Who Wins? Battle of the Live Streaming Platforms for Gamers

Maybe you’re a pro gamer and you want to show off. Or perhaps you’re a decidedly average gamer with a fun personality, and you don’t mind people seeing you die over and over. That works too! You have your streaming gear, your games, and a dream, so you just sign into Twitch and…

Well, do you sign into Twitch? It’s certainly the biggest of the live streaming platforms, but that alone doesn’t make it the right platform for you. Don’t get me wrong, it’s the right platform for a lot of people, but you actually have more options than you think.

I’ve been streaming off and on for a long time, starting maybe a decade ago. Now, you won’t find much of anything under my real name, and it’s going to stay that way. Suffice it to say that I’ve been around, and I’ve tried every major streaming platform. Now I’ve been given the chance to write my opinions down for posterity, such as it is in this industry. (Rest in peace, Mixer. We hardly knew ye.)

My hope is that my experience will give you the tools you need to make your own decision and find the platform and audience that are right for you. Let’s dive into it.

Note: Streaming platforms that are restricted to individual countries, such as Russia or China, are beyond the scope of this article.

What Is Live Streaming?

If you’re familiar with gaming, you can probably skip this section. If you don’t know what I’m talking about… welcome! Nice to meet you! Let me explain a bunch of the stuff I just said.

Live streaming is when you film something happening and broadcast it to the internet while it’s happening. Streaming platforms – the website/app where you put your live video – lets people comment on what you’re doing in a chat box and interact with other viewers. We’re talking about gamers, and live streaming video games. This means streaming whatever is happening on-screen in the game, and sometimes a video feed of the person playing. 

Most streaming platforms have a gaming community, as it’s one of the most popular kinds of live content. It’s also one of the most profitable: Statista projects that the gaming livestream industry will be worth $13.65 billion dollars by the end of 2024, with 1.8 billion users by 2029. Some platforms are better for livestreaming games than others, and that’s what we’re going to talk about here.

What to Look For in a Streaming Platform

There are several things you absolutely want in a streaming platform. Here they are, in no particular order:

    • A sufficiently large user base. The more people are on a streaming site, the more people are likely to watch your stream – depending on what you stream.
    • General ease of use. Streaming can be complicated sometimes. You want to make sure that the content moderation tools, monetization tools, and even the stream dashboard are there to remove roadblocks, not add them. You also don’t want people to get lost on their way to watch your stream, subscribe to your channel, or donate directly to you.
    • Community engagement features. Having a chat box is good, but not the be-all, end-all of audience interaction. Features like channel points and rewards, sound alerts, and even letting the audience do stuff that affects your game are all great ways to help people stay engaged.
    • Monetization that makes sense. If you plan to use streaming as a way to generate income, then you want the money to be worth your while.
    • Clear guidelines for content. You want to be absolutely sure that what you’re broadcasting is permitted and monetizable. More than a few creators have run afoul of badly explained and inconsistently enforced content rules, and lost their livelihoods as a result.

One more thing that isn’t necessarily essential, but is still nice to have, is widespread platform compatibility. You want your viewers to be able to watch your stream on their computers, phones, tablets, fridge screens (remember those?), and smart TVs (they can even protect themselves while they’re watching with a VPN for smart TV or consoles).

Not all streaming sites have apps available for every device – heck, even Twitch doesn’t have a proper app for Roku. Most platforms are at least available through browsers.

Important: Ask Yourself Why You’re Streaming

Before you decide on a streaming platform, there’s one thing you have to know: why you want to stream in the first place. All the information in the world won’t mean much if you don’t know how it applies to you, and what you want to accomplish.

There are several basic reasons why people might want to start streaming:

    • To have fun
    • To provide a little extra marketing for your business
    • To build a community
    • To make money directly from streaming

Let’s dig into them a little more. 

Streaming for Fun

Plenty of people stream for the sheer joy of it. So many activities are better when shared, and streaming is a way to engage in your hobby with your friends, even when they can’t hop into the game themselves. It’s easy, too. You can stream your games without any fancy software, just using Nvidia or AMD’s built-in streaming functionality. If you stream whatever you’re doing in real life, your phone will do the trick.

