Kick Versus Twitch: The Streaming Marketing War Rages On

  • Stake launched Kick last year after Twitch banned unregulated casino content
  • Major influencers have moved to Kick, including Trainwreck and GMHikaru
  • Twitch has experience behind it, while Kick is offering better subscription deals
  • Kick is also becoming a home for controversial streamers because of lax rules
Twitch v Kick
After banning unregulated casino games last year, Twitch has become embroiled in a marketing war with new Stake-backed platform Kick.

Platform versus platform

If you’re into your gambling streamers and haven’t been living under a rock for the past year, you’ve likely heard the name Kick crop up once or twice. You might have even visited the platform to take in the latest content of big names such as Trainwreck and Xposed, who have made the shift to the new site.

Kick-owner Stake was one of the operators that made Twitch’s naughty list of banned casino sites last year, along with other crypto casinos such as Roobet and Duelbits. Since Twitch’s most popular gambling streamers had promotional deals with these sites, the ban essentially put an end to their money-making schemes – that is until Stake decided to launch its own platform.

Kick is fighting its war by stealing content creators

Since then, Kick has been engaged in a bloody marketing war with Twitch – one far different from other brand rivalries, such as the Coca Cola wars of the 1970s-80s. In contrast to marketing conflicts of the past, Kick is mainly fighting its war by stealing influencers from its opponent, and so far it seems it could be winning.   

Taking streaming by storm

Launching shortly after Twitch announced its casino ban in October 2022, Kick first made clear that it could pose a serious threat to its rival the following month. Roshtein and Xposed confirmed that they were making the shift to the platform as the first big names to transition. Combined, they have more than 1.6 million followers on Twitch and have even both collaborated with global rap superstar Drake.  

What was to follow blew both of those signings out of the water, however. In December, Trainwreck, real name Tyler Niknam, made the shift to Kick after claiming Twitch had “lost its grasp on reality.” With 2.1 million followers on Twitch, the Texan is by far the most popular gambling-focused streamer. As a result, Stake has given him a leading role in developing its platform from the ground up.

Since then, the big-name signings have kept on coming. These include controversial content creators Heelmike (7.1 million+ Twitch followers) and Adin Ross (7 million Twitch followers before his ban). The latest star to join the Kick team is chess streamer GMHikaru, a grandmaster boasting more than 1.8 million followers on Twitch.

twitch and all its puppet f*ck faces will be shook.”

Not only this, but Kick claims it has plenty more signings lined up. According to Trainwreck, GMHikaru is just one of six total signings soon to be announced by the platform. Niknam certainly wasn’t worried about riling up his former platform when announcing this either, claiming that when the signings are uncovered “twitch and all its puppet f*ck faces will be shook.”

Differing arsenals

Every war needs its weapons and this one has plenty.

The biggest asset in Twitch’s arsenal is its existing number-one streaming site position. The Amazon-owned brand has also been around since 2011, meaning it has more than a decade of interface development in its past to ensure it works well for users. In contrast, as a new platform on the scene, Kick is certainly not without its issues. Even Trainwreck has noted that Kick has some improving to do before it can compete, recently drawing attention to a viewbotting issue.

Kick offers its streamers 95% of subscriptions

Aware that it will likely remain substandard to Twitch in terms of capability for some time, Kick is fighting the marketing war with alternative weapons. Mainly, the platform is attracting streamers by offering a much more favorable subscription fee rate. Kick offers its streamers 95% of subscriptions, a huge difference to the 50% provided by Twitch. The latter recently confirmed it had no intentions of changing that deal, despite pressure from Kick.

In a demonstration of its tongue-and-cheek marketing tactic, Kick recently shared a video to Twitter utilizing its F1 partnership with Alfa Romeo to mock Twitch for its substandard rate:

It’s not only Kick shouting about this either, Trainwreck and other streamers who have shifted to the platform are making sure the world knows it’s a better deal for influencers. Only last week, Niknam took to Twitter again to promote the platform’s rate. He argued that streamers had been incorrectly “conditioned” to believe that sub revenue is a primary profit driver for Twitch and Kick.

The Texan is also quick to repost any praise of the sub split from other creators, which has become regular on Twitter as streamers of all sizes make the switch:

One final weapon

As the newcomer to the scene, it is evident Kick will require more feathers to its bow if it wants to compete with the experienced Twitch to steal major streamers. The final weapon it has in its arsenal is its lax rules, not only in relation to gambling streaming but also in regards to controversial content that might result in lengthy bans on its rival site.

One demonstration of Kick’s laissez-faire policy came shortly after Heelmike joined the platform in February. On one of his first Kick streams, the controversial influencer engaged in an on-stream sex act with a girl. While this would have undoubtedly led to a lengthy, if not permanent, ban on Twitch, Kick suspended Heelmike’s account for just one day.

many have called out Adin Ross for his behavior since joining the site

Similarly, many have called out Adin Ross for his behavior since joining the site. The influencer, who has received a permanent ban from Twitch, is well known for spreading hateful messages. He recently had to apologize after claiming his pronouns were “kill/them” in response to a video about non-binary pronouns. Kick has continued to allow Ross to stream on its platform despite his recent divisive behavior.

More to come?

With streamers such as Heelmike and Adin Ross finding a home on Kick, many predict that other controversial stars could follow. One name mentioned is BruceDropEmOff, a creator with 1.3 million followers who recently returned from a one month ban from Twitch. According to Ross, other possible Kick signings include Kai Cenat and IShowSpeed.

Regardless of the tools Kick uses to reach its goal, each of these major signings could prove vital in the streaming marketing war. So far, its highly aggressive and somewhat controversial tactics appear to be working, and the next five signing announcements could prove a real milestone for the fledgling platform.

Kick certainly seems to think so anyway:

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