In two fell swoops this September, Twitch – a streaming service owned by Amazon – has helped reaffirm its status as the biggest and best platform for influencers in the gaming space.
Not only has Twitch re-signed Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins, the undisputed king of gaming content, exclusively in a multi-year deal, but Twitch has also launched the beta of its new VERSUS feature. In a press release made by the company last week, VERSUS was referred to as the future of esports on Twitch. Through VERSUS, users with varying levels of experience will be able to access, “an end-to-end suite of competition tools,” that are fully integrated into the website. Twitch alleges that the new tools will allow streamers and viewers to, “quickly and easily create, manage, and stream competitions with their communities.”
This new feature on Twitch signals a move by the company to double down on its tournament operations and support more amateur and grassroots organisations to host their own competitions.
Currently, most tournaments are broadcast on Twitch but managed on third-party sites such as Battlefy and Challengermode. Ranging in functionality and ease-of-use, there are quite a few different providers in this space already, but Twitch has the potential to gain a lot of market share with VERSUS if it is integrated well with the rest of Twitch’s expansive offering.
Assisting influencers and brands
These additional tools could facilitate and assist influencers and brands as well as Twitch itself once the VERSUS is out of beta and available to the whole Twitch community. The easier and more simple it is for influencers to organise tournaments and engage with their communities and peers, the easier it will be to create highly entertaining content. Creator events – informal and casual competitions between influencers – have been popular for a while now, and one could suggest that they outperform sporting events in many respects.
With increased ease and support directly from Twitch, more influencers may be encouraged to host creator events or monetise their audience in a new and engaging way by offering exclusive tournament access to paying subscribers. Brands, on the other hand, will have the opportunity to ride the wave and sponsor the events that influencers create. Alternatively, it’ll be easier than ever for non-endemic brands to enter the space and organise tournaments for Twitch’s massive community to see.
Tom Wingham, an influencer marketing manager at AFK Creators, commented on Twitch’s announcement: “VERSUS looks like a solid response to the individual tournaments that have been very apparent in recent times. Within the Warzone scene, new tournaments are being played weekly, both from popular and new content creators; so to see Twitch develop a tool that enables these to be created in a far simpler manner is a great positive indicator for both competitive and amateur e-sport scenes.”
With a suite of new tools and a gaming icon in the form of Ninja under their belt, Twitch looks set to continue their rule as gaming’s biggest streaming platform. While only time will tell how well VERSUS will be adopted, one can hope that the tools will usher in new and improved ways for brands to connect with gaming influencers.