The two sites will now be under the corporate umbrella name Twitch Interactive, with Justin.tv carrying on as a “mature product,” according to a press release.
Twitch gets much of its viewership from competitive pro gaming, a.k.a. eSports. The site also serves as video partner to various gaming events and conferences, and some of its ad- and subscription-supported partners have built niche YouTube-esque communities around activities like speedrunning — playing through a well-worn game as quickly as possible.
Within a few years of Justin.tv’s launch, live-streamed videos of people playing videogames had become its dominant form of content. The company chose to spin off Twitch, known at the time as TwitchTV, in 2011 to keep games from taking over completely.
However, the rebranding indicates just how much more staying power the gamer-focused site has had as compared to its generalist forebear. Alexa estimates that Justin.tv has fallen from being around the 600th most popular site in the world in 2012 to the 2,101th most popular today. In the same amount of time, Twitch has climbed from below 2,000 to be the 305th most popular worldwide as of the time of this writing.
Twitch recently reported a “banner year” of viewership metrics, with 45 million unique viewers per month and a majority of viewers saying they spend more than 20 hours per week on the site. A tool letting console gamers broadcast live to Twitch launched with Sony’s PlayStation 4, and a similar tool for Microsoft’s Xbox One has been announced but repeatedly delayed.