Twitch’s early move into video game streaming is paying off, with Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and Disney failing to dislodge the Amazon unit from its top position. 

Twitch isn’t only defending its No.1 standing — the company is expanding it. Twitch controlled 76% of the video game streaming market at the end of the third quarter, a 3% gain from the second, according to StreamElements.

Microsoft’s recent effort to boost its streaming platform Mixer failed to dent Twitch’s numbers. Mixer earlier this year lured top Twitch star Ninja — real name Tyler Blevins — to its platform with a deal valued in the double-digit millions, the New York Times said, citing estimates from analysts and agents. Despite this, Twitch continued to add users. 

Live streaming is a big and growing part of the gaming industry, itself bigger than music and movies, the NYT said. More than a third of the world’s population — 2.5 billion — play video games, according to NewZoo, and they are expected to boost spending on games by 9.6% to $152.1 billion.

Those numbers explain Microsoft’s moves, as well as Facebook’s deals with ESL, the world’s biggest esports company, and Disney’s $100 million investment last year in social broadcasting network Caffeine. Cultivating young, growing audiences is critical to the companies’ long-term survival.

Streaming “is a billion-dollar game,” Doron Nir, chief executive of StreamElements told the Times. And Microsoft has a ways to go to dent Twitch, he said: “It’s going to take a lot more from Mixer to really take away from the enormous audience that Twitch has.”

Twitch has reported it has 140 million monthly users, while Mixer has more than 30 million, the NYT said, citing Microsoft’s head of gaming services Ben Decker.

Venture capital and private equity are trimming investments in so-called social/platform software companies. Investments slipped to $47.9 billion so far this year from $59.2 billion in 2018, according to PitchBook.

  • Gaming is still a bright spot for private investment, as funding nearly quadrupled this year to $19.7 billion, PitchBook data show.
  • Twitch and esports are helping boost gaming overall, Andreessen Horowitz General Partner Andrew Chen told Karma this year. He predicts that the sector will create many recognizable brands in the next decade as streaming creates “more viewers than players.”