It would appear as though Microsoft and other streaming services are rebranding in an attempt to outperform the likes of Twitch and Amazon. For those in the know, the rise of various streaming video platforms has resulted in the video game industry largely taking to Twitch - itself a subsidiary branch of Amazon.com - as the go-to brand when it comes to disseminating playthroughs of popular titles, broadcasting esports events internationally, and releasing various miscellaneous creative content curated by the top web-based creators around the world.
Hardly a new facet of the pop cultural landscape, Twitch got its start way back in June of 2011, and from there went-on to dominate the streaming video platform marketplace. With its chief competition coming in the forms of the Microsoft-owned Beam, Hitbox, and Azubu, Twitch reached a grand total of 45 million unique viewers in 2013, and has since continued to dominate its immediate field of competitors - and the latest word has Microsoft and other rivals drastically changing course, in an attempt to gain more stable footing in the industry.
According to PCWorld, the Microsoft-owner streaming service formerly known as Beam has been officially rebranded as Mixer, sporting the capability to support four-player split-screen live streaming to battle the likes the Amazon-owned Twitch. In addition, hitboxBLOG is currently reporting that competing platforms Hitbox and Azubu have joined forced in the creation of Smashcast, replete with a cleaned-up look and feel and exclusive "Hype-o-Meter" meant to encourage friendly competition during esports events and couch co-op sessions.
Given the established dominance of Twitch, it remains to be seen whether or not the likes of Microsoft will manage in their four-person split-screen live streaming platform that is Mixer to outperform the current streaming service dynamo, in addition to the newly-established Smashcast. But considering the fact that comparative conglomerate YouTube has not yet been able supersede Twitch's dominance - coupled with the reality that Microsoft will have to manage the integration of Xbox One and contend with the given fact that there are far fewer Windows 10 PC gamers than there are PS4 gamers - the road to a real Twitch alternative feels like a moot point, at the time of this writing.
Then again, maybe Microsoft will pull off the unthinkable and Mixer will be a resounding hit to be joined with the likeminded merger of Hitbox and Azubu in the form of Smashcast, against the standing industry heavyweight that is Twitch. In the meantime, streaming service users can take a look at all of the individual perks and trade-offs represented by the three competing platforms and decide for themselves whether or not its time to jump off the Twitch bandwagon.