If you’re streaming for fun, by all means do it on whichever site or app is convenient and comfortable for you. It helps, of course, if you stream on the same site where your friends prefer to watch their live content.

Streaming for Marketing

Plenty of businesses, both big and small, use streaming as a way to augment their marketing efforts. Streams are a great way to answer customer questions, provide demonstrations of new products, and showcase your expertise in your field. In this case, a livestream serves much the same purpose as a YouTube channel or company blog.

Of course, you have to adjust your format for the audience. Dry press releases don’t make a good stream, and gamers will have to find games that fit their customer base.

You’ll also want to specifically stream wherever your core customer base hangs out. In other words, if you already have a substantial fanbase on one social media platform, do your streaming there if you can.

Streaming to Build a Community

Some streams are specifically designed to help build a community around an idea, a person, or a brand. Obviously, community-building ties in to every other point on this list, as it can help with marketing, making money, and even just streaming for fun. However, there are times when building a community is an end in itself.

Some people stream to bring more people into causes they’re passionate about, such as video game accessibility. Others use streams to communicate with people who share their favorite hobby, be it knitting, collecting, woodworking, programming, or anything else. When you get a bunch of people communicating with you and each other in the chat, it’s like you’re surrounded by friends, and that’s a heady feeling.

(It’s also a somewhat deceptive feeling, at times, but that’s a different topic altogether.)

This article is about gamers. If you want to build a community around gaming, or your personal gaming brand, most of the sites listed in the article have a place for you. Indeed, you might go the increasingly popular route of streaming to multiple platforms at once.

Streaming to Make Money


Or do, but you really can’t depend on income from streaming alone to pay all your bills. Only the very top streamers on any given platform actually make enough money to justify spending all their efforts on livestreams. You need a lot of people to be watching you at the same time to make significant amounts of money.

The fine people at StreamYard and FinanceBuzz put together the following numbers to illustrate my point.

You might think, “Oh, I only need 1,000 people to watch me at a time?”

Listen, you need to understand that this is a lot more than most people manage, even after streaming on Twitch or other platforms for years. Yes, some people get lucky, and their stream takes off quickly. Others go for the better part of a decade and never break more than 50 concurrent viewers

Many mid-level streamers report that they make the bulk of their money from avenues outside of streaming, for example, from merchandise, direct donations via other platforms, and sponsorships.

So. Many. Sponsorships.

While you can make money from streaming, don’t quit your day job until that money really starts rolling in. Even then, remember that you will have good months and bad months, and donations to streamers are one of the first things to take a hit when times are tough. Never put all your eggs in one basket, and make sure you have other avenues of income.

Again, I’ll bring up the option of merchandising. A lot of streamers use products like t-shirts, hoodies, hats, mugs, and so on to augment their streaming revenue. Sometimes they do limited runs, and sometimes they do print-on-demand stuff. Creators with sponsors might partner with those same companies to create branded merchandise as well. GamerSupps lets creators design their own flavor of energy drink, for example.

Some streamers offer other incentives like extra content or access to a special Discord server for people who subscribe via Patreon or similar sites.

But which platform is the best for making money? Each has financial advantages and disadvantages, but there is one right answer: the platform where your audience happens to be.

Battle of the Platforms

Once you have the answer to the question of why you want to stream, it’s time to tackle the platforms themselves. Let’s take a look at eight of the biggest platforms and who they might be best for. 


What can I say about Twitch that hasn’t already been said a thousand times? As the largest platform (outside China at any rate), Twitch is usually the first choice for streamers… or at least the first platform they try. And I certainly don’t blame them, as Twitch is, for many, the easiest platform on which to find and build an audience.

Information from DemandSage tells us exactly why:

Mind you, while Twitch has the largest potential audience, you’re also competing with the largest group of live streamers. Factor this into your plans.

Standout features:

Most of the features found on other streaming platforms were invented by Twitch. If you see a streaming-specific feature on another site, chances are that Twitch had it first.


