Hunter C. February 11, 2019
Esports organization Natus Vincere has signed an exclusive streaming deal with new platform Caffeine, according to a report by Unikrn.
Na’Vi is the only Western team partnered with a live streaming platform other than Twitch. It’s a notable move given the size and popularity of the Na`Vi organization, which has boasted some of the world’s top teams in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, and other games.
Caffeine is still largely unknown, but there does seem to be a lot of money behind it. 21st Century Fox invested $100 million into the platform in September 2018. Other investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners, and others undisclosed.
Caffeine and Na’Vi will team up to provide exclusive content for the streaming platforms users. With the popularity of its top players, including CS:GO wunderkind Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, this partnership could provide Caffeine with a greater chance of success. Were it successful, Caffeine would arguably be the first viable competitor for Twitch in the gaming live streaming space.
Twitch has had several competitors, but none have emerged as real candidates to take on the streaming juggernaut.
Corporate giants YouTube and Facebook do offer video streaming, but have encountered various obstacles along the way. YouTube’s gaming-specific offering was withdrawn and integrated back into its broader service. Facebook signed an exclusive streaming deal with esports event organizer ESL, but fan response to the deal has been tepid at best as Facebook’s streams have been plagued by issues and slow to adopt features similar to those found at Twitch.
Oddshot.tv shut down in February 2018. Microsoft’s Mixer enjoys a healthy population of users, and there are a number of speedrunning streamers on Hitbox.tv. Even so, none of them have come close to peeling a significant amount of viewership away from Twitch.
Caffeine is still in beta, so for now Na’Vi and its players remain on Twitch. But soon, if you want to catch a s1mple stream, you’ll have to head over to Caffeine.