Once you have the right equipment and are ready to start your online gaming journey, you will need to
decide on a platform to host your live stream. Selecting the right platform for streaming video games can
make or break your streaming career. With several major platforms to choose from, it’s important to consider
all the options to determine the video game streaming platform that best meets your needs. The good news
is that the three leading live-streaming platforms – Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook – should be familiar
enough to provide you with a basic understanding of what each can offer. Still, each platform has different
benefits and can have various advantages depending on your circumstances, so you will want to research
each option to determine which video game streaming platform is right for you.
In this article, we’re going to break down the pros and cons of each video game streaming platform so that
you can select the best one to elevate your live stream.
Twitch: The Amazon-owned video streaming giant
Twitch describes itself as the place “where millions of people come together live every day to chat, interact,
and make their own entertainment together.” The dedicated live streaming platform was first introduced in
June 2011 as a spin-off of the general-interest streaming platform Justin.tv., and is now owned by Amazon,
which acquired Twitch in August 2014 for US$970 million. Twitch is now the leader in the interactive live
streaming space and, according to figures released in January 2022, is home to an impressive community of
more than 7.57 million active Twitch streamers. Amazon’s decision to purchase the platform in 2014 was the
company’s fifth most expensive acquisition and underscores the value the tech giant sees in the video game
live streaming site.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of streaming on Twitch.
- With a 70% market share, Twitch has the largest audience and is the most popular video game live
- Twitch offers multiple ways to monetize your channel, including Bits, subscriptions, direct donations,
and ad revenue.
- If you purchase a Pretzel subscription, you can access over 400,000 Twitch-safe tracks to prevent
DMCA strikes or your channel from being placed on mute for breaching copyright.
- Twitch's powerful chat function is unrivaled and provides a simple way to socialize and interact with
your fanbase. It is, in many ways, the centerpiece of the Twitch experience.
- You can stream Twitch anywhere, anytime, by downloading the Twitch mobile streaming app.
- You need to reach Partner status to monetize your Twitch stream, which involves meeting a
minimum set of criteria that can be difficult to attain for most people streaming video games.
- With a bigger pool of live streamers to pick from, it can be harder to attract an audience and keep
- Like monetizing your channel, you need to achieve Partner status to stream at the optimal 1080p
YouTube: A home for UGC content and live streaming
YouTube is the world’s most popular online video sharing and social media site. But it is also the world’s
second-largest online video game streaming platform, with an entire subsite titled YouTube Gaming that
caters specifically to the gaming community. Second, only to Twitch in the number of daily streamers it
attracts, YouTube Gaming supports a massive community of creators who in Q3 2021 watched a cumulative
1.31 billion hours of content. And, in a positive sign that the service is growing, YouTube has attracted some
high-profile streamers away from its biggest rival. Most notable is Valkyrae, who, in January 2021, signed a
contract to live stream exclusively on YouTube.
What makes YouTube the best platform for live streaming video games? Let’s take a look at the pros and
- As it’s part of the more extensive YouTube network, each live stream is automatically archived and
made available on-demand immediately rather than waiting an hour on Twitch.
- YouTube has a massive built-in audience, making it easy for people to discover your live stream.
- People who subscribe to your channel will receive a notification whenever you start streaming.
- Pretzel offers a robust subscription plan with over 10,000 YouTube-safe tracks to prevent you from
receiving content ID strikes for playing copyrighted music on your live stream.
- YouTube has monetization options for both new and established live streamers. As a beginner, you
can monetize your content using Google AdSense. Then once you have 1,000 subscribers and a
total of 4,000 views to get approved, you can apply to the YouTube Partner Program to make even
- Live gaming is not YouTube’s main drawcard. Because of this, you have to compete with over
700,000 hours of video content uploaded every day.
- YouTube is still growing its live-streaming capabilities and lacks some of the community
management features of Twitch.
- The amount of stream-safe music cleared for use on YouTube is much less than Twitch.
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Facebook: A combined live video game and social media experience
Though Facebook is primarily known as a social media platform, it is also active in the live video game
space. In 2018, the social media giant launched a gaming subsite with many of the same features offered by
its closest competitors. If you’re active on Facebook and have an existing community that regularly interacts
with your content, it may be worth considering the Meta-owned platform as the place to host your live
stream. Thanks to Facebook's sophisticated algorithm, your video game stream can appear on people’s
news feeds, including those who do not follow you. This can provide a considerable advantage when you’re
establishing your channel.
Despite entering the live gaming arena more recently, Facebook still has some benefits worth considering.
Here are the pros and cons of streaming video games on Facebook.
- Facebook offers numerous ways to monetize your content through its Level Up program. Once you
are eligible to join the program, you can start earning stars: each star is worth 1 cent each, and fans
can offer them as a type of tip. After you become more established, you can join the Facebook
Gaming Partner Program, where you can earn ad-supported revenue and launch a paid subscription
- Since Facebook Gaming is part of the Meta universe, your existing Facebook community can easily
access your live video game content.
- You can edit your videos in Facebook’s Creator Studio before posting them to your personal
- Facebook has a dedicated mobile app specifically designed for live video game streaming.
With fewer people competing for airtime, it can be easier to get recognition and find a devoted
- Self-promotion is easy and especially beneficial as you look to kickstart your channel.
- Fewer people are watching your live stream, which reduces the revenue you can make.
- Facebook Gaming’s UI lacks some of the more popular features available on Twitch and YouTube
- Like Twitch, you must join the Level Up program before you can stream at the optimal 1080p bitrate.
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The Final Verdict
Now that you have the pros and cons of each platform, you will want to consider your personal
circumstances and the features you want to prioritize before making a final decision. Twitch has the largest
market share, but a more stringent monetization program that can be difficult to access. YouTube has a low
barrier of entry but has a ton of pre-recorded content uploaded every day that you will have to compete with.
Facebook provides multiple accessible monetization options but has a smaller community of dedicated daily
live streamers. If time permits, we recommend trying each platform before making a final decision.