Tenival’s Twitch Streaming Rival hides with the naked eye

(Bloomberg) –

Tencent Holdings Ltd. is launching a Twitch-like live streaming service from Amazon.com Inc. in the US, making a rare foray into American social media.

China’s largest company has been quietly testing a mobile device-focused transmission network through a subsidiary in the US since at least March. Initially called Madcat and now branded Trovo Live, the new service closely resembles Twitch in its looks and functionality. Beyond Tencent’s popular gaming portfolio, such as Fortnite and PUBG Mobile, Trovo also highlights major titles like Grand Theft Auto and Destiny 2. This week, he details plans on his website to attract and reward creators with a program of $ 30 million partnership as of July.

Tencent dominates gaming and social media in its home market and may be one of the few companies with the resources to challenge Twitch. But the WeChat operator has come across mixed results in its efforts to create online users abroad, and Trovo for now is just an embryonic service.

Still in beta testing, Trovo has largely gone unnoticed outside of the gaming community. His best-served live streams have only a few dozen viewers at a time, though his Discord chat channel has more than 5,000 members. It has attracted some seasoned creators of the Mixer platform from Twitch, YouTube and Microsoft Corp., which will soon be gone.

Read more: Microsoft will close the game streaming service, join Facebook

“Tencent supporting mobile device creators is definitely a huge advantage, as they handle most of the world’s most competitive mobile games,” said Bobby Plays, a game content creator with nearly 450,000 YouTube subscribers who recently joined the nascent service. “He has had nothing but good experiences so far” with Trovo, although the platform’s operators have not directly informed him of their Tencent affiliation, he added.

Trovo says in the terms of service on its website that it is a Tencent affiliate, without giving further details. The document lists a contact address that matches that of the Chinese giant’s U.S. headquarters in Palo Alto, California. Tencent declined to comment.

Tencent has been actively expanding its online streaming assets in recent months, having spent $ 263 million in April to buy control of Twitch’s Chinese equivalent, Huya Inc., and this week acquiring content and technology from iFlix Ltd. team at Southeast Asian.

Trovo’s development and testing have gone unnoticed at a time of increased scrutiny over Chinese ownership of social media in the United States. Rival ByteDance Ltd. has been the subject of concerns raised by US Senator Marco Rubio about platforms such as his TikTok video share. The service “is used as a tool by the Chinese Communist Party to extend its authoritarian censorship.” Zynn, a Tenua-backed Kuaishou video-sharing app that recently skyrocketed in US downloads, has also been vague about its Chinese connection.

Trovo’s privacy policy states that its servers are located in Hong Kong, Singapore, and the US, however its support and engineering teams, which will have access to user information, are located in “offices around the world “including mainland China.

Like Twitch, Trovo features a live channel carousel, sidebars for chatting with other viewers, and channel recommendations that highlight the most popular active creators. It also has paid subscriptions and rewards that allow viewers to support their favorite broadcasters. Another similarity to Twitch is the tiered partnership program designed to encourage players to join in and evangelize service.

Trovo’s impending arrival comes at a time of turmoil on the US game streaming scene This week, Microsoft announced that it will shutdown its Mixer platform, which had poached the high-profile Ninja streamer away from Twitch this summer. Passed in a costly but ultimately unsuccessful move. Twitch has been rocked by a string of accusations about turning a blind eye to sexual harassment and abuse by some of its popular users. The Amazon-owned service has said it will investigate and suspend the offending accounts.

Read more: Game world rocked by dozens of sexual misconduct charges

(Updates with comments from Trovo streamer in the fifth paragraph)

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