Best Esports Streaming Platforms in 2021
- April 21, 2021
Here at Gaming Power, we don’t just build games. We play them – a lot!
We’re also massive esports geeks, and love keeping up with the latest industry trends. So I asked around the office for tips on the best esports streaming platforms for tournaments, live streaming, pro gamers, and hobbyists.
Whatever drew you to esports, this guide will help you decide which streaming platform is perfect just for you.
Twitch – the world’s biggest esports streaming platform – needs little introduction.
Since starting in 2011, Twitch has grown into a gaming and media behemoth. Billions of hours of streaming are watched by 10s of millions of fans every month. In recent years, Twitch has expanded beyond esports. The platform now hosts everything from cooking shows to foul-mouthed puppets playing dungeons and dragons.
But is being the biggest mean Twitch is the best? In many ways, yes.
Twitch is home to the biggest communities and big-name esports stars. It’s the best place to follow and join esports tournaments held around the world. And for aspiring pro players, the shire size of your potential audience, monetization methods, and sponsorship opportunities can be incredibly enticing.
But no platform is perfect – and Twitch certainly has some issues. Many old and new streamers feel the company has become too corporate, obsessed with juicing every last dollar out of users and ruthlessly crushing any competitors. It is owned by Amazon, after all.
And while it’s definitely a great place to start, getting established and building an audience will be tough – you’re competing with millions of other streamers.
Overall, Twitch offers the most complete esports streaming platform. But, depending on what you’re looking for, it might be worth trying out its smaller competitors too.
- The biggest and most popular esports streaming platform in the world
- Excellent apps on every device
- Straightforward monetization and plenty of options to earn
- Plenty of communities to join
- Extensive cross-device support
- Detailed audience and engagement analytics
- Branch out and stream non-gaming content
- Overcrowded for many games
- Difficult to stand out
- Lots of trolls
- Less community-focused and more corporate, especially since it was bought by Amazon
- Potential copyright issues
Supported Devices: PC, MAC, Playstation, Xbox, iOS, Android
2. Youtube Gaming
Youtube Gaming offers gamers and their audiences the high-quality experience you’d expect from the biggest streaming service in the world.
You’re probably already familiar with Youtube’s regular streaming interface, navigation, and channels. Well, Youtube Gaming is almost identical in every aspect.
For audiences and esports fans, Youtube makes it easy to find the best channels, live streams, and pre-recorded videos. It also offers the highest quality streaming specs on this list. You can even pause, rewind, and fast forward live streams – so you don’t miss a thing.
For streamers, Youtube Gaming offers immediate, easy monetization options once you started publishing content. Unlike most platforms, it doesn’t exclude new streamers from making money. You can also easily connect your channel with Patreon and Kickstarter for external revenue and direct support from your fans.
However, Youtube’s algorithms prioritize popular individual videos and live streams over channels, which makes getting discovered by new fans a bit tricky. If you plan on streaming for a living, you’ll need to work hard to build your initial audience.
Youtube Gaming Pros
- The best streaming from a technical aspect: high bitrates and fast speeds
- Easy, familiar interface
- Pause, rewind, and fast forward live streams
- Easy, immediate monetization
- Easy for viewers to find vast amounts of content
Youtube Gaming Cons
- Low discoverability for streamers
- Tricky ID and age verification rules
- Difficult to separate live streams from recorded content
- Currently smaller overall revenue potential compared to Twitch
Supported Devices: PC, MAC, Playstation, Android, iOS
3. Facebook Gaming
Because Facebook never saw a business idea it didn’t want to copy or acquire, in 2018, the company launched Facebook Gaming.
Facebook Gaming has some obvious advantages for streamers. Facebook has over 2.8 billion monthly active users across the globe. That’s a lot of potential fans. Discoverability is easy, as you can publish content directly onto your newsfeed, and everyone knows how to share content they like amongst their friends.
Finally, you can use Facebook Groups to connect with other streamers and fans, get advice and tips for growing your channel, and much more.
While Facebook Gaming is still relatively new and in active development, many big-name streamers have started migrating from Twitch to the platform. It probably helps that Facebook has a massive amount of cash to invest in rewarding streamers financially.
In fact, many streamers report earning considerably more on Facebook Gaming than any other esports streaming platform.
