MLG.tv: Growth Trend or Fad Platform
MLG.tv: A Growth Trend or Fad Platform?
When Major League Gaming (MLG) first announced back in November of 2013 that they would be launching their new streaming service, MLG.tv, gamers were ecstatic. Soon after the launch of the website many fan favorites, Call of Duty Organizations and certain personalities such as Matt “Nadeshot” Hagg were quick to sign over to the new streaming website in hopes of growing the eSports scene. Now just a few years later, many people question whether MLG has actually grown the eSports scene or done the complete opposite.
MLG with the launch of their streaming service provided several positives such as exclusivity, competitive market share and to join the allure and brand of being under the all-mighty MLG wing. However, one of the significant problems streamers have had with MLG.tv platform is the problem of growth and sustainability. Most people who watch streams on MLG.tv are primarily there to watch pro players whom are typically under popular organizations from FaZe or OpTic or other top 10 orgs or that of other continuous streamers with longevity in their airtime and streams. For instance, the unique personality and former STDx member “@Shockuhfy” whom doesn't possess the best quality camera but works hard to connect to his viewers and followers or even a cod based clan that is taking eSports by storm as of late “@LethalGaming_” whom possesses a "stream team" that houses several public and onlines based diverse gamers. The majority of these views are funneled in from outside sources such as Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube and can be usually associated with a giveaway from one of their sponsors to boost ratings and viewership. While this is good for Pro Players and Orgs that see commission every 3 months, for others you see it ranging from $20-150 on the low end and $100-250 on the mid range and $300+ on the high end plus subscriptions, there is a real issue when it comes to being an “Average Joe” or a "Pro Player" streaming on MLG.tv as opposed to Twitch.
Is this a trend or a fad for MLG.tv? Since most of the viewers are there to watch professional players and events that are being live-streamed whether that is CS:GO, COD, or SMITE, it is very difficult for an up and coming organization or personality to grow a channel on MLG as opposed to another streaming website such as Twitch. Even pro’s that were once on Twitch that held strong concurrent viewership and analytics, then switched to MLG for the hype, are now considering their options such as going back to Twitch or the new YouTube Gaming platform because their numbers weren't nearly as strong as they were before. Case in point, current COD pro player for TCM “@TCM_TeePee” has recently announced his return to Twitch from MLG after his contract ran its course.
Since there is a slim chance of a channel continuously growing on MLG.tv you have to wonder if (COD) eSports had stayed on Twitch would the growth rate have been several times faster or the same? Many people, myself (Dingo) included, think that eSports would have grown much larger had they stayed on Twitch as Twitch was designed to be a growth platform no matter who or what you did. This is what you are rewarded with when you are “first to market” for such a service like Twitch offers. When people log on to Twitch, they log on to watch their favorite streamers and can browse, connect and stream on consoles and immerse themselves immediately. Moreover, the way the website is setup you can also find new streamers to fit your interests. Since Twitch offers this ability, eSports and the Call of Duty scene would have been able to benefit greatly from it. But MLG had an opportunity to make money, and as a business, this was a calculated risk. Regardless of the turnout, if I were them, I would have done the exact same thing. Can we blame them?
We see examples of massive growth in games such as League of Legends. LoL’s first eSports tournament was in 2011 with the release of the game being in 2009. In just the small time League of Legends has been having tournaments, we have seen significant growth in the sport’s popularity not only in Asia but gaining massive popularity in North America largely in part to the developer support and Twitch’s growth platform setup. Obviously with any service, there are positives and negatives. Our own organization “SetToDestroyX” moved from Twitch to MLG in Feb 2015. Since that transition, there have been significant updates to the MLG.tv platform and service, but there have been numerous security and account issues, live viewership ratings not updating and the ease of tracking one’s analytics and even editing their own stream graphics and bio have to be done by their support staff. But, one can say MLG tweet’s or retweet’s stream links, provides you a Monstercat and XSplit license agreement, is open to talking to you about resolving account issues immediately, are actively trying to be better than remain stagnant, and expanding more gamers, genres and events.
Many teams think that MLG has caused a major downfall in Call of Duty eSports and are slowly starting to drift away from streaming on MLG. @DenialEsports was the first team to break away from MLG.tv and sign a contract with Twitch and @NobelProGaming has signed a deal with Twitch too. Rumors of Optic Gaming pairing up with YouTube’s new streaming service have arisen and are gaining popularity in the market share with several ex-OpTic players and reps now working for YouTube Gaming. It is no secret that teams are unsatisfied with their growth and the overall performance of MLG.tv in eSports and now a departure for COD moving forward. Maybe this is a fad like anything else in society such as; music, clothes, designs, homes, toys and anything else that starts hot and dies quick.
There is no question MLG is a giant and their streaming platform has bought some of the market share in the two years its operated MLG.tv but how far will that money go when YouTube Gaming and Twitch start flexing their muscles? Are we about to see a massive decline in 2016 with the COD and MLG relationship fading or are we about to see MLG diversify heavily to stay alive? What else does MLG need to do to lure gamers from Twitch and YouTube Gaming?
Don’t many fads come back in style years down the road?
-Written by @StDxDingo
-Co-Written & Edited by @StDxPsychology