If you are into competitive gaming then you are probably familiar with the two biggest websites for watching high level play. They are Twitch.tv (aka Justin.tv) and Own3d.tv. Between these two, you have some of the best competitive game play available on the net. But for an aspiring proffessional gamer, which is best for you?
Twitch.tv has lot going for it. Arguably, it is the highest quality streaming site available. It is one of the only sites where you can be assured you are watching a full 1080p stream. If your connection cannot handle the best quality, then there are several quality options that lets viewers get the best quality stream that their connection can handle.
Twitch also provides many options for streamers to promote themselves. Each streamer gets their own page that displays not only the current live stream but also information about that person and videos they have posted. There are a lot of options for creating detailed banners and promoting their personal brand. It is more than a simple stream window, it is a window into the streamer's life. You can learn a lot about a streamer by what they post there. Some have old videos while others post their computer specs and information about themselves. This is important because the distinct chat functions available allow the streamers to easily interact with the viewers and they often ask the repitive questions that can be answered in the streamer's info page.
This brings us to biggest benefit of twitch, it really lets the viewers feel connected to the streamers. There is even a way for viewers to subscribe to a streamer which grants them a special chat icon and lets the viewer watch the stream without commercials.
The high quality functionality found on Twitch comes with a price. Generally, twitch offers lower base rates of pay per commercial. This fact has caused a lot of pro gamers to use other stream sites which means that there is relatively lower viewership. Most streams on Twitch outside of tournaments do not ever get more than two thousand viewers. This low viewership means getting paid even less when it is hard enough to get paid as a pro gamer.
Own3d is one of the most popular websites for games like League of Legends and Starcraft II. It boasts very high viewership and some of the best pro gamers in the business stream there. This is probably because of the higher pay that Own3d offers. It is set up more like YouTube so it may be familiar to newer streamers and there are no profiles for individual streamers, instead there is a page where streamers can post their videos and the viewers can comment. Often these pages are hosted by the Pro team that the streamer is a part of. There is a simple IRC chat room available to the fans which is really easy to get into, no registration required.
Own3d is a down and dirty streaming option. While the pay is slightly higher the quality is lower. There are not any customization options for streamers and the chat room on Own3d is just an IRC and anyone can join instantly which means it is highly susceptible to spam. Also, there is no subscriber option meaning there is no way for fans to watch a stream without commercials or show their love for a particular streamer.
Twitch Vs Own3d
What it comes down to is choice. Twitch is really the better option for solo streamers. It lets them build their online image and promote themselves easily while building a fan base. On the other hand, Own3d is more about the major pro teams. The video pages on Own3d revolve around the team rather than individual streamers. It may be easy to set up shop on Own3d and and the higher base rate of pay is appealing. However, the quality on Own3d simply cannot compare with Twitch and the ability to build your image as a pro gamer is probably far more useful in the long run.
Also, while Twitch can boast the highest quality stream on the net, it is often unstable. So what it really comes down to is whether your as a viewer or a streamer value high quality or high stability.
Both sites are great to watch. No matter which website the streamers pick, the viewer is winning. As a viewer I watch both, but I enjoy Twitch more. Nevertheless, there is great commentary and great gaming all around. They both provide a great place to watch your favorite games played at extremely high levels.