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Kick vs Twitch: How a new rivalry in gaming is redefining streaming

A rivalry between streaming giant Twitch and recently launched Kick could redefine streaming.
A rivalry between streaming giant Twitch and recently launched Kick could redefine streaming. Copyright Unsplash
Copyright Unsplash
By Aylin Elci
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Game livestreaming has long been confined to its own world, but a new €92 million deal might just have rocked the world of streaming to its foundations.

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Twelve years ago, Twitch - a website created for video gamers wishing to livestream their actions - was launched in the United States by two Yale graduates.

It was bought by Amazon for $970 million (€892 million) two years later, and today, it’s the leader in live game streaming.

This week, the gaming world was rocked when two of Twitch’s top users announced they were leaving the website to join Australian rival Kick.

This blow to the Amazon-owned company goes beyond gaming and might be a sign that streaming itself is changing.

How it all kicked off

Kick was only launched in December to compete with Twitch, where moderation is strict and gambling isn’t accepted. Kick, on the other hand, is backed by crypto casino website Stake.

The platform is determined to change gaming and knows Twitch well. Kick’s Head of Strategic Partnerships, Andrew Santamaria, worked at Amazon Games for three years.

As per a recent LinkedIn post written by the executive, Kick treats its streamers as “stars” and has one of the lowest revenue charges among streaming websites. While Twitch works on a 50-50 model for most users, streamers get to keep 95 per cent of their earnings on the Australian alternative.

In an interview with website Digidays, Santamaria explained how Kick is different, saying: “We just offer a slightly more adult and sophisticated experience in livestreaming”.

Gaming kicks streaming into touch

This week, Kick’s desire to bring that “sophisticated experience” has meant going on a spending splurge to snatch two of Twitch’s best streamers; one greater than anything seen before in gaming.

“This is more than most professional athletes and megastars. This is one of the highest deals in entertainment, period”.
Ryan Morrison
Gamer xQc's agent

While streamer Amouranth’s buyout amount was undisclosed, the platform offered gamer xQc - real name Félix Lengyel - a two-year $80 million (€73.5 million) contract that could reach up to $100 million (€92 million).

For the purpose of comparison, music streaming service Spotify offered Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Megan $20 million (€18 million) for their now-axed podcast series Archetypes, and allegedly paid Jeff Rogan $200 million (€180 million) for three and a half years of exclusivity on his podcast.

Lengyel’s $100 million (€92 million) contract is roughly equivalent to that of footballer star Lionel Messi’s recent Inter Miami deal.

Speaking to the New York Times, the gamer’s agent Ryan Morrison said of the biggest livestreaming deal of all time that, “This is more than most professional athletes and megastars. This is one of the highest deals in entertainment, period”.

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