Games & Play-to-Earn
Twitch Competitor Kick Is Kicking It
Earlier this month, Twitch competitor Kick reached 1 million active users. This pivot from Twitch to Kick comes as a result of recent policy changes made by the former. It was in October 2022 that Twitch made a series of policy changes, specifically targeting streamers who were creating content for a specific type of gaming.
Twitch Enforces Gambling Ban With New Policy
It all started with the revelation by the popular crypto casino streamer Sliker, who admitted on a live stream that he was combating gambling addiction. He confessed to owing different people over $200,000 as he had been borrowing money to gamble. This was back in September 2022; up to that point, Twitch had been facing a lot of criticism over its relationship not only with crypto casinos but with gambling content in general.
The crypto side of the story got hit with the spotlight, as the laws and regulations in that side of the industry are usually more relaxed, with fewer constraints and less enforcement. Crypto casinos and crash gambling sites are labelled as such because they accept crypto payments and feature crash games and other games related to gaming and crypto. Up until the enforcement came into effect, ‘slots’ was the tenth most popular streaming category on Twitch in terms of viewership. Slots refer to online slot machines, which are a popular type of game category in casinos. Before the ban, the list of crash gambling sites grew due to new crash game releases with updated graphics and gameplay. These games offer even more interaction and better gameplay than slots, and are likely in a position to bring even more viewers to these sorts of live streams.
After Sliker came clean, other popular streamers such as Pokimane and Mizkif proposed a campaign to pressure Twitch. The applied pressure had an effect, as Twitch announced a complete gambling ban through a new policy about one month later.
Livestreaming Platform Wars
Livestreaming is hot, and Twitch has been dominating for over a decade. The only challenger to the number one spot has been YouTube and their infinite pool of money and ways of funnelling traffic. And now there’s Kick, created by wealthy streamer Trainwreck, and backed by many investors, including the crypto casino Stake. Stake is a company that had significant exposure through Twitch and took a beating when Twitch enforced its new policy. Their money seems well invested as Kick is off to a great start. The same streamers forced off of Twitch have set up channels on Kick and brought many followers, so many that the new platform surpassed one million users less than three months after launching.
working toward financial security for all streamers of all sizes
— Trainwreck (@Trainwreckstv) January 26, 2023
Trainwreck promises that Kick will have better creator benefits compared to Twitch. For example, 100% of donations (or tips) go directly to the streamer. But better benefits aside, online gambling content is Kick’s main driver of usage and viewership.
What’s Streaming Got to Do With Crypto Casinos?
A majority of the streamers coming from Twitch create content based on crypto casinos and regular online casinos. One reason why crypto casinos are so popular on Twitch is because of their close relationship with gaming. Many crypto-native games are rooted in skin gambling, that is, gambling with in-game items, primarily from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The most obvious example is so-called crash gambling sites featuring casino crash games. The premise of these games is simple, multiple players join a game and place their bets. When the game starts, a projectile moves over a chart; the longer or higher the projectile moves, the higher the bet multiplier. Exit the projectile right on time for the higher multiplier, or too late and watch the projectile explode, and the best is lost. Today, crypto casino sites have improved the graphics and game mechanics of crash games to the point that it offers great graphics and better gameplay. This is something that makes these games both more fun to play and stream, and to watch. Then there are other popular games, such as online slots and live casino games. Another aspect of streaming casino content is the money, chance of winning and risk of losing. This adds another dimension to the content that is absent from regular gaming.
Because of Kick’s recent success coming on the back of casino streamers, many have labelled the platform as a gambling platform and criticized its direction. But as the numbers show, they just continue to grow. Kick still has a long way to go compared to Twitch and their 31 million daily active users.
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