The live-streaming industry has grown rapidly in recent years, thanks to mainstream platforms like YouTube and Twitch. According to Statista, the two streaming sites amassed about 7 billion watch hours in the third quarter of 2022.
Despite being the most popular platform, Twitch has been scrutinized in the past few months. Many content creators have been complaining about unfair policies. The most significant uproar came when the live-streaming site decided to ban chance-based gambling games.
In a Twitter post published on September 21, 2022, Twitch stated that it’d no longer feature unlicensed games. Those slashed from the platform in October 2022 included roulette, dice, and slots. Many content creators didn’t receive this policy update well, with some opting to look for alternatives.
A well-known Twitch streamer of Iranian heritage with more than a couple million followers, Tyler “Trainwreck” Niknam has revealed that he plans to introduce a different platform for live-streamers that will give them a more favorable deal than they’ve been getting on Twitch. It will also provide a revenue split of 95-5 that will greatly benefit creators—a stark contrast to Twitch’s 50-50 split. Plus, it will allow creators to stream casino games.
One major factor driving this new live-streaming platform is its affiliation with Stake.com, an online casino. The gambling platform has sponsored English Premier League team Everton F.C., as well as prominent rapper Drake. It also used to sponsor Twitch streamers to gamble on stream until Twitch banned the practice.
Who is Trainwreck?
Trainwreck’s popularity has risen in recent years following his career on Twitch. But who is Trainwreck, and why is he the most talked about streamer in 2023?
Tyler Faraz Niknam grew up and studied in Arizona. He attended Chaparral High School, a public school in Scottsdale. Niknam then joined Arizona State University, where he graduated with an analytic philosophy degree in 2014.
In 2015, he launched his Twitch and YouTube channels, going by the name “TrainwrecksTV.” The Twitch channel had gained over 2M followers before Niknam’s exit from the platform. TrainwrecksTV on YouTube is still active and has over 200,000 subscribers so far.
Trainwreck focused on gaming and real-life content in his early years of streaming. Although he’s still into gaming, the category that has built his popularity even more is gambling.
The streamer’s partnership with Stake.com is among the main contributors to his recent success in the live-streaming industry. Niknam has broadcast many chance-based games over the past few months, with Stake.com sponsoring his streams.
Statistics show that slots accounted for 28.5% of TrainwrecksTV’s streamed hours. This explains why Trainwreck has been vocal against Twitch’s recent policy update.
He isn’t the only one affected by Twitch’s ban on slots and other chance-based games. Many renowned streamers broadcast their “goodbye” sessions just before the platform’s new policy was implemented in October 2022.
So, what’s next for these influencers? Many platforms have tried to match Twitch’s popularity for the past few years without much success. As such, there isn’t a reliable alternative website that can give streamers the exposure they need.
Before exiting Twitch, Trainwreck made it clear that he was planning to build a Twitch alternative. It became apparent towards the end of 2022 that this project was actually Kick.com.
Tyler Niknam, the popular streamer with Persian heritage, has great incentives from the onset with the new platform, Kick. The platform Kick.com promises a 95-5 creator split in an attempt to lure prominent streamers to the new live-streaming service.
Benefits of Kick.com for streamers
What does the Trainwreck-backed new platform have in store for content creators? There is massive optimism within the streamer community, given that one of them is among the creators of Kick. If everything goes to plan, then content creators will be the main beneficiaries of this project.
Here are some of the positives to look out for as Kick.com continues to grow rapidly:
- 95-5 revenue split
Kick’s proposed revenue split is the platform’s main marketing factor. Many streamers have complained recently about the unfair revenue share that most mainstream platforms offer. This was one of Trainwreck’s main complaints about Twitch and other similar streaming sites.
Twitch’s original policy saw regular streamers earn 50% of the money generated through subscriptions. On the other hand, content creators rated “premium” kept 70% of the revenue.
However, the Amazon-owned platform did away with the “premium” category in its payment policy update. As a result, all streamers will be subject to the 50/50 rule starting June 2023.
According to Trainwreck’s TwitLonger post, this share is way below what content creators deserve. Remember, streamers are among the main stakeholders in the industry. So, you can understand why many people share Niknam’s sentiments.
But what will Kick do differently? As earlier stated, the new platform will introduce the 95/5 revenue split rule. That means streamers will keep 95% of all subscriber income. The remaining 5% will go into the platform’s maintenance and other projects.
Of course, it’s still the early days, but this news seems to be attracting more content creators to Kick.com. A platform that just began its operations a few months ago is slowly picking up and is likely to give Twitch a run for its money.
- Stream will keep 100% of “kicks”
Most platforms usually take a share of donations sent by subscribers. However, Kick.com won’t touch even a cent of this money. Content creators will keep 100% of these tips, also known as “kicks.”
That’s good news for streamers, as it increases their total income. More money also allows them to create more professional and engaging content, which is a plus for the viewers and the platform.
- No ambiguous bans
Another factor that Kick.com looks to use to its advantage is the ambiguous bans experienced by streamers on other platforms. Many streaming sites are notorious for suspending their content creators without explaining the course clearly.
Twitch, for one, has been in the spotlight many times because of unexplained bans. Although most of the streamers regained their status after a few days, the impact of these bans can’t be ignored. A content creator is likely to lose some of their followers in the course of serving a suspension.
