Mixer and Facebook gaming are gaining ground on Twitch as the market share leader, yet they certainly won’t surpass YouTube Gaming or Twitch anytime soon in regards to hours watched. Below is a quick overview of how each platform performed between 2018 to 2019:
According to App Annie, Garena’s Free Fire finished 2019 as the most downloaded mobile esport title of the year, beating out both PUBG (2nd) and Call of Duty (10th). The game has low graphics requirements and a round can be completed in 10 minutes, compared to PUBG’s potential 30 minute matches. It is worth noting that PUBG mobile consumers outspent Free Fire’s consumers, and PUBG Mobile grossed $8.5M alone on Christmas day (up 431%+ from Christmas 2018).
Germany has approved a dedicated esports visa as a part of its new Skilled Immigration Act, coming into full effect in March, 2020. It is reportedly the first country in the world to have a dedicated visa category for esports. To date, Germany has been a hub for many European esports events yet they didn’t recognize esports as an official job or competition. A few conditions of the visa include a minimum age of 16 years old, a salary, and a confirmation of professional activity.
This is a great step forward and is likely to be replicated around the world in the next few years.
In December, Twitch was being sued for ~$2.8B by the third largest internet company in Russia, Rambler Group, for the alleged illegal broadcast of English Premier League soccer in Russia. The Russian internet company claimed that Twitch violated its exclusive broadcast rights ~36k times, yet Twitch quickly made efforts to remedy the issue and Rambler withdrew the lawsuit. They also want to ban Twitch in Russia, which would mean that YouTube would be a quick runner up.
This showcases a quickly evolving landscape around the complexity of digital media, media rights, live-streaming, and who owns the rights to a viewer. For context, we estimate that Twitch’s revenue is ~$1B, so this lawsuit was for ~3x their annual top line. I imagine that Rambler won’t be the last one to try and take advantage of the large balance sheet behind Twitch: Amazon.