Here's how YouTube Gaming can outplay Twitch

4. Harness the power of HTML5

At one time, Twitch used Adobe Flash, a program which can be volatile to say the least. (I've lost track of how many times Twitch streams have crashed on my PC.) An up-and-coming streamer who uses Twitch to build an elaborate fictional universe for their viewers went into a bit more detail.

"Flash is a resource hog and Twitch reps have said they're working on moving to HTML5, but time will tell when it comes out," the streamer said.

In the time since this interview that time has come, and according to a blog post on Twitch's website, that transition is happening.

Regardless, YouTube Gaming already has a leg up in this regard. YouTube runs HTML5 by default in supported browsers, having dropped Flash in January this year. As we wrote at the time: "[HTML5] allows YouTube to dynamically alter video quality to suit the bandwidth available. And that means less time watching the buffering screen." It also means YouTube can "use the VP9 codec (which enables 4K video at 60fps), as well as [enable] faster video load times and WebRTV support for easy sharing of videos and video broadcasts."

If YouTube Gaming can fully harness the power of HTML5 for its new streaming endeavor, Twitch will have a difficult time keeping up.

5. Spread the wealth

A lot of people stream occasionally in their spare time, but there are very few folks who can make their hobby even slightly profitable. More money for streamers would mean more people streaming - and more viewers coming to watch.

Many Twitch streamers offer paid channel subscriptions (the revenue of which is split with Twitch), and get a small take of ad revenue, but some feel the terms aren't the best.

"Twitch and Hitbox are both 50% on [subscription revenue splits], and it'd be nice if they pushed it to 70/30," says a hobbyist streamer I surveyed. "[That way] more people could do this as a thing … since [the streaming services] provide 99% of the service free/just on ad revenue, it always felt greedy on their part, [but] no one has really tried to up-heave that."

YouTube Gaming

Money talks, as they say

So is Twitch just being greedy, or does it need the money to run its business?

When asked to comment on whether it would ever consider changing its policy to better reward streamers and potentially attract even more on-screen talent, Twitch PR replied, "We don't share details about our revenue share with broadcasters. Since the success of Twitch is based on the success of our broadcasters, enabling them to generate more income is always top of mind."

"This is why we partnered with Teespring earlier this year," they continued. "Now all of our Partnered broadcasters can sell merchandise directly through their Twitch dashboard in a very turnkey fashion while receiving the majority of the profit from the sales."

If YouTube Gaming could negotiate a higher rate for its streamers and stick to that message over the next year, it's possible Twitch could start losing those streamers - and viewers - to the approaching challenger.

But will it be enough?

Despite the possibilities for the upstart YouTube Gaming, among almost everyone I surveyed, there was a general feeling that migrating from Twitch would be a major hassle.

"Twitch already has a lot of services that you don't see on other sites/see others mimicking like subs, IRC chat, emotes, etc.," notes a major streaming personality. "It's tricky, because I already feel like Twitch has what I need to do what I enjoy, and YouTube's service has a lot of catching up to do."

This apathy towards switching sides is understandable: When you're entrenched with thousands of followers and subscribers, you risk alienating your audience if you move.

"It would take quite a bit for me to seriously consider switching away from Twitch, since I have a pretty good-sized personal following there," says the marathon planner.

Ultimately, though, most feel that another player in the video game streaming arena is a good thing.

"I'm planning to wait and see - if nothing else I'd like to see Twitch face some real competition, since usually the consumer wins in the end," says the marathon organizer.

"Honestly, perhaps Google has something that I just don't know about," says the speedrunner. "If they have a surprise up their sleeves, [that's] awesome."