In October 2022, Twitch implemented a series of policy changes targeting streamers creating content for specific types of gaming, leading to a strict gambling ban on the platform. This enforcement came after popular crypto casino streamer Sliker admitted to battling a gambling addiction and owing over $200,000 to various people.
Twitch faced mounting criticism for its relationship with crypto casinos and gambling content in general, leading popular streamers like Pokimane and Mizkif to campaign for a ban. A month later, Twitch announced a complete gambling ban through a new policy.
Livestreaming Platform Wars
With Twitch dominating the livestreaming space for over a decade and YouTube as its only major competitor, Kick emerges as a new challenger. Created by wealthy streamer Trainwreck and backed by investors including crypto casino Stake, Kick has experienced rapid growth, surpassing one million users less than three months after launching.
Many streamers forced off of Twitch have set up channels on Kick, bringing with them numerous followers. Trainwreck promises better creator benefits on Kick compared to Twitch, with 100% of donations going directly to the streamer. However, online gambling content is currently the main driver of Kick’s usage and viewership.
Crypto Casinos and Livestreaming
A majority of streamers transitioning from Twitch to Kick create content based on crypto casinos and regular online casinos. Crypto casinos have gained popularity on livestreaming platforms due to their close relationship with gaming.
Many crypto-native games are rooted in skin gambling, with in-game items primarily from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Crash gambling sites featuring casino crash games exemplify this relationship. As crypto casino sites improve graphics and game mechanics, crash games have become more entertaining to play, stream, and watch. The added dimension of winning and losing money also sets casino content apart from regular gaming, making it an appealing choice for viewers.
As Kick’s recent success largely stems from casino streamers, many have labelled the platform as a gambling platform and criticized its direction. However, the numbers continue to show growth, and Kick’s appeal to both viewers and content creators cannot be denied.
Although Kick still has a long way to go compared to Twitch and its 31 million daily active users, the rapid rise in user numbers demonstrates that there is a demand for such content.
Balancing Growth and Responsibility
While Kick enjoys its early success and rapid user growth, it must also consider the implications of its association with gambling content. As more streamers and viewers flock to the platform, it will be essential for Kick to balance user engagement and responsible content creation, in a discussion that would involve the iGaming industry as well. This will involve addressing potential issues such as gambling addiction and its impact on its community.
In conclusion, Kick’s rise as a Twitch competitor is driven by its willingness to cater to casino and gambling content creators. The platform’s rapid growth and user engagement demonstrate a clear demand for such content, but Kick must also be mindful of the responsibilities associated with hosting gambling-related material. It remains to be seen how the platform will continue to evolve and address these challenges while maintaining its growth trajectory.