Twitch Streaming vs YouTube Let’s Play Industry

For a long time, YouTube gamers recording themselves playing games was a dominant way of making money and fame. Today, trend is changing and many gaming personalities are moving to Twitch streaming. For example, one of the successful Let’s Players Ray Narvaez Jr. has switched to full-time streaming on Twitch platfrom, and his case is not a rare situation.

Is There a Difference Between Twitch Streaming and Let’s Plays?

The main difference between these two forms of content is that Let’s Plays are recorded in advance. Let’s Play video provides a limited interaction in forms of comments. It is absolutely not the same as chatting and having online streaming experience. Twitch streaming happens live and doesn’t involve editing after the fact. This creates surprise effect: you never know what is going to happen. Another thing that viewers love about Twitch streaming is the feeling of belonging to the same community and the moment: they are watching a game live with hundreds of like-minded people at that single moment. At the same time, Let’s Plays have its own benefits: this content is more curated without dead air and useless info. You can watch it at any time you want. For instance, you can watch Mario game as a Let’s Play video where control switches between two players every 5 seconds, and it will be interesting. But if you see the same moment live when people are managing the same jump in real time, it will be more exciting. The point is that both Twitch streaming and Let’s Plays have their strengths and limitations, but there are some other reasons why many talented and already known gamers are moving towards Twitch live streaming. And here they are:

Twitch Streaming Is More Financially Stable

There are two main ways to earn money with YouTube. First thing is selling ads. The amount of revenue depends on the CPM that your ad sales group sets, marketing conditions, and your viewership. CPM model is volatile, and the money from it usually comes in a recession. You can await big revenues only if you are a big streamer with millions of subscribers. The other cash source is YouTube Red - a special system when subscribers pay for not seeing ads and their money are distributed among YouTube content creators. But, the way of revenue distribution is rather odd and depends on how many minutes of your footage were actually watched as a percentage of all videos present on YouTube. As you can see, both ways of revenue are not stable and requires a lot of efforts. With Twitch, everything is not as easy as it seems, but the situation with earnings is more clear and predictable. When you get partnered (with minimum level of popularity - 500 viewers), you can сount on some ad revenue. On Twitch the amount of ad revenue is rather small, but stable. It’s because viewers only see one ad in the beginning of a multi-stream, and the CPM is very low. The main sources of revenue for Twitch streamers are donations and subscriptions. With random donations, it’s impossible to build a business. One day your fan can send you $700, another day you may be left without any profit. So, it’s hard to pay the bills if count only donations. Subscriptions are what can make Twitch streaming go from hobby to a lucrative business. The difference between YouTube Red and Twitch streaming subscriptions is that you know how many people are subbing. Recurring payments are usually stable, and if you have, for example, 50 subscribers one month, you are likely to have the same amount the next. This enables you to estimate budget and feel more confident about the future. YouTube Red depends on the amount of Red subscribers  and how much of your footage they are actually watched. It’s harder to predict.

Copyright Claims Cause More Problems on YouTube

When a person or a company sees the content in your video and says that it belongs to them, but it’s okay to keep it up in case you share ad revenue - this is a copyright claim. If the video doesn’t run ads, but has been copyright claimed, YouTube will force ads on the video to give revenue to the offended person. More serious case is when a third party organizes a copyright strike and asks YouTube to remove your account and video from the site. If you get 3 such warnings, you can lose your account and features (custom thumbnails, videos that are over a certain length) and, what is more fatal, you can lose the ability to live stream. The problem is that copyright claim can be fake, which is true in half of cases. And while YouTube defines if the claim is valid, you are not receiving your commissions during 90 days. Thus, during 3 months you won’t be able to pay your bills and stream full-time. Many of copyright claims and strikes are pure provocations. For example, a famous gaming company Sega issued  copyright strikes on Shining Force videos in order to make their official trailer to appear the first in search results. This unfair Sega’s campaign “killed” a lot of YouTube accounts to gain their own interests. With legitimate cases, the situation is not always clear as well. If you stream games with licensed soundtracks, then be ready to receive claims from the artists or people representing them. The main copyright problem with YouTube is that this is a general video hosting created not only for streaming and games, that’s why having such strict and unique rules is necessary for them, but not always beneficial for content creators. Twitch also have copyright limitations, including prohibition of the licensed soundtracks during streams. But, streamers just mute the VODs of streams and continue their gameplay. Moreover, on Twitch you can not worry about losing your ad revenue, since you mostly rely on subs and donations. Probably, the situation can change in the future, but for now streaming games on Twitch is more nerves- and time-saving.

Twitch Chat Is More Manageable and Interactive Than YouTube Comments

Although both Twitch chat and YouTube comments can sometimes be pure cesspools, in case of Twitch streaming, there is more chance to control community and moderate chat content. Viewers tend to watch a particular streamer they like who has good moderators and manages chat traffic successfully. Though many large streamers still have abusing and garbage content in the chat, this tendency is not prevailing. On YouTube, you are not allowed to delegate the content cleaning to other users. The only way out is curating YouTube comments by hand or turn them off completely. And what is more hurtful is that the more videos you publish and the more popularity achieve, the more jerks come to your channel, while your resources to struggle with them remain the same.


Both Twitch streaming and YouTube Let’s Play have their pros and cons: choose the one which suits your needs and content vision most. However, in case you want streaming become your main and the only job, Twitch streaming seems to be more welcoming and easier to manage than YouTube.