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Live streaming platforms Hitbox and Azubu relaunch as Smashcast

It will be a strong No.2 to Twitch, the company says

Smashcast is the new company that has formed following the merger between Hitbox and Azubu.

The move follows Azubu's acquisition of Hitbox back in January. The firm stated at the time that it would "launch a new platform, focused on optimising the mobile user experience and monetisation technologies." The company says that Smashcast will be a 'strong No.2 competitor to Twitch and the largest independent esports broadcaster outside of Asia'.

The platform is live now and is a free download for both iOS and Android, with mobile updates being rolled out. All Hitbox and Azubu traffic will be rerouted to Smashcast.

The relaunched platform will include a number of new features, the company says. Including a feature that lets esports fans cheer for their teams during tournaments.

"We're excited to announce the new company name and brand resulting from the merger of Hitbox and Azubu," said Smashcast CEO Mike McGarvey in a statement. "Smashcast will launch with a new hype feature for viewer engagement, which represents just the first step in our long-term vision to create the best broadcaster-to-viewer experience in the world of esports and competitive gaming."

In addition to the new platform, Smashcast has opened a 4K-ready content production studio in Vienna, Austria. The statement says that this is part of the firm's efforts to integrate further with the world of esports.

"The new Vienna production facility is a key next step for us in ensuring the quality of support we provide our broadcasting and publishing partners," added European MD Martin Klimscha. "We wanted specifically to ensure that we are differentiated from our competitors not only from our platform and technology excellence, which includes full 4K and 360 VR support, but from the quality of streaming content as well."

Azubu had a dysfunctional start to life in the games business, with reports of instability caused, in part, by its investor. It was even suggested that Azubu was close to closing last year.

However, the firm has bounced back and has set itself the objective of better monetising its platform from 'affiliate marketing, interactive sponsor-based advertising, virtual goods sales, sponsorships and in-game betting', as well as traditional means such as advertising, subscriptions and donations.

The streaming platform says its aim is to close the gap in average revenue per user between what esports is generating and what is being achieved in traditional sport. Azubu/Hitbox had a user peak of 20m in 2016, and says it will grow this via its own content, low cost technology and improved user experience.

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