Live streaming has been growing more and more popular every single year.
With millions of gamers broadcasting their gameplay in 2021, the live content landscape has never been more immense. With channels popping up left and right daily, it stands to reason that platforms are becoming crowded. After all, there are only so many ways an audience can be split. On this note, did you know that Netflix is planning to add video game streaming in the near future?
But with great growth comes great opportunity and companies know this. Compared to years ago, we’ve got more live streaming platforms than ever. Game streamers have more than a few options to choose from to start their channels and start growing their fanbases.
However, the choice of which platform to go with can feel like trying to play the stock market. All options seem like good ideas, yet you could end up wasting your time, and it wouldn’t even be your fault.
So, let’s start with the basics.
How to Choose the Best Live Streaming Platform
Your choice of live streaming platform will significantly depend on their respective offerings. There is no one perfect platform out there. Each one chooses to focus on different things. Where you set up shop must primarily align with your own goals as well as the kind of stream you want to run.
Audience Engagement Features
You’ve probably heard multiple times that live streaming’s greatest strength is interactivity. What makes viewers visit your channel instead of watching a YouTube video is the ability to engage with you live. It stands to reason, therefore, that a live streaming platform should have viewer engagement features.
These can range from simple tools like a chat with emojis to more robust functions like Twitch’s Channel Points. Even if a live streaming platform isn’t as advanced, supporting alerts and other overlay functions is a must.
Most platforms will have some form of ad revenue on offer. A few will also have extra monetization options such as channel subscriptions and memberships. At the very least, they should have a place for you to showcase a link to your donations so your viewers can support your endeavors.
These days, everything is about the user experience and any company that doesn’t buy into this will quickly lose out. Why is that? Because the people who use a product want to have a smooth and pain-free time with it. The same goes for live streaming.
The key here is a platform’s player. Besides basic options like pause and volume control, a live stream player should allow viewers to change their resolution and picture quality. If you are using eye tracking software and your viewers can’t see your eye tracking bubble in crystal clarity, then whatever excellent experience you’re trying to give them will fall on its face. Add quality into everything you are putting out there. A player should also afford users some accessibility options, such as live captions. Add quality into everything you are putting out there.
Concurrent Active Users
This one is a bit tricky. On the one hand, tapping into a large pool of live stream viewers means more chances of grabbing new regulars. On the other hand, a smaller user base means fewer channels. What this means is you’ve got more chances of people seeing your channel. It’s this last point that makes smaller live streaming platforms a viable option for new and up-and-coming content creators.
The choice here will depend on the games you play. It’ll also be informed by the goals you have for your audience growth. If you’re like the hare and need to get to the finishing line as quickly as possible, a big platform may be for you. If slow and steady wins the race, though, then you can take your time on a small platform.
What is Multistreaming, and Should I Use it?
Up until now, we’ve been discussing live streaming on a single platform. But, do you need to really only choose one? Maybe you don’t, and that’s where multistreaming comes into play. Thanks to middleman platforms like restream.io, you can beam your pretty face to more than one destination. There are a few caveats to keep in mind, though.
While there are ways to interact with more than one chat, they’re not perfect. Because each platform uses its own emoji protocol, for instance, you may not get the whole message your viewers are trying to communicate. In some cases, the chat relay system may not even support one or more of the platforms you’re trying to multistream. Finally, some platforms may not allow multistreaming. For example, Twitch has a clause in their Affiliate and Partner ToS that prohibits streamers from using Restream and other such apps.
Best Live Streaming Platforms to Grow in 2021
With all of that out of the way, let’s dive into the meat and potatoes of this post. Keep in mind this isn’t an exhaustive list of live content platforms. We’ve specifically picked them for their gamer friendliness.
No matter how you slice it, Twitch is the de facto live streaming platform. Whenever anyone thinks about live content, they can’t help but have the purple platform in mind. Twitch’s main advantage is that viewers go there exclusively for live channels, meaning that anyone who sets foot on your chat knows why they’re there.
Twitch also has some of the most robust viewer engagement tools and a vast viewer culture that loves using emotes. The main downside is the platform is quite saturated with game streamers, making it difficult for new channels to stand out.
The Google-owned video platform has been in the live streaming game for several years now. Up until now, however, it’s been but an afterthought. These days, YouTube has been making big moves to take Twitch and other live streaming competitors head-on.
For instance, they’ve rolled out a clip feature that’s just as robust as Twitch’s. On top of that, they make it a lot easier to repurpose your past broadcasts. With a few more adjustments to their monetization options and user engagement, YouTube could one day dethrone Twitch.
Like YouTube, Facebook’s games streaming segment has been making waves with content creators. It’s easy to see why, too. It’s one of the biggest social media platforms on the planet, with hundreds of millions visiting the site regularly.
What viewers complain about the most is the poor player experience and the lack of chat functionality. Facebook Gaming makes for a better second option via multistreaming. If you don’t mind its simplicity, though, it’s one of the few platforms that’ll give you a bigger pool of potential viewers to draw from.
If you’re looking for a game and nerd culture-focused platform, then this China-based site may be what you’re looking for. Admittedly, the audience here is predominantly Chinese who may have difficulty engaging with a foreign-speaking live streamer. You could, however, tap into a unique niche audience.
Bilibili has been around the block for a while and has developed a robust platform with some great features. And who knows? This may be the kick in the pants you need to try learning Chinese.
We’ve included this budding young live streaming platform because their pitch is intriguing. The founders include streamers who are looking to create a better, fairer live platform. We don’t need to tell you how important it is for more competition to be out there. Therefore, supporting Glimesh could lead to yet another robust platform entering the mix.
At the moment, Glimesh is in its Alpha stages, but they’re accepting new channels without any catches. On top of that, you can monetize your channel right off the bat, with no hoops to jump through.
Whichever platform you choose to live stream on, it’s important to remember that your content will always be what helps you grow. Standing out is essential, and one of the best ways to accomplish this is through eye tracking. It’s an incredible tool that enhances the viewer experience, and you can start today for free by downloading our iPhone app.