Twitch, a popular video game streaming service, announced today that it has raised a $20 million Series C round led by Thrive Capital. WestSummit Capital participated in the funding, as did, notably, well-known game publisher Take-Two Interactive.
According to its release, Twitch currently sees 45 million monthly unique viewers on its service. Twitch allows gamers to stream their play, which might sound niche, but as competitive gaming grows in popularity, the company has been riding its wave.
Tournaments for larger titles, particularly League of Legends, Dota 2 and Starcraft 2, can attract six-figure audiences, all streamed by Twitch. The content that Twitch dishes out live, and serves later via VOD, hits a demographic that advertisers covet: Young males with disposable incomes.
For notes on scale: League of Legends is currently holding its Season 3 finals. I tuned in briefly to watch a semi-final match between Chinese and Korean teams. I was among 450,000 others watching the players wage war on each other. The grand finals are expected to attract millions of concurrent viewers.
Twitch announced two deals this summer that should expand its streaming and viewing ranks. The company has landed integration in the coming Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles. Gamers will be able to quickly stream their console play, adding two platforms to Twitch’s overall content mix.
The company needs more servers. Twitch’s key weakness in its life thus far has been uneven global performance. Sending high-definition video around the world in bulk is not a simple task, and Twitch has been occasionally swamped by demand. The new $20 million is partially to grow Twitch’s infrastructure.
I spoke to the company, and they were blunt in that they expect the coming console integration to grow their viewership, and for that they need more silicon and iron. They now have the cash needed.
Something that we don’t know: Twitch’s financial performance. The company has been more than happy to share its growing viewer figures, but hasn’t said much if anything about its business operations. Twitch noted that its new funding will support its internal sales team. How much those folks are selling will hopefully shake loose soon.
Finally, Twitch’s recent growth in viewership is due in no small part to the massive success of League of Legends as an eSport. Though, without services such as Twitch, League of Legends couldn’t be an eSport. The thing to keep in mind is that if one or more key Twitch titles lose interest, Twitch could see its growth rates hampered. But with coming console support, it appears that Twitch should have no trouble setting new traffic records by the end of the year.