    • Largest user base of active viewers (outside of China, possibly).
    • Large feature set, including a fairly robust set of moderation tools, and the largest collection of third-party platform integrations.
    • Native apps for most devices and platforms, or at least browser access.


    • The revenue split keeps getting worse. It is slightly better now than previously – for years, people who reached Affiliate level got a 50/50 split on income generated by Twitch. Partners got 70/30.
    • Unclear and constantly changing guidelines, often draconian rules. At one point, the platform tried to ban having your sponsors’ logos on your stream.
    • It seems like it’s losing the goodwill earned over the years. Common complaints include slow responses to harassment issues, inconsistent enforcement of policies, favoritism, and more.

Recommended for: hobbyists and pro streamers alike.


Kick is probably the second most popular streaming platform at present, and is definitely generating a large amount of buzz. There’s a heavy emphasis on gaming streams for the most part, but the site also features an assortment of Just Chatters and gambling-focused streams. Yeah, that’s a thing.

The platform is growing rapidly, with several large creators who were formerly Twitch-exclusive crossing over. Those who haven’t left Twitch completely often multistream to Kick as well.

Standout features:

Familiarity. I’m being quite literal – Kick has the same basic features as Twitch, as well as a very similar UI. Its feature parity probably isn’t that far off. 

Also, Kick has a 95% revenue split in favor of the streamer, which is currently the best deal you’re going to get.


    • 95% split in favor of the streamer. This is about the best deal you’re going to get on any streaming platform.
    • Rapidly growing user base.
    • Rapidly growing feature set.


    • Fewer features in comparison to Twitch. As mentioned, this probably won’t last too long.
    • Moderation so far has left something to be desired. There was one well-documented incident of alleged harassment and solicitation live on-stream, where none of the moderators intervened.
    • You might not feel comfortable if you’re not okay with promoting gambling. Kick is owned and operated by Stake, an online casino. The site was created after Twitch tightened its own rules for gambling-focused streams.

Recommended for: hobbyists and pro streamers alike.

YouTube Live

YouTube is massive, with millions of users looking for something to watch at any given time. If you’ve got a YouTube channel, you can easily request access to the live streaming features, set up, and get going. With some of the best video delivery tech in existence, YouTube isn’t  just a viable platform, it’s an exciting platform.

If only they could nail down how streaming integrates with the platform. See the “cons” below.

Standout features:

YouTube has the best tech for streaming in general, including AV1 encoding (this basically means that you can pack a higher quality video stream into less bandwidth, or a smaller file if you’re recording). Also, your VODs get stored there forever by default.


    • Your streams are tied into your YouTube channel. Subscribers who sign up to see every update from your channel will see when you’re live, and will be able to interact with your streams and VODs in much the same way they’d interact with any of your normal videos.
    • Great stream quality. YouTube was the first major platform to adopt AV1 encoding for streams, and it offers better bitrates.
    • 70/30 revenue split in favor of the streamer.


    • Your streams are tied into your YouTube channel (there downsides to this too). For example, YouTubers are usually looking for pre-recorded content, not live content, so you might not get the best engagement rates.
    • There are fewer community interaction features. There’s nothing like channel points, for example.
    • The algorithm might penalize you. Here’s the thing: YouTube doesn’t like it when you try to do more than one type of content on your channel. While the act of streaming itself won’t impact your reach, mixing content forms might.

Recommended for: dedicated YouTubers.

Facebook Gaming

Facebook is another platform with billions of users, creating plenty of room to grow for a streamer who happens to catch people’s attention. If your audience is looking at their feed all day, chances are they’ll catch you live, and the value of that cannot be underestimated. If you’re already building a community around a Facebook page, so much the better.

That being said, Facebook is another platform where the percentage of people who actually want to interact with live content is lower than you might hope. Direct monetization of your streams is also very hard to do, as you’ll see below.

Standout features:

Facebook community integration. That is the main selling point here.


