In March of 2018, former Twitch user Tyler “Ninja” Blevins was streaming live when other industry leaders Drake, Travis Scott, and Juju Smith Schuster joined to play Fortnite. Ninja usually had an audience of 70,000 viewers, but this night was different. When the rapper, pop superstar, and up and coming NFL wide receiver came together to stream, more than 600,000 viewers took notice. Ninja is no longer with Twitch and has since left to work for Microsoft. Twitch chief executive Emmett Shear says the competition is “healthy, and hasn’t yet affected the company’s long term goals of being the streaming platform for all interests.”
25,000 attendees gathered each day at TwitchCon, and many brands that are outside of the gaming industry were also present. Gaming enthusiasts continue to comprise the main audience for Twitch, but the company is focused on other areas as well in order to relate to their core users’ interests. MAC, a cosmetics manufacturer, is taking notice of the power Twitch has in reaching audiences from around the world on its streaming platform. Cary Neer, MAC’s executive director of global integrated communications and content, noticed the similarities between MAC’s motto and Twitch’s vision by saying, “Our motto is all ages, all races, all genders. And then you see the sign that greets you when you walk into Twitchcon, ‘You’re already one of us.’ ” With current makeup streamers and Instagram users making tutorials and other home videos daily, Twitch allows users to get a live view of their favorite artists and connect with them in a personal way on a daily basis.
Twitch currently has over 27,000 partners and more than 150,000 affiliates, and the number continues to grow each day. Other companies have taken notice of these growing numbers. The non-gaming industry companies that participated at TwitchCon were Honda, TikTok, Hershey’s and Kraken Rum. Live streaming will soon be able to expand to industries outside of gaming and have a noticeable impact on viewers’ accessibility to their favorite brands across the world.
State Farm Insurance also made their first appearance at the gaming convention, with sponsored esport athlete, Ben “DrLupo” Lupo. While raising thousands of dollars for St. Jude’s Research Hospital, Lupo shared his thoughts on the growing live streaming industry and noted that having a sense of community and talking live by the second is great for engaging with fans. Twitch chief executive Emmitt Shear also gave a lot of credit to gamers like Lupo by saying, “Gamers are always the early adopters. Gamers are always the ones to show up first to technology.” While gamers continue to pave the way for other industries to join live streaming industry leaders like Twitch, we will see a greater connection between audiences and stars who are using the platform to build a sense of community.