YouTube vs Twitch: A Complete Comparison of Streaming Platforms

Streaming is growing in popularity and people are looking to start going live. Here is how to choose between two of the most popular streaming platforms – YouTube and Twitch.

We live in the era of the digital – now there is a job for almost everything and everyone. It was hard to imagine a few decades back that you could make a living out of streaming yourself live on the internet. But here we are – there are many streamers out there who are not only living a more than comfortable life by going live but who also turned into online celebrities. The number of subscribers to live-streaming services reached over 1 billion people last year – and it only continues to grow!

When it comes to platforms that support live streaming and that are preferred by streamers YouTube and Twitch are the most popular ones. One of the things that is an absolute must for a live-streaming platform is the ability to support the technical side of streaming. Being two well-established and powerful apps, both YouTube and Twitch can offer the necessary assistance and tools for streamers to be able to go live. But which one of the two should a streamer use? Twitch vs YouTube? Which one is better for monetizing? Which one ensures better reach and growth? We are here to answer these questions and any others you might have. That being said let’s dive into the Twitch vs YouTube streaming battle.

What is YouTube?

YouTube is one of the most popular and loved creator studio platforms when it comes to video content. It was originally known for pre-recorded long-form videos that could be about anything and everything. Since its launch in 2005, YouTube managed to gather both an impressive number of creators from different niches and a huge monthly audience at the same time. 

Even though pre-recorded long-form video content is what YouTube is mostly known for, the platform sought to expand and cover more types of video content. In that sense, YouTube came up with YouTube Live and YouTube Shorts. As the names suggest, YouTube Live is used for streaming in real-time while YouTube Shorts is where people can post short format content similar to the one you find on social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok.

For a qualitative streaming experience and ensured success, there are a few things to consider when choosing a streaming platform.

Here is what YouTube has to offer:

  • User Interface

If you have already confirmed your mobile phone number already in the settings, you can move directly to streaming. You are most probably familiar with YouTube’s platform and know that is very user-friendly and intuitive. You can go live from both your desktop and your mobile phone. However, for streaming purposes, you will need to go for the desktop option as going live from your mobile allows only 1,000 subscribers per session. For more advanced live streams, such as broadcasting gameplay or sharing your screen, YouTube allows you to use encoder streaming.

YouTube walks you through everything step by step and the interface is intuitive and easy to use. When you are live, to your viewers it will look like any other video on YouTube, with the exception of the chatting box. But you will be provided with a different view – you will be able to view the number of people who are watching and moderate the chat.

  • Stream Quality

In terms of the quality of the stream, YouTube Creator Studio offers amazing resolution. YouTube users can stream up to 4K (2160 p) at 60 frames per second. To take advantage of this stream resolution, you need to launch a stream from the desktop.

  • Audience

YouTube’s audience is very diverse. As you can find a video about almost everything under the sun, YouTube manages to attract audiences from every niche. And the number of monthly active users is huge – over 2,7 billion viewers from all over the world. However, for a fair comparison, the gaming segment is the one we should be looking at. YouTube is successful in this department as well. With 10 billion watched hours, YouTube’s gaming segment reaches more than 700 thousand viewers each month. 

  • Chatting and Moderation

One great feature of YouTube live streaming is the possibility to pause and rewind it. Because of this, in terms of chatting, YouTube displays comments in terms of relevance. Still because of this feature, viewers can comment on different parts of the live video, not just on what is currently shown.

When it comes to moderation, YouTube offers standard moderation policies. As the host of the live streaming, you can also assign chat moderators. To personalize and express themselves further through their comments, viewers can choose from an already-established list of emojis provided by the platform.

  • Content

In the content department, YouTube is home to all sorts of content. Irrespective of what you want to post about, you will find a community that is interested in watching it or is already making similar content. However, this is the case for pre-recorded videos that vary in length. YouTube’s powerful search engine makes sure that your content can be found even after some time passed. YouTube Creator Studio is a great platform for small creators. Even if you are at the beginning of your journey or have a rather small audience, YouTube’s algorithm supports you and increases your chances of being found by new viewers.

  • Monetization

There are several ways to make money out of YouTube. The majority of them include advertising, partnerships, and selling your goods. For already established streamers, there is the possibility of being approached by advertisers who can offer promotion deals. Or you can contact brands yourself and see whether they are interested. In the case of partnership programs, you will have to share your income not only with YouTube but with the respective agency as well. In return, you will be helped with producing higher-quality content. During your live streams, you can also promote your own merchandise that viewers can buy by accessing the link to your website in your bio. 

  • Affiliate Program

If you are a content creator on YouTube, you can apply to their affiliate program. Through this program, you can get rewarded for your contribution to the platform and unlock a new way to earn revenue. In addition, you gain access to great tools such as the Copyright Match Tool and support tailored to your needs. To qualify for YouTube’s affiliate program is not very easy – you need to follow all of YouTube’s monetization policies and live in a country where the program is available.

What is Twitch?

If you are interested in watching live broadcasts, you have most probably heard about Twitch and streaming on Twitch. Over the years Twitch has strengthened its position as the preferred streaming platform for gamers. Even though on Twitch people can stream other types of content as well, the massive community of gamers constitutes the majority of the platform’s users.