    • Access to Facebook user base. Facebook may not be “cool” in the US and a few other countries anymore, but in the rest of the world? Still massive.
    • Multiple avenues of monetization:
      • Subscriptions give you 100% of the revenue.
      • Viewers can give you Stars, each of which is equivalent to 1 cent US on your end.
      • The Performance Bonus program gives you bonus income based on how well your content… performs.
      • Ads in your livestreams provide income using the CPM model. You can make $2–5 USD per 1,000 views on an ad, depending on where you live and the kind of content you make.


    • Monetization is a pain. To qualify for in-stream ads, you need to have 10,000 (!) followers and 600,000 minutes of video viewed in the last 60 days, with 60,000 of those minutes coming from live videos. You also need to have at least five active videos on your page, and three of them have to be from live streams. In other words, you are forced to create both kinds of content. Additionally, eligibility for subscriptions requires you to live in a qualifying country, be part of the Level Up program, and have 250 returning viewers on the regular.
    • It’s not used as much in some places. The popularity of Facebook varies wildly from country to country, so you’ll want to make sure that your target audience actually uses Facebook.
    • There aren’t as many streaming-focused features. Facebook might have a variety of ways to monetize your stream, but interaction is mostly limited to chat and donating Stars.

Recommended for: Facebook-centric communities, community-building.


Full disclosure: LiveSpace is my personal favorite service on this list, and my primary streaming platform. Why? It’s not the biggest platform, or the one that (currently) has the most features, but it has the coolest plan for the future.

See, LiveSpace is being built as a more comprehensive platform than Twitch or Kick, for example. They want users to have the option of running their entire web presence from one place, and they’re pulling it off.

Standout features:

The one-stop shop for a streamer’s web presence. Want to post updates to your followers? There’s a social media-style feed. Want a Linktree-style page for your social media links? You get one with every account. Do you sell merchandise via Fourthwall? You can display your latest products on your page.

Also, cover artists rejoice! LiveSpace has the performance rights for music from the ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and GMR organizations. You can’t use the original songs, but you can sing them yourself without fear.


    • 85/15 revenue split. This isn’t the best deal you’ll find, but it’s sustainable for the platform. That’s important, as LiveSpace isn’t funded by a separate corporate entity like Kick.
    • Features are being added rapidly. Every month brings something new. One of my favorite features that’s been added is the free Linktree-style page that comes with every account.
    • Development is guided in large part by the community. You can hop into the Discord server for LiveSpace and directly ask the admins for the features you want. The devs are communicative and responsive.
    • Moderation is strict, but largely fair. You don’t have to be worried about being banned for every little thing, but there’s no tolerance for hate speech or harassment.


    • It doesn’t have the largest user base. LiveSpace is a new platform, plain and simple. It’s growing quickly, but it’s not quite at the “millions upon millions of users” stage.
    • It’s still a bit feature-light, in open beta. As an example, there is no channel points system, API access is currently limited, and there aren’t any categories for individual games, just a “Gaming” category. That last issue will soon be remedied, as individual game categories are planned.
    • Social posting features are still rather limited.

Recommended for: hobbyists and pros.


Trovo is an interesting one. Its feature set is largely the same as what you’d find on Twitch or Kick, but Trovo is focused on having its own identity. Instead of buying bits to give to the streamer, viewers buy mana. Mana lets people “cast spells,” which can translate to posting specific emotes in the chat, or even executing commands on your stream.

They can also buy Boost Rockets, Fortune Spins, and so many other things that all equate to revenue coming the streamer’s way. It’s very pay-to-play on the viewer’s end of things. Streamers can even be automatically assigned to “battle” each other, and the winner is determined by whose audience spends the most mana.

I think. (You’ll see what I mean.)

Standout features:

Trovo is very specifically designed to get people interacting with and spending money on your stream. Frankly, the platform is almost aggressive about it.


    • There are advanced community interaction features and monetization options.
    • The basic streaming features are familiar, and it’s simple to get started.


    • It doesn’t have the largest user base.
    • Features are confusingly named. I’m honestly not sure what a lot of the things you can buy on Trovo do, and the documentation doesn’t make it any more clear. And let’s be clear about this, I’ve used Trovo and my experience didn’t help me understand anything.
    • Its 50/50 revenue split is no better than Twitch.

Recommended for: pro streamers.


