When people think “bandwidth hog,” services like Netflix and YouTube often come first to mind. While those services still dominate a plurality of Internet traffic each day, relative newcomer Twitch is growing rapidly. The video game streaming service reported this week that they now host more that one million monthly active broadcasters, and a report covered by The Wall Street Journal revealed that Twitch has moved into fourth place in terms of peak Internet traffic in the United States.
Founded in 2011 by Justin.tv’s Justin Kan and Emmett Shear, Twitch sought to take Justin.tv’s popular live streaming model and adapt it specifically to video games. With support for Windows and consoles, Twitch allows anyone to easily stream live video of their in-game exploits, both for competitive e-Sports purposes as well as for casual gaming.
The service has proven to be extremely popular among gamers, with well over 35 million unique viewers per month watching an average of an hour and a half per day. The integration of the service into the PlayStation 4 (and soon for the Xbox One, as well) has given it even more legs for its advertising-based revenue.
While not every service can be directly compared due to the nature of the content they serve, analytics firm Deep Field calculates that Twitch consumes 1.8 percent of Internet traffic in the U.S. during peak hours. That’s more than Hulu, Facebook, Valve’s Steam, Amazon, Pandora, and Tumbler. Only Apple, Google, and Netflix hold larger shares, although all three are considerably larger, with Twitch representing the top of the “second tier” of traffic sources.
Twitch VP of Marketing Matthew DiPeitro described the surge to onGamers:
It’s wonderful validation that Twitch is now officially playing in the big leagues. Apple, Hulu, Valve, Netflix, Amazon and the like are awesome company to keep. Of course [the high traffic usage] is something our engineers have known for some time, since they are actively scaling our infrastructure to meet the intense demand growth curve. We’re laser-focused on that which is no small task!
To celebrate Twitch’s success, the company also announced that it’s changing names to reflect what it sees as the future. Starting today, parent company Justin.tv, Inc. will be known as “Twitch Interactive, Inc.” Twitch CEO Emmett Shear explained:
As Twitch has continued to grow as the leader in the video game streaming space, it has eclipsed our previous initiatives. Given our total focus on serving the gaming community, it makes sense to reposition it as our primary brand. Seven years ago, Justin.tv pioneered live video on the Web, and while I remain proud of all the work we did under that name, I’m even more excited about our new future as Twitch.
Justin.tv will continue to operate without any immediate changes, while the Twitch community waits anxiously for Xbox One support, which is rumored to arrive in the first half of this year.