Twitch offers a very dynamic and engaging user experience that can help you keep your audience hooked for long periods. You can customize your profile to your liking and benefit from high levels of security and moderation features.

To make sure you provide the best experience for your audience and push forward your career at the same time, the following aspects are crucial.

This is what you can expect from Twitch:

  • User Interface

Going live on Twitch is no rocket science. Even if you are not familiar with the platform and are new to streaming, you will be able to use it without issues. The first thing you need to do is have or create an account at After creating your account and signing in, you can edit your profile in settings and then jump straight to streaming. There are multiple ways in which you can go live but we recommend downloading Twitch Studio. It is easy to set up and you will be walked through the whole process. 

Similarly to YouTube, when you go live, you will be able to see the chat box on the right side of the screen. Underneath it, you will find all the tools you need to manage the whole streaming. Compared to YouTube, streaming on Twitch might seem more intimidating and complicated. However, this might be only because YouTube feels more familiar.

  • Stream Quality

When it comes to streaming quality, Twitch offers an impressive resolution. By using Twitch the quality of your stream can reach up to HD (1080 p) at 60 frames per second. The quality of your stream depends of course on your setup as well.

  • Audience

On Twitch, people can stream a wide variety of content. From gaming to more creative content such as music and art, the platform welcomes streamers from all niches. However, the type of content Twitch is mostly known for is gaming. When mentioning the name of the platform, without hesitation, your brain puts the equal sign between Twitch and the notion of gaming streaming platform. The reason for this is no doubt the huge amount of gaming streamers. In the gaming department, Twitch beats YouTube with 18,5 billion watched hours by 2,1 million viewers.

  • Chatting and Moderation

Unlike YouTube, Twitch doesn’t allow pausing and rewinding the live stream. For this reason, the comments shown at the top of the chat box are the ones posted in real time. There is a tight link between the order of the events taking place in the streaming session and the comments. 

In terms of moderation, Twitch has a higher standard and more strict policies than YouTube. Besides having the possibility to assign a chat moderator, on Twitch you can also set your own set of rules regarding the chat. Another difference is that Twitch doesn’t limit your self-expression. You can customize your own emotes, not just use the ones provided by the platform.

  • Content

Twitch can be considered the home country of gaming. The majority of the content Twitch users access the platform for is watching gameplay and engaging with game enthusiasts. To diversify its content creators and audience, Twitch is looking to expand toward other categories such as music and art. However, if you are looking to start your streaming career, you should be aware that gaming is still Twitch’s most prominent category. Another thing you should know as an aspiring streamer is that it’s going to take you a while to get discovered as Twitch’s algorithm doesn’t take into account the number of active users.

  • Monetization

When it comes to monetization, there are several different ways in which you can make money. For example, you can opt for sponsored advertising. During your streaming sessions, you can promote the goods and services of other companies that are relevant to your content. Another way to make money is by displaying ads at the side of the screen. The downsides of this are not being able to control what is being advertised and the fact that your viewers might be using an extension that is blocking ads. However, there are two ways most streamers use that help them make a living out of live broadcasting – donations and paid subscriptions. In the case of donations, streamers can set certain goals like purchasing a new setup for filming. Seeing this, viewers can choose to donate to show their support. When enabling the paid subscriptions, the earnings are split equally between the content creator and Twitch. In exchange for paying, viewers can be granted benefits such as improved stream quality.

  • Affiliate Program

To work with Twitch, you can choose between two options – you will either be an affiliate or a partner. To qualify for either of them, you need to meet certain criteria such as follower count and broadcast time. The affiliate status is not very difficult to obtain – it is very newcomer-friendly. While it offers greater advantages, the partner status is harder to obtain.  

Twitch vs YouTube

Both YouTube and Twitch are great platforms for streaming – they are so popular for a reason. However, when choosing one of the two, there are multiple aspects to consider. The type of content you want to broadcast, the size of your community, and what audience you want to reach. While having the possibility of using both platforms for the same reason, they pose significantly big differences.

Key Differences – Twitch vs YouTube

  • Twitch is a streaming platform, while YouTube offers live streaming as a complementary feature.
  • Twitch is mainly used for streaming gameplay, while YouTube doesn’t have a specific niche.
  • YouTube’s interface is more user-friendly and familiar than Twitch’s.
  • YouTube allows pausing and rewinding live streams, but Twitch doesn’t.
  • YouTube’s moderation standards are lower than Twitch’s.
  • Messages during streaming appear based on relevance on YouTube while on Twitch they are time-based.
  • In-app donations are not supported by YouTube, only by Twitch.
  • Qualifying for the YouTube affiliate program is significantly more difficult than for Twitch’s.

Live broadcasting has become increasingly popular so more and more people are aspiring to become streamers. However, deciding between YouTube and Twitch can be challenging. You can choose to just use both. If that is too difficult to fit into your schedule, here is our recommendation. Think about what type of content you want to put out. If you want to post gaming-related content, then we advise you to go for Twitch. The platform’s audience is mainly there just for this purpose – to watch gameplay and support gamers. If you want to post content related to something else, you should probably choose YouTube. The communities you find on YouTube are very diverse and newcomer-friendly. Even more so, you can choose to alternate live streaming with long-format content.