Streaming platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Gaming may seem interchangeable on the surface. But scratch beneath that veneer, and one constant theme emerges - viewer loyalty.
When Mixer made waves in 2019 by signing exclusive deals with top Twitch stars Ninja and Shroud, many speculated their loyal fanbases would follow in droves. However, that loyalty proved far more nuanced. While Ninja and Shroud did bring some viewers over, the majority remained dedicated to Twitch rather than the individual streamers.
Over the following months, Mixer's monthly user numbers steadily declined as doubts emerged over whether the platform could truly compete with the behemoth that is Twitch. By mid-2020, Microsoft had thrown in the towel, shuttering Mixer and returning Ninja and Shroud to their original streaming homes.
In the aftermath, Twitch was left even more dominant than before. As the household name for gamers and live streaming fans, Twitch grew complacent with its market position. Platform innovations that once fueled yearly TwitchCon announcements slowed.
2020 saw Twitch's focus shift inward as it grappled with a DMCA crackdown that disrupted the booming restreaming meta. Streamers were quickly deleting giant libraries of past broadcasts to avoid takedowns. However, Twitch arguably should have been better prepared, having seen YouTube tackle similar DMCA issues years prior.
While Twitch solidified tools to help creators remain compliant moving forward, the loss of momentum was notable. With so few competitors left standing, Twitch faced less pressure to stay cutting-edge.
YouTube and Facebook Gaming soldiered on, but neither launched serious challenges to Twitch's gaming crown. For emerging platforms, breaking into the streaming "big three" seemed a pipedream.
That's where platforms like Trovo and Glimesh enter the picture. As idealistic newcomers, they present themselves not as Twitch-killers, but as alternatives where streamers and communities might find a home untouched by the giants.
For streamers taking a chance on Trovo or Glimesh, it's about being pioneers carving their own paths rather than hopeful Mixer refugees. They see an opportunity to build loyal followings from the ground up in a space others have yet to saturate.
Whether these scrappy upstarts can scale their visions into true competitors remains uncertain. But their existence shows an audience demand for variety and choice beyond the big three.
As diversity wanes in the streaming landscape, discontent grows - as evidenced when popular streamers threaten "Twitch strikes" over felt grievances. Creators and viewers alike see value in competitive pressure leading to platform innovation.
Mixer's rise and fall proves viewer loyalty runs far deeper than any one platform or personality. But it also shows that complacency can undermine dominance. Whether future platforms can leverage these lessons into real staying power remains to be seen. One thing is clear - the quest for streaming supremacy is far from over.