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TikTok takes a swipe at Twitch

TikTok to make a bigger push to live streaming games

TikTok, the short form video sharing app, is rolling out live streaming tools which make it easier for gamers to share their streams to the platform. This could very well be a move to try pull the current gaming audience focused on Twitch – which has been under fire recently for their lack of assistance in stomping out racism, sexism and bigotry on the platform (the irony of TikTok trying to capitalise on this isn’t lost on me).

TikTok has allowed live streaming for some time, but they’ve also got the option to generate a stream key and an RTMP address in the TikTok app which you can then use with a streaming tool like OBS. This past weekend, my friend Nick tweeted out that he’d been invited to TikTok’s Stream-key based live streaming service, which wasn’t open to all creators. IF you have a TikTok account you could watch his live stream here. Else he posted a screen grab on Instagram which gave an idea of what the stream would look like:

tiktok gaming stream

Twitch has had a pretty bad time of it recently. It started with a host of back lash after the Hot Tub Meta came into effect. This is something I spoke about at length on an episode of Tech Girl Talks, so rather than rehash that conversation, below are two embedded links to the Spotify and Apple Podcasts service, so you can give it a listen:

When the brouhaha around that died down a new drama hit the platform: racist groups began hate raids on creators of colour and marginalised groups, sending bot accounts into select streams to spew vile commentary and racist remarks. The streaming platform has been criticised for not offering adequate assistance to stop this behaviour.

While Twitch remains the primary platform to access live streamed video game content. TikTok hasn’t exactly been quiet about the importance they put on gaming. TikTok has regularly been used to share game highlights and short format clips. The new CEO Kevin Mayer has made it clear that one of his goals is to expand gaming on the platform. TikTok is owned by Bytedance, which has already set up a new division specifically focused on gaming. So it makes sense for TikTok to incorporate the live streaming element.

HOWEVER, TikTok isn’t exactly a “better” option that Twitch. The platform reportedly runs rampant with racism, sexism and bigotry, going relatively unchecked. The algorithm has been criticised in the past, as well, with reports of content featuring people of colour, antiracism messages and plus sized models being downgraded and sometimes even removed:

Is there something wrong with TikTok’s algorithm?

The question that only time will be able to tell is: will the grass be greener for streamers who choose to migrate from Twitch to TikTok? Or will it be the same stench of manure as it curdles between your toes that we’ve come to expect from the audiences that seem to frequent these platforms? 

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