SPOTLIGHT: Streaming on Twitch and YouTube

There are various styles of content creation today, with technology expanding the possibility of mediums beyond what was possible even 10 years ago. In the video gaming community, a common style of content creating is streaming, where gamers will broadcast live gameplay for others to watch. Two of the most prominent streaming sites are Twitch and YouTube.

For new and old fans of gaming, a fun and interactive way to watch gameplay is through live streams. Twitch bases its entire platform solely on streaming, whereas YouTube focuses on pre-recorded published videos. They both offer different features that contribute to the choice of which platform is better for streaming.

Twitch allows viewers to browse for streams of their chosen game. For viewers interested in a specific game, using this feature is a helpful way to learn how to play or enjoy the experience vicariously through a streamer. Viewers on YouTube however, are recommended content based on the types of videos they have watched previously.

YouTube tends to push streamers and content creators who have lower view counts to new people more than Twitch does, according to Twitch, on the other hand, mainly pushes more popular streamers to viewers.

Junior Jeriel Torio believes that in order to work around this issue, a streamer has to utilize other skills to promote their content.

“When it comes to Twitch, advertising your stuff is the best thing you can do,” Torio said. “(On) YouTube I’ve seen a lot of stuff on my recommended page with low view count, like maybe in the three digits kind of view count when you usually see stuff in the millions in other places. But on Twitch, you mainly see the higher view count when it comes to things in games.”

In addition to algorithm differences, YouTube and Twitch contain variations in their layouts.
YouTube’s overall layout is very direct and straightforward. Freshman Lana Satana, however, has a differing opinion in regards to the streaming portion of YouTube.

“The chat is just horrendous. It looks bad. It’s really blocky, and I just hate the way it looks,” Satana said.

In terms of accessibility, both platforms offer live captioning options for deaf or hard-of-hearing users. Additionally, on YouTube, viewers can see the ratings for streams live, a feature Twitch does not offer. As a viewer, being able to interact through likes or views can help boost creators and assist them in becoming more well known.

“You can see ratings through likes and dislikes (on YouTube), and it’s a lot more simplistic than Twitch to interact with other things,” Satana said.

For raw, uncut streams with little or no editing or shortened videos, Twitch is the best platform as it has customizable overlays and other features to tell viewers a streamer’s current status. For shorter videos or stream highlights, YouTube is the go-to.

Torio’s advice to those interested in becoming streamers is to enjoy themselves regardless of whether or not they are interested in pursuing it as a career.

“No matter if it’s entertaining a few people or entertaining a few thousand people, it’s just about… if you enjoy it or not,” Torio said.