Rumble is an alternative to not only other live streaming platforms, but also to YouTube. It’s a classic YouTube clone, essentially, with a live streaming component so you can do both in one place. But that’s not what makes it really interesting…

The fascinating thing is that the whole platform was built around helping you monetize your content from the beginning. See, Rumble provides a way for you to license your content out to other creators, so you can make money from the things that other people make with your videos or stream VODs.

If you’re looking for a video and streaming platform with the aim of making money from your content, Rumble just might be the place for you. And then it might not. See, Rumble has a big emphasis on free speech, and there’s little in the way of content moderation. Your content could end up sitting next to something truly objectionable.

Standout features:

The system to license your content for use by others provides an extra revenue stream that you may not have considered before.


    • Great monetization features.
    • Heavy emphasis on free speech.


    • Its streaming features are a bit bare-bones.
    • Moderation may leave something to be desired. The emphasis on free speech means that almost anything goes, so there is absolutely content on this platform that many would find objectionable. If that’s your thing, the audience for that content is certainly there.

Recommended for: people looking to license their content out.

TikTok, Instagram, X (Twitter)

I’ve grouped these platforms together because they all serve pretty much the same function: live video on what is normally a social media platform designed for short-form content.

Each of these platforms offers ways to talk to your audience live, and popular influencers have been known to make livestreams part of their content strategy. However, they usually focus more on pre-recorded content.


    • Instant access to your community on these platforms. It’s basically like Facebook, only with fewer options for monetization.


    • People don’t usually go to these platforms for live content, they come to scroll.
    • Streaming features are bare-bones, and not always easily accessible.
    • TikTok in particular allegedly suppresses livestreams unless the content is being streamed from one of their own apps, whether on mobile or desktop. OBS (Open Broadcast Studio – an app for streaming from your PC) users in particular report seeing better stats when they use TikTok’s LIVE Studio app instead.
    • Twitter doesn’t give you any of the more useful streaming and video content tools unless you pay for a Premium account. These tools include more detailed analytics, the ability to upload longer videos, the Media Studio, Ad revenue sharing, and more.

Pros and Cons of Multistreaming

Even if all you care about is the size of a platform’s user base, you don’t have to limit yourself to Twitch. Yes, most live content is streamed on Twitch, as the numbers from bloggingwizard.com below would indicate, but it’s also where you’ll have the most competition.

If you really want to reach the widest possible audience, you shouldn’t limit yourself to just one platform.

Multistreaming, which Twitch calls “simulcasting” for some reason I can’t fathom, is when you stream on multiple platforms at once. This used to be a less viable option for streamers who used Twitch as a primary platform, because it was banned. However, it’s now permitted… as long as you don’t combine your Twitch chat feed with the chat feeds from other platforms on your stream. 

Since streamers usually show their chat feeds on stream, this seems like a silly limitation, but probably has something to do with Twitch not wanting to be held liable for broadcasting what people say on other platforms. In any case, you can at least show off your gaming skills to as many communities as you want now.


    • You can reach a wider audience. The increased brand recognition alone can make multistreaming worth it.
    • You can establish a presence elsewhere in case your primary platform dies or bans you for no reason.
    • It’s a good way to increase your potential earnings.


    • Multistreaming is either more technically demanding, or more expensive. This depends on whether you set it up manually, or use a re-streaming service. Either way, it’s a bit more work.
    • You have to manage multiple communities at once. If things are going well, you have to monitor several chat feeds at once.

So Which Platform Is the Best?

As I said before, this all depends on what you want to do, why you’re doing it, and where your friends or community hang out. I have no doubt that many people, even after reading this article, will just go straight to Twitch, and I can hardly blame them. No matter what other platforms I might personally like, I usually find myself multi-streaming to Twitch as well.

Just remember that you do, in fact, have plenty of options. Even if you go with Twitch or Kick to start with, keep an eye on all those other platforms out there. Even if it’s not worth the trouble to switch, multistreaming presents amazing possibilities.

Now get out there and have fun. May you make more money than I ever have from streaming. Shouldn’t be too hard…

Leave a comment

Write a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*