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There are various live-streaming platforms available these days. The big three being Twitch, Mixer, and YouTube Live. But which is best if you want to start streaming today?
In this article we’ll briefly introduce you to all three of the big live-streaming platforms, and help you decide which is best for your needs. This is Twitch vs. Mixer vs. YouTube Live.
Twitch is currently the undisputed king of online streaming platforms. The Amazon-owned site, which started out as Justin.tv, now has more than 15 million active daily users.
While most Twitch streams feature popular games, the platform also caters to art and music channels, along with talk shows and live vloggers (also known as IRL channels).
Twitch streamers can earn money through advertisements on their streams, or through tiered viewer subscriptions starting from $4.99/month. Amazon Prime users get one free subscription per month.
Right now, if you are serious about becoming a streamer, Twitch is still the best option. You’ll have a hard time getting started, but the rewards for building a popular stream are bigger.
- Huge potential audience which is continuing to grow.
- Stream on every platform or device (OBS or similar required for computer)
- Powerful community and chat tools
- Amazon Prime users get a free channel subscription
- Huge userbase can make it hard to stand out.
Mixer is Microsoft’s answer to Twitch. Originally called Beam, it was bought and rebranded in 2016. Mixer initially struggled to gain traction, but things have changed recently.
In August 2019, Ninja, one of the most popular streamers in the world, switched from Twitch to Mixer. The news made waves, and has helped Mixer gain a significant foothold since.
Much like Twitch, Mixer is focused on gaming and gamers. You won’t find much other than gaming streams, although there are growing IRL and Talk Show scenes on the site.
One of the great benefits of Mixer is just how easy it is to use from Windows and Xbox One. To see just how quickly you can start streaming on PC or mobile. Here’s how to start streaming on Mixer for more details.
Mixer streams currently have no adverts, so streamers rely on subscribers. The subscription cost on Mixer is slightly higher at $7.99/month. Mixer’s high level of interaction (with some games even supporting chat controlled integration) may make up for this difference. While still small, the platform has already attracted some loyal audiences.
- Currently gaining users fast due to Ninja’s move.
- Smaller userbase makes it easier to find an audience.
- Easy to use for Windows and Xbox One users, no need for OBS or Xsplit.
- High level of viewer interaction with MixPlay.
- Streaming from mobile devices from day one.
- No native PS4 support.
- Smaller userbase may mean a longer road to any financial gain.
- Not many opportunities for non-gaming streams.
While YouTube is still by far the most popular video hosting service, it’s catching up in terms of streaming too. The Google-owned company recently scrapped its YouTube Gaming platform, consolidating all video and streaming into the main YouTube site.
This means that anyone with a following has an audience already waiting for them when they choose to stream. Much like Twitch, users can stream from a computer using OBS, or a mobile device. However, mobile users will need over 1,000 subscribers to start live streaming.
Confusingly, following someone for free on YouTube is called a subscription. To get paid membership benefits from channels on YouTube, you must “join” them. Other than the name difference, the $4.99/mo cost and viewer benefits are much the same.
YouTube frequently comes under fire for blocking ad revenue from its users. Out of the three here, it certainly seems to be the hardest place to pursue a streaming career. Which is something worth bearing in mind if you are setting your sights high.
- Streams can be rewound, and are saved automatically after they end.
- Great if you already have a YouTube following.
- YouTube is very strict in terms of offensive content and copyright violation.
- No Xbox One support.
- Streaming from mobile devices possible, though requires at least 1000 channel subscribers.
Twitch vs. Mixer vs. YouTube Live: Which Is Best?
All three of these services provide something subtly different to audiences and streamers alike. If you are already active on YouTube, then that’s probably the place for you.
If you are a completely new streamer looking to get experience and recognition quickly, Mixer might be for you. It’s undoubtedly the strongest in terms of ways viewers can interact with your stream.
In truth, though, Twitch is still the top dog in streaming. There’s no bigger potential audience pool, and almost all the biggest streaming celebrities and esports players use it. If you are willing to put the time in to stand out from the crowd, Twitch is the place to do it.
Why Choose a Live-Streaming Platform?
Choosing a service is one of the first things you’ll need to do as a streamer. Or is it? There is another option called Multistreaming.
Platforms like Restream allow you to broadcast to multiple platforms simultaneously. Why choose between Twitch, Mixer, and YouTube when you can stream to all three at the same time?
If you aim to reach as many potential viewers as possible, this is the option for you. There is, however, a catch. Twitch affiliates are not allowed to stream on multiple platforms simultaneously. Part of the affiliate agreement states that Twitch owns the broadcast during, and up to 24 hours after.
Given Twitch’s domination of live-streaming currently, that might be enough to put off potential multi-streamers.
How to Build a Live-Streaming Audience
If you are serious about streaming, you can turn it into a career regardless of which platform you choose to use. No matter which of the three you choose, here’s how to build an audience for your live streaming channel.
As it stands, however, Twitch is still king, and our Twitch tips to help you build a bigger viewership could help kickstart your streaming career.