Twitch, owned by the eCommerce behemoth Amazon, is a video streaming platform that allows gamers around the world to connect, chat, and stream their gaming sessions with fans and fellow enthusiasts. These days, the gaming industry is flocking by the boatloads to Discord, and its user base grew by threefolds since last year — all thanks to the games like Fortnite.
Both Discord and Twitch were designed from the ground up for the gamers. Though Discord entered the market late, it forced Twitch to add new features to catch up with its newest rival.
Discord’s recent update packs new plans and a global game store (beta) to stay ahead in the race and attract more users.
As a gamer, I like both Discord and Twitch. While I have compared the latter with other VoIP/chat apps before, let’s see how these two niche streaming apps fare against each other.
1. Looks Matter
To me, a good interface that just works out of the box and doesn’t require me to spend too much time figuring out the different features is more desirable. Both Twitch and Discord have done a fantastic job on the front end. Twitch makes it easy to discover and join new channels and players who stream particular games.
Discord is more focused on keeping you updated with your friends and what they are doing on different servers and channels. It acts as a hub making it easy to begin chatting with friends who are part of different channels, servers, and even platforms.
Discord is built for something more than a chat client for gamers. You can create a server and then create channels for different niche topics with members participating in the discussions. On the other hand, gamers use Twitch to live stream their gameplay, interact with the audience, and then some more.
Both Twitch and Discord will share your data with law enforcement agencies and advertisers where they deem so fit.
Discord’s stance on encryption is pretty straight-forward. Declined. After a user suggested that Discord should implement WhisperSystems Encryption, the feature request was declined. What’s more? They don’t have this in their to-do list either.
Instead, Discord maintains that they have implemented SSL and voice encryption using Libsodium, a portable and easy to use encryption tech available on GitHub. Needless to say, users are not happy with the decision.
This is not to say that Twitch is any better in this respect. In fact, there was no mention of encryption anywhere when Twitch announced Rooms, a place to chat and connect with your followers and fans.
It is not clear as to why this feature was omitted from both the platforms, but the users are clearly not happy about it.
4. Subscription vs. Plan Model
If you want to make money from your live gaming sessions streams by inviting your fans, answering their queries, and showing them a bit of a walk through in a game, then Twitch is the best option.
Advertising is the apparent way to make money. Big gaming corporations are eager to tap into this niche market with massive potential. They will show ads in your channel during your live streams, and as users interact with these ads, you will make money.
You can add affiliate links to games or other products for your fans/subscribers to purchase using those links. That will earn you sales commission on every purchase made.
Owners of Twitch channels with large fan followings can get merchandise and gaming accessories from sponsors for free or sell their customized merchandise. Then there is an age-old donation option for users who want you to continue with more live gaming streams.
The last but the best way to make money is by joining the Twitch Partner Program. Subscription plans begin at $4.99 and go all the way up to $24.99. Subscribers and non-subscribers both can buy Bits while you are streaming to cheer you.
Each bit costs $0.01 that can be used to buy emotes and badges to show support, and cheer the gamer, in real time while you are streaming gameplay. Just type ‘cheer’ in the chat window and select how many Bits you want to give away.
Discord offers no such way to make money to the gamers. The only option I could find was a donation bot, and that seems unpopular. On the other hand, Discord has plans to make money for themselves.
Discord provides a Classic plan that will cost you $4.99/month and increase your file upload size from 8MB (free account) to 50MB. You get customized GIFs and emojis pack, and a special profile badge for showing support.
In August, Discord launched a new game store that will give you access to more than $1000 worth of games, at the time of writing this article, in the Nitro plan. That will cost you $9.99/month plus you get everything in the Classic plan.
There is also a new Game Store where you can buy new games using your credit card. It is still in beta stage and available to select (lucky) users.
5. Common Features
Discord has channels that house themselves neatly under servers. Think of each server as a massive building and channels as the rooms in that building. That makes it extremely easy for users to get the lay of the land.
Taking a leaf out of Discord’s design, Twitch recently launched Rooms (channels) that you can set to either private or public. You can discuss anything with fans and users here. In Discord, you can create a private channel inside a server by changing its Permission settings and assigning roles to users.
Both Twitch and Discord support voice and video calls. However, Twitch mobile apps don’t support that feature at the moment. It’s only available on web and desktop apps. Considering how most people would rather use mobile apps for making calls, Twitch should take care of it.
You can live stream your gaming sessions, interact and chat with fans, members, and subscribers in real time and help them conquer new frontiers.
Both Twitch and Discord have a game store. However, Twitch seems to be ahead at the moment with an extensive selection of titles. Discord has just opened its shop and might take a while to build its library.
6. Uncommon Features
As mentioned earlier, Discord mobile apps allow you to make voice and video calls while Twitch only makes this feature available on the web and desktop version which is limiting in my opinion as a mobile gamer.
One major difference is the way Twitch allows content partners to make money with ads, donations, and subscriptions plans, again as discussed in detail above.
Discord aims to be a hub of all gaming and social media activity, which is why it allows you to connect your Steam, Spotify, Facebook, and even Twitch accounts. That is one reason why many gamers are using both Twitch and Discord in harmony to get the best of both the worlds.
Discord vs. Twitch
I believe Discord is leading the race in some key areas. It offers a better UI with more control over users. You can make voice/video calls on mobile apps too.
Twitch is more suitable for those who want to make money from live streams. It is also perfectly fine if you use Discord and Twitch together. A lot will depend on who or which channels do you want to follow and where are your favorite gamers more active.
Next up: Heard of Telegram? Want to know which is a better chat and VoIP app between Discord and Telegram, and which one is more secure? Check out the link below to find out.
Last updated on 13 July, 2021
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