Facebook Gaming Pros
- Easy mobile broadcasting
- Easily play with your Facebook friends
- Sync your gaming profile with your regular profile
- Great for outreach and promotion to grow your audience
- Popular with advertisers
- Great earning potential
Facebook Gaming Cons
- Some people may be uncomfortable with Facebook’s privacy and business practices
- The iOS app is surprisingly limited
- No console apps
Supported Devices: PC, MAC, Android, iOS
Trovo is by far the smallest esports streaming platform on this list.
Trovo’s audience and community of streamers are still minuscule compared to Twitch, Facebook Gaming, and YT gaming, but it’s growing, with many streamers moving to the platform in recent years.
Many have been enticed by Trovo’s focus on community and supporting streaming financially. No doubt, the generous cash bonuses offered by Trovo and its $30 million ‘Creator Partnership Program’ launched in 2020 have helped.
Trovo also accommodates people with limited internet access. You can easily adjust the bitrate of videos, and various other features help it run smoothly on any connection. It’s one more example of Trovo prioritizing accessibility and community over juicing as much money as possible from users.
It’s not without some bugs. We’ve seen users complain about the lack of moderation and issues with hate speech and racism in comments. Also, it appears Trovo is struggling to entice regular viewers away from bigger platforms to build an audience.
But it’s growing fast, and big-name streamers on more well-known platforms are talking about Trovo – good and bad. But, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, and it shows the platform is starting to make serious waves in the industry.
File this under ‘One to Watch.’
- Popular with gaming industry pros
- Cash bonuses for creators and streamers
- Incredibly high bitrate and streaming quality
- Very active and supportive community
- Potential to quickly grow an audience
- Small size means your audience will be capped for the time being
- If Trovo doesn’t grow quickly enough, it could collapse, like its predecessor Mixer
Supported Devices: PC, MAC, Android, iOS
How To Choose The Best Esport Streaming Platform For You
Before picking your preferred platform, think about the following considerations:
- Features and Integrations
If you’re streaming as a hobby, you may only need a simple interface that makes it easy to get online and connect with friends. Facebook Gaming and Youtube are great for this.
However, if you plan on streaming professionally or as part of a team, you’ll need to consider a few things:
- Extra features and analytics to grow an audience
- Collaboration with other streamers
- Monetization options and potential revenue
- Community building, audience size, and engagement
- Joining big-ticket esports tournaments and events
The obvious choice, in this case, is Twitch, but the other esports streaming platforms featured on this list are catching up.
- Collaborating with other gamers on different devices
One of the best things about esports is connecting with people all over the world and joining forces.
If you plan on collaborating with other players and joining esports tournaments, make sure your preferred streaming platform a smooth experience for everyone involved – including your combined audiences.
Your new teammates might be on different devices to you. So whichever platform you choose will need to accommodate seamless cross-device support between players and viewers.
- Video quality and bandwidth requirements
You may have limited internet or live in an area with connection issues. In that case, you should prioritize consistent streaming and low latency over HD video and a feature-rich interface.
Of course, HD streaming and cutting-edge software a great for making high-quality videos and engaging with your audience. But none of that matters if your internet connection dies in the middle of a stream.
Sometimes it’s worth sacrificing streaming quality for overall reliability. In this case, look for the lightest streaming platform possible, so it doesn’t eat your bandwidth.
- Non-gaming content
Do you plan on branching out into other forms of content?
Plenty of gamers become household names and create great content beyond e-sports. Twitch now hosts plenty of channels dedicated to food that feature zero gaming.
If this sounds appealing, a bigger platform like Twitch or Youtube Gaming might be the best option. They give you the tools and potential audience to experiment with streaming beyond esports and gaming.
- Audience size and niche
If you aspire to become the next Ninja or PewDiePie – with a global audience of millions of diehard fans – the bigger streaming platforms are the obvious choice.
But some gamers aren’t looking for esports superstardom. Maybe you do it purely for the love of the game and the community. If so, a smaller, more community-focused platform like Trovo might be a better fit.
The Bottom Line
Picking the best esports streaming platform has a lot of considerations. Every gamer is different, and every gamer has different needs.
But as esports continues to grow, it’s easier to find the right platform for you and your audience.
Don’t just go for the easiest, biggest, most popular platform. Take some time to research each one and see which is the best fit.
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We are a digital marketing company with a focus on helping our customers achieve great results across several key areas.
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