One Kick.com’s main agenda is to get rid of such bans. According to the developers, the platform’s terms of service (TOS) will be fair to the streamers. The rules will be very clear and easy to understand for an ordinary content creator. As such, streamers won’t feel hard done by whenever they’re punished for neglecting the platform’s policies.
- Support for casino game streaming
Many streamers started searching for Twitch alternatives towards the end of 2022. The main reason was the fact that the Amazon-owned site no longer supported the streaming of certain gambling games. Slots, roulette, dice, and other casino games were banned from the platform in October 2022.
Given the societal negative view on gambling, you can understand why Twitch succumbed to the pressure. However, this industry can be lucrative for streamers and the streaming platform if regulated properly.
Kick.com is planning to take advantage of Twitch’s policy update and accommodate all gambling-related content creators. This is a huge benefit for the streamers because most mainstream platforms are yet to openly support gambling as one of their main stream categories.
Kick’s support for the casino gaming industry was confirmed by Trainwreck in his Washington Post interview. The top Twitch content creator affirmed that Stake.com’s owner, Ed Craven, is an active player in Kick’s creation. More on this later in the article.
The Kick-Stake connection
You’ve probably read about or heard of Stake.com if you’re in the sports and gaming industries. It’s a crypto-betting company that has become a giant in the world of gaming over the past few months.
Stake launched its operations in 2017 and was licensed by the Curacao Gaming Control Board. The license allows the crypto-betting giant to operate under different country-specific URLs. In fact, it’s currently active in the United Kingdom as Stake.uk.com.
This crypto gaming site became more popular among UK fans when it began sponsoring English Premier League teams. In 2021, it partnered with Watford Football Club before signing a deal with Everton FC in June 2022.
Apart from sports icons and clubs, Stake.com has also built partnerships with influencers in the gaming industry. Drake and Trainwreck are the most notable names in this category. The two signed a deal to broadcast their Stake.com gambling escapades on their social media platforms.
Stake’s growth over the past five years is incomparable to many. It’s probably one of the reasons Kick.com’s creators were happy to tap into Ed Craven’s experience. Moreover, given its partnership with Niknam, it was only a matter of time before Stake.com came on board.
But what role will Trainwreck play in the new platform? According to the Washington Post report, Tyler Niknam will be advising Kick.com in a non-ownership role.
Why are people concerned about Kick’s legitimacy?
Although Kick.com has enjoyed tremendous growth in its first few months, the experience hasn’t been short of skeptics. Many viewers, streamers, and onlookers are still not fully convinced about the success of this project.
Some have publicly shared their concerns, among them Marcus Graham. The former Twitch director aired his sentiments on Twitter a few days after Niknam’s announcement.
But what’s the reason for such doubts?
- Unclear ownership information
According to Marcus “DjWheat” Graham, the biggest “red flag” is Kick’s lack of clear owners’ names. Unfortunately, that’s true, and it’s a concern shared by many onlookers and potential Kick streamers.
Despite sharing a lot about the platform, Niknam’s posts have only given hints of who is part of the team. People have been left guessing the names of potential owners.
The best way to address this skepticism is to provide a list of all owners. This way, anyone who’d like to get involved will know who they’re working with at the company. It’s also a great way to build the platform’s legitimacy.
- The belief about gambling
There is a belief that gambling has a negative impact on society. Given what many people have experienced in the past, you can understand why gambling receives backlash.
Perhaps one of the reasons is that many betting companies don’t operate within the confines of the law. As such, they bring more harm to society and make it difficult for people to trust any gambling site, regardless of their legitimacy.
That said, there are many betting sites that are licensed and adhere to the laws of the land. Such companies are committed to providing the best experience to their users.
Stake.com is among the biggest crypto casinos licensed in various countries. Over the years, the company has always ensured that its operations are on the right side of the law. Therefore, its connection with Kick.com will bring more positives to the company than many skeptics expect.
Why are creators attracted to the platform?
Many content creators are excited about Kick.com and what it’ll bring to the industry. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Support for gambling
Several streamers were left stranded when Twitch issued a policy update in October 2022. Most of them started looking for alternative platforms, and Kick.com’s introduction came at the right time. The new site is a welcomed idea in the industry, and many creators are already enjoying the features it offers.
- The revenue sharing policy
Every content creator is always looking to make a living out of their work. Kick’s proposed revenue sharing policy is an attractive idea that’s pulled many streamers to the platform. Given the revenue cut that these influencers get on other streaming sites, you can understand the excitement.
- An experienced streamer on board
Trainwreck is one of the most popular streamers. Thus, his involvement in the creation of Kick.com has definitely played a role in the growth of the platform’s popularity.
Kick’s creators have promised to improve the site’s terms of service (TOS) with time. If the platform meets its goals, it’s likely to significantly impact the live-streaming industry.
For one, it may force other live-streaming services to restructure their policies in favor of streamers. It may also help popularize crypto casinos and paint a positive picture of them and other gambling-related activities.
The live-stream platform of Niknam boasts a more promising deal than content creators currently have on Twitch. What also makes it unique among other platforms is the fact that it supports casino game streaming. Although there are those who may doubt the platform's association with the online casino industry, the great benefits it presents for creators make it an appealing substitute for Twitch.
Photos screen grabbed from https://kick.com/Trainwreckstv
This article was written in cooperation with Stake.com