Fairly populated platform, surprisingly good place to be discovered.
- Bar to enter the partner program is about on par with other services but is reported to take much longer for approval, even after meeting the requirements.
- Limited to just 1080p and 60 FPS streaming, like Twitch.
Gaming is easily the largest part of YouTube, so when Google opted to launch an entire sub-site of YouTube called YouTube Gaming, few people were surprised. Much of YouTube Gaming takes pre-existing YouTube gaming videos and offers them in a slick, red and black theme, but the real attraction is using the YouTube Gaming streaming service which is rising as a worthy rival to Twitch.
Suffice to say, Google wasn’t happy about Amazon getting Twitch instead. Let’s see how it stacks up.
- YouTube integration. This means all your stream archives are automatically saved, and a DVR function is available during the stream as opposed to needing to wait an hour until the stream archive becomes available (a la Twitch).
- The absolute best for reaching your pre-existing audience if you’re a YouTuber. No need for anyone to sign up for Twitch or find it – anyone subscribed to your channel will get notified when you start streaming.
- Uses HTML5 and avoids Flash.
- Offers up to 4K 60FPS streaming.
- Not nearly as good for growing your audience as Twitch is.
- Doesn’t offer the depth of chat and moderation functions that Twitch does.
Ultimately, who wins this battle depends on your personal needs as a content creator.
If you’re just starting out and don’t have a pre-existing YouTube presence, Twitch is your best bet to start climbing up the ranks, though the climb will be slow and rely on you being consistent and providing high-quality streams for people to enjoy.
YouTube Gaming, meanwhile, is the best live game streaming platform for reaching a pre-existing audience on YouTube. Many gaming content creators start on YouTube, and since YouTube Gaming is a very good platform, it’s always growing. Its reach to your pre-existing audience is much better than Twitch’s, too.
Facebook Gaming offers an interesting alternative to the larger platforms. It may not work for everyone, and it will most likely take much longer to be verified as a partner than on Twitch or YouTube, but being integrated directly into one of the most-used apps in the world can come in handy. If you’re putting in the quality work on the others, and it doesn’t seem to be working, it may be time to try Facebook Gaming.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What happened to Hitbox?
Hitbox was a Twitch alternative that first ended in May of 2017 when it was acquired by Azubu and turned into Smashcast. Smashcast then ended in 2020, making Hitbox died twice.
But that isn’t the whole story of Hitbox. It was founded at a time when the scene was much younger, and the innovation it pushed of 4K 60 FPS streaming was noteworthy. It’s still noteworthy today, as most 4K streams are from businesses and not individual streamers.
2. What happened to Mixer?
Mixer was a streaming platform from Microsoft, launched in 2017, having started as Bean the previous year. Mixer’s big innovation was low-latency, high-quality streams that enabled higher levels of interactivity than other platforms.
Mixer prominently bought out top Twitch streamers like Ninja to come stream on its service instead, but unfortunately, this was not enough to save It. Microsoft shut it down in 2020 and made an agreement with Facebook to allow partners on Mixer to become partners on FB Gaming.
3. What hardware do I need to start streaming games?
You’ll want to get a powerful 8+ thread CPU and a modern mid- to high-range graphics card with a video encoder built in. Most graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia have built-in streaming software as well, but you’ll need to download your AMD or Nvidia drivers in order to access those.
4. What software do I need to start streaming games?
Fortunately, you don’t need to pay a cent to start streaming games. As mentioned above, you can get some fairly solid results streaming straight from your graphics card if you get matching graphics driver software. You’ll even be able to enjoy live chat overlays and other stream monitoring features without needing to leave your game.
But for a more professional presentation, most prefer to go for Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) or even Streamlabs OBS. The two are mostly the same, but Streamlabs OBS is a version of OBS modified for more ease of use. It has a paid tier, but fortunately, this tier is mainly for accessing paid themes rather than necessary features.
Other Solutions and Parting Words
Despite this article’s nature as a comparison piece to find the best live game streaming platform, there are a few other options out in the wild. For instance, you may not even have to choose. With a platform like Restream.io, you can stream to Twitch and YouTube Gaming simultaneously alongside other streaming platforms! However, note that you will need to abide by Twitch’s bitrate limit, so you won’t be able to take advantage of the other platform’s 4K 60FPS maximum.
That aside, what do you think? Do you feel like this fight turned out the way you expected it to? is there anything you’d add? Sound off in the comments below, and let us hear you! Also, compare cloud gaming to a gaming to PC to see which option is the best for you.