A Blog by Jonathan Low


Feb 7, 2014

Asymmetric Usage: Gaming Is Generating More Internet Traffic Than Amazon or Facebook

Netflix and Google may be the leaders of the pack when it comes to US web traffic, but recent data reveal that internet gaming outperforms all that reflexive friending and buying.

The implications are significant - if this trend holds. The presumption has been that ecommerce will come to dominate all retail and commercial activity. But there is a conundrum, which is that mobile advertising has not generated the kinds of returns such presumptions about consumer preferences would suggest.

The answer, aside from the impediment of smaller screen size, may be that consumers are not using the web in quite same way as marketers have presumed they are. These nuances are still emerging as our knowledge about how the web is utilized evolves - and how the usage itself changes with ever greater technological familiarity, facility and favorability across demographic and geographic segments.

If gaming is such a dominant activity now - and continues to demonstrate its market power, this could mean that more marketers will want to figure out how to adapt the 'gamification' of commercial activities. This is especially true as online gambling is one subset of 'gaming' that has yet to receive widespread regulatory approval - and may yet do so.

It may also mean that ecommerce and social media engagement are more nuanced activities than originally thought. This could well be good news for social as both online gaming is an inherently social activity so the congruence could stimulate quicker uptake. Overall web - and especially mobile - presentation to consumers - and even the design of devices may have to morph to reflect that actual activity in order to realize its optimal potential. JL

Kyle Russell reports in Business Insider:

While Netflix is the undisputed champion of generating Web traffic in the United States, there's another video-streaming service that's quickly moving up the peak traffic ranks: Twitch, the video service that lets gamers live-stream their gameplay to thousands of viewers simultaneously.

Unlike Netflix or competitors Hulu and Amazon, Twitch can't just license film and television content that's popular enough to draw in an audience.
Yet according to data from network researcher DeepField published at the Wall Street Journal, its share of peak U.S. Web traffic has passed not only Hulu and Amazon but even Facebook and its 147 million daily active users.
Twitch's homepage perfectly captures how the site is generating so much traffic. When looking at those numbers, keep in mind that on any given day, CNN might have ~280,000 live viewers — and that there are thousands of "channels" broadcasting live content on Twitch right now.

For context, this chart from the Wall Street Journal piece shows the 10 sites moving the most data around in the U.S. Note that Valve's Steam, which is basically iTunes for PC gamers, is also generating a massive amount of traffic:


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