YouTube vs Twitch? Which One is Better?

In the year 2017, the gap between Twitch and YouTube is growing larger by the second. This is not solely on their monetization scheme or business models, but rather, the audience and the content creators they serve and host respectively. Both of the video streaming sites are now more of a compliment to each other rather than rivals.

Twitch’s prominence in the gaming community is exponentially enabled by the eight generation of home video game consoles. The previous and prolonged generation of the PlayStation 3, the Xbox One, and the Nintendo Wii were not really equipped with streaming. A third-party hardware was needed for streamers to connect to Twitch and broadcast their sessions. The price for admission is relatively expensive and requires further technical maneuvers. The PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One families of consoles have baked-in Twitch support with the Nintendo Switch promising to have one later on its life. With all these facts, the traditional gaming platforms do respect Twitch’s reach even compared to the juggernaut that is YouTube.

YouTube and its Size

YouTube’s size is a double-edged sword. Its gigantic reach can either pull more subscribers or just drown the streamer into obscurity because of massive competition within the same industry and even from those which are of absolute no relation. There are too many things going on in YouTube like YouTube Red, ever-changing policies, DMCA takedowns, and other forms of witch-hunts made for the satisfaction of the advertisers and into the demise of both the audience and the content creators.

YouTube being part of the Google machine makes the content posted there to have the best exposure. Even casual gaming audience might be drawn into the channel because of the suggestion system. YouTube is indeed a rabbit hole as it automatically queues content of similar content next to the viewed one, aside from the possible appearance on the right side-bar. Even if the visitor was just playing one particular video from the content creator’s channel, the lingering effect lives on as the Google algorithm will continue to put the channel’s content in the suggestions.

Twitch and its Focus

Twitch is a video game streaming website, and that helps a lot since your target audience is already there waiting to be served. However, the discovery system of Twitch is absent. Those who have audience will continue to be the top dogs. It is a little bit of difficult for a starter to jump into the line even with great content because searching in Twitch favors those who are established already. The search system does not take into account anything but the game name. Twitch does well with its own community. Streamers will likely have a meaningful conversation with his or her audience because right off the bat they share the same interests.

Form and Function

Twitch’s UI in both its web and app form is simple. However, the quality of the streams is mostly because of the streamer’s setting. A viewer would not know the technical details of the available settings. Unlike on YouTube, viewers could know instantaneously if there are 60hz or 4K quality settings and choose them. Granted Twitch is all about live streaming, it is admittedly difficult to pull off a live broadcast with the highest fidelity. Throwing in obfuscated options are definitely not helping.

YouTube, in general, has too much noise. And going over YouTube Gaming is a step too much. Still, YouTube enjoys a lot of functions because of its enormous corporate backing. One of the most prominent advantage in using YouTube is its DVR function. In Twitch, viewers have to wait for the streamer to finish the stream and then upload it in order to sift through the entire session. In YouTube, you can easily rewind to your missed moments, or replay plays in the moment and then follow the stream live again easily.

Streamers can also moderate their audience much better on Twitch with its Automod. Automod has machine learning to identify messages that are offensive and weed them out. Third-party solutions like Nightbot works well with both YouTube and Twitch. However, out-of-the-box native solutions in community moderation is miles better in Twitch compared to YouTube. With all of these taken into account, Twitch has an actual support staff that should help casters with their set-ups. YouTube, and in general Google, does not have a working system for their publishers as this manpower is reserved mostly for the advertisers.


The revenue share model of Twitch is also less draconian and more transparent than YouTube could ever be. There is a subscription system, donation system through Paypal or Patreon to augment the income of the channel, as well as a kind of affiliate system with Twitch’s own storefront. Twitch is also little bit lax on policing content with lesser take down notices. YouTube can also get these kinds of income augmentation but they are as less prominent from the content creators because of the built-in Google advertising systems–which is both convenient and luxurious.

Google’s system is also open to abuse. Google’s eternal servitude to advertisers and copyright holders make their system easier to game. Some trolls flag content even if they do not have rights to the elements of a video. Most of the rights holders are implementing an automated system that automatically flags content that includes their properties even if these companies are freely allowing fair usage. Flagged content in YouTube will remove monetization from the uploader. This can also escalate from suspension and even permanent ban for the uploader.

RIAA is also pesky on going after everything on Youtube. Twitch on itself removes music from the uploads automatically to prevent this. Nintendo has a chokehold of its properties in YouTube and since Nintendo consoles do not have native Twitch features, it is very difficult for streamers to broadcast exclusive Nintendo games on Twitch. When using YouTube for Nintendo, the streamer is required to apply for Nintendo’s programs. That is another layer of bureaucracy and filter that is generally a waste of time and not worth the effort. Majority of Twitch users are willing to pay for content via subscription or other forms of donation based on a study conducted by (tips are whooping 96% for Twitch vs the measly 4% for YouTube).

Twitch vs Youtube

Twitch dominates YouTube in audience-based income generation based on a study conducted by  Streamlabs.

All of the Heart’s Content

Generally, YouTube is the home for highly produced commentaries or reviews. Twitch is mostly for those who want to stream live and connect with their audience right there and then. ‘Let’s Plays’ and ‘Walkthroughs’ are better suited in YouTube, whether they be live or heavily edited with annotations because of the DVR functions. Those who have the gear and the video editing prowes should do fine in YouTube.

Run-throughs, speedruns, live streaming and specific genres like MOBAs and competitive shooters is a great place for Twitch to thrive. Twitch is indeed great for playing live and have direct discussions with your audience because of the easy set-up. The consoles, as already mentioned, already offers streaming options on Twitch. On PC, such activity should be very easy to whip out.

Twitch Frontpage Screenshot

Twitch’s Home Page featuring the most popular games being streamed in real-time.


Twitch is Which

Twitch should be a starter’s destination when one wants to be a video game content creator. It builds up an audience from a concentrated base that are technologically savvy enough to follow him or her down into YouTube if the content creator decides to expand. Every internet marketing guru would advise on going after your niche first before grabbing everyone. Fortify the grip on dedicated audience and expand when ready and able. Only jump to YouTube if you are able to produce your own content around a game like machinima, editorials, and breakdowns. All of these require massive amount of knowledge and experience as well as skills in video editing, video shooting, and scriptwriting. With Twitch, you only need to have a personality fit for your audience and the time of the day to spend gaming. Income will flow and invest in gear, learn new skills, hire some writers or video editors, and then set up shop in YouTube.

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