With 2019 taking its turn, we think that it’s the right time to go over main game streaming trends that are going to drive growth in the industry this year.
#1. Celebrity Influencers
This trend has already taken place on Twitch in 2018 and will only rise in 2019. Popular gaming brands will continue to hire top celebrities and athletes to represent their brands not only via ad campaigns, but by participating in game sessions. For example, 2018 has been remarkable by a very successful campaign for mobile game Toon Blast with Ryan Reynolds (“Deadpool”).
Among other notable examples was the cooperation of a well-known Twitch streamer Ninja and a famous rapper and NFL player Drake as well as the Nike’s Chinese “Dribble &” campaign made by LoL star Uzi and a basketball legend LeBron James. Partnership of such kind is beneficial for both gaming companies and individual streamers, as it brings new viewers and is entertaining for the audience.
#2. Chinese Games Enter the Market After a 9-month Freeze
New Chinese games will be available for gamers in 2019. The 9-month freeze was the result of a massive shakeup in the Chinese government and a strict propaganda policy. With the new Chinese games expecting to be released this year, existing game advertisers should be ready to invest more in similar activities. To be able to release new games, the world gaming Chinese giant Tencent has promised to expand its age checks with the help of a police database and limit a play-time for people of certain ages. With new regulations, it’s expected that Chinese game companies will move their focus to other countries, like Southern Asia, the USA, Europe. All in all, the entering of Chinese gaming giants will influence the market and change the current conjuncture.
#3. Mobile Gaming Kicks into High Gear
While Chinese and Japanese game publishers has already switched their focus on developing of mobile games, the West is only assuming this role. Last year, Blizzard announced that the next installment of Diablo III would be made for mobile devices. Several American gaming giants declared similar plans. The genres that initially were made only for PC and console (shooters, RPGs and MOBAs) will become a common practice in 2019. One of the most promising premieres of the year that is going to push of the famous Pokemon Go is Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. By joint efforts of J. K. Rowling’s $25 billion and Niantic. Inc., all Harry Potter’s fans will be able to immerse themselves into a fantastic world full of mysteries, artifacts and favorite heroes.
#4. The Rise of Cross-platform Play
Due to the fact that many games become available on mobile, PC and console, the genuine interest in cross-platform play is inevitable. Gamers don’t want to be separated from the friends only because they play games on different devices. Cross-platform play is beneficial for them: it helps find a match to play from any device. With cross-play you can easily keep all your mobile, PC and console stats under one account. Cross-platform play was successfully tested in 2018 by Fortnite’s creators. The world’s largest and most profitable western interactive entertainment company Activision Blizzard also plays high stakes on cross-platform gaming, making the Hearthstone collective card game category the priority. It’s because it works equally well on PC and mobile and provides integration with streaming platforms, including Twitch.
#5. Explosive Growth of Esports
With impressive 456 million esports global audience in 2018, esports popularity in 2019 will increase exponentially. This creates a necessity of new esports arenas to be built. Some of the big esports venues that will open their doors in 2019 include Riot Games Esports Stadium in Seoul, Full Sail University arena in Florida, The Gaming Stadium in Vancouver. As esports leagues and game streaming broadcasters look for new monetization ways, premium content packages will be widely available for all esports fans. For some extra payment, viewers will be able to watch additional content. A successful example of such practice in 2018 is the Overwatch All-Access Pass on Twitch. Viewers that bought that package could watch a plenty of additional content including behind-the-scenes videos and Q&A sessions.
#6. The Biggest Streaming Platform Twitch Heads for Europe
With four conventions already held in the USA (starting from 2015), in 2019 the biggest annual Twitch event expands to Europe. The Convention will be held in CityCube, Berlin, on 13-14. It will feature a great show and various exhibitions for all game streaming fans, creators and everyone who love games, cosplay and having fun. In order to become closer to European community, Twitch elaborates some elements specifically tailored to the region, such as community panels, meetings with top European streamers. A central location makes CityCube a perfect place for meeting: there are lot of accommodation options close to it as well gastronomical and entertaining hubs. Germany was picked because it represents the most active Twitch audience in Europe in terms of both streamers and viewers. The content on European TwitchCon will be available in English, German, and French, so if you understand at least one of these languages you will fully enjoy the event.
#7. Twitch Continues to Improve Its Functionality: New Features Are Expected Soon
Together with Harmonix, Twitch is going to bring new karaoke game Twitch Sings to let viewers request songs via chat. According to official announcement at TwitchCon 2018, live stream viewers will be able to activate stage light shows by cheering, invent challenges for streamers such as requiring them to sing like a superhero or vampire or without lyrics. How the feature acts in reality we can only witness when Twitch starts its closed beta this year. Another important and the most expected feature is squad streams that will make it possible to watch 4 streamers in one window. The feature is especially beneficial for those who enjoy multiplayer games. Viewers will be able to select the main view and chat linked to it as well as freely jump from one channel community to another.
Twitch is also working on new moderation tools that will give moderators more access to some user information. These measures will allow moderators to filter out chat participants. The information about how long the user has been on Twitch, his/her chat messages in some other channels, bans the user has had in the past will help to understand if the person should stay in the community. Along with the mentioned ones, Twitch is going to present some other features to expand the functionality and fans engagement: updated Highlight Editor allowing streamers to compile videos from several channels to a single highlight; VIP-badges to recognize valuable viewers without requiring them to subscribe; new Extensions by Adobe, Tiltify, Spotify, Snapchat and so on.
With the game streaming industry seeing a rise this year, there will be a lot of new ways to stand out and achieve success in game streaming. As for the Twitch fans, the platform will continue to grow in terms of both the number of streamers and viewers. NewTwitch features are intended to make the user experience even more engaging and brighter.