The esports industry moved from the underground category to mass culture and developed consumption a long time ago. According to Insider Intelligence, the overall number of viewers of esports events reached the mark of 523 million users in 2022.
Gaming keeps gaining momentum too, conquering new heights every year. In 2022, the Twitch platform achieved more than 1346 million minutes of views and a peak number of 6,647 thousand viewers, according to Twitchtraker, the average number was 2,578,000 users per day.
Such numbers are achieved thanks to the creativity of the content creators, massive esports events, and the diversity of its presentation. We have already talked about some famous streamers and covered massive esports events but forgot about the basics – streaming platforms.
We are rehabilitating and presenting you with the top esports and game streaming platforms and services in 2022.
Twitch is a predictable leader. The platform founded in 2011 has passed a long road from a niche platform for personal online broadcasts to the titled video streaming platform.
Twitch has become home for broadcasts of esports events of different scales and not only: broadcasts of the biggest League of Legends, VALORANT, CSGO, Dota 2 world championships and local tournaments, meditative streams with food cooking and musical instrument playing.
The popularity of Twitch can be explained easily: it is accessible, functional, and lucrative. The most popular streaming service for broadcasts of esports tournaments and video games can be watched on any device – from PC to smartphone.
Twitch is available for watching in a browser but it is way more pleasant to use the application. It allows you to follow your favorite channels, edit your profile, host your broadcasts, or talk with like-minded people in a chat. The last one is Twitch’s other strength.
The developed community that is formed by enthusiasts in broadcast chats has brought a major part of the popularity of Twitch. The creators of Twitch allow users to use emojis, both the standard and custom ones that are created by content makers, moderate a chat, gift subscriptions to other users, and many others.
YouTube is another big player in the arena of streaming platforms. The biggest platform for video publication is extremely successful and generates millions of dollars for Google, however, it loses the race for audience sympathy to Twitch.
YouTube Gaming was launched in 2015 after the parental company Google failed to purchase Twitch and the last was taken by Amazon. However, it was another boost for the development of streaming services and platforms.
The concept of YouTube Gaming is built around live broadcasts of content makers and is less oriented toward the esports audience. The last one is very little here due to the absence of exclusive rights to broadcast the biggest events in the biggest competitive disciplines like LoL, Dota 2, CSGO, and others.
One of the YouTube Gaming exclusives, the CoD League franchise returned on Twitch by the end of 2022. Now, YG has almost left without unique esports content and analog broadcasts of tournaments gain dozens, if not hundreds, times fewer viewers than the same streams on Twitch.
However, YG is still relevant for content creators and persons with a developed personal brand that are still popular and have a lot of viewers on broadcasts. It also includes the less demanded content moderation policy.
3. Facebook Gaming
Facebook Gaming is another player from “the big three”. It is also known as “the Twitch killer” but it has failed too.
The overwhelming success of Twitch made big players in the market release their analogs. Facebook, known as Meta nowadays, was one of them, having launched its application for game broadcasts in 2019.
In 2023, Facebook Gaming continues offering their creators support programs but this is as far as it goes. At the dawn of the project, Mark Zuckerberg’s program tried to play aggressively, buying rights to broadcast ESL tournaments exclusively, however, it ended up with failure when pirate broadcasts attracted way more viewers than the official stream.
In 2023, unique content, mainly about niche games, can be found on Facebook Gaming. People actively stream and watch mobile titles on the platform, however, due to its pretty non-friendly interface and the lack of functionality for users, the service is not highly popular.
It is another Twitch analog but now, it comes from the East. The streaming service was developed by the company Tencent and is popular in Asia and Eastern Europe.
In fact, the service Trovo is almost identical to Twitch. It has the function of paid subscriptions with different levels and other encouraging things for users and content creators.
Esports is not that popular on Trovo, however, you can find the broadcasts of your favorite events if you try.
Launched in 2015, Discord is one of the most unique examples of a streaming service in 2022. The thing meets the description of “a service for watching esports”.
Paradoxically, Discord has become popular, while not trying to create “a new Twitch killer”. However, it was designed not as a streaming service but as a social network with the ability to create communities and chat.
Having combined these factors, we have a pretty pleasurable way of watching tournaments of different scales in good company. It is supported by the concept of the platform: everyone can create his/her server and host broadcasts there. There is no need to do additional actions: just demonstrate your screen.
These abilities are used by major market players: esports teams and organizations. Many big clubs, for example, OG, have their servers where Q&A sessions, tournament broadcasts, personal streams, etc are hosted.
It is another example of a non-specialized service that can easily be used as a platform for game streaming. The monumental Steam, which was launched in 2003, has long gone beyond the online video game store.
However, Steam TV does not pretend to be the global player in the esports streaming service market. The main focus is made on broadcasting the events organized in the disciplines developed by VALVE, namely, Dota 2 and CSGO.
Let’s return to the original streaming platforms. Next in turn is the youngest representative of the chart.
Caffeine was created by former Apple employees in 2018. The service acquired the exclusive rights to stream the American League of Legends with its LCS series in 2019.
However, the exclusivity ended quickly and it did not bring the service much popularity. The streams made by such mastodons of popular culture as Drake or the partnership with the organizations like NaVi who were promoting the platform by making personal broadcasts of media players did not help.
In 2023, it is impossible to imagine the top streaming services without TikTok. Despite the Chinese service being created not for esports broadcasts, the ability to watch them there will be developed in the future.
The service supports the function of live streams and it does not exclude that we will follow the esports events here in the future. By the way, the basis was already created: regular clips of beautiful game moments, and TikToks by esports clubs on the platform are already gaining millions of views.
9. The in-game launchers
This is not a service but a very good opportunity to watch the best esports events from the first-person perspective. The in-game launchers were doomed to success.
DotaTV is the ideal example of the realization of watching a tournament right in the game launcher. The function allows you to adjust watching as you wish: you can rewind, rewatch the necessary moments, follow the perspective of one of the teams or a player, zoom, etc.
DotaTV has a comfortable sorting by tournaments, interactives in the form of a fantasy league, and other interesting points for users. CSGO and other disciplines have “the implemented television” too.
The streaming platform Huya is the last on the list but not the least important. This Chinese Twitch analog is highly popular in the homeland.
But it owes its popularity to the block of classic Western platforms like Twitch and YouTube but it also has some features. The main of them is “the temperature indicator” of a stream.
Huya has implemented the hot index or the effectiveness indicator, simply put, instead of a common viewer counter. It is needed to help users choose the most popular and hot broadcast among many others and all of this is due to the enormous competition in the monoethnic service.
You can enjoy esports in different ways. Games can be watched on cable television, for example.
The developing esports market keeps modernizing and sometimes it becomes too tight for it. In the case of competitive gaming, it is difficult to fit narrow-profile platforms and more classic platforms are used to cover tournaments – cable television.
In esports, ESPN remains the mainstay of the “usual” broadcast format. The original sports channel that covers NFL, MLB, NBA, and other leagues for the American market entered the esports industry in 2014.
At the start of its activity, it focused on covering esports leagues in League of Legends. Later, other disciplines and events joined the list: Dota 2 championships, Blizzcon, and others.