Adventures in Streaming: Episode 2 Day 15-30
Twitch Journal day 15-30
My evolution as a gamer has been drastic. As the industry has changed, so have I. I have constantly been adapting to the ebb and flow of the technology and culture. The latest leap has been my introduction into streaming, and it has been an especially expensive (and time consuming) change. Streaming has shaken the foundation of my gaming life just as online gaming did in the late 90’s. I am here in the front line trying to embrace this new avenue, and I enjoy my favorite form of escapism. I hope you enjoyed my first journal entry as I became a twitch streamer, and I hope you will find value as I continue the series.
I have seen continual growth in my stream, but I have found that my followers discovered me playing a specific game and they prefer to watch me play that game. When they come back to the stream, some are disappointed when I moved on to something different. It seemed that I inadvertently stumbled to a fork in the road. I had to ask myself, “Am I streaming to see how many people I could get to follow me, or am I streaming to enjoy my gaming in a more social setting?” This is an important question, because it will lead me down two entirely different roads. If I was being honest, I will say that it feels good when someone clicks that follow button. It means that they found value in my stream, and they want to come back and watch me again. The question is posed of will someone enjoy watching you game, if you don’t enjoy the game you are playing? I don’t think they would, so I chose to focus on the games that interest me the most. During day 20 I started playing “The Long Dark” an amazingly beautiful survival game that is in the Beta stages. It is also a bit slow, and it is not the ideal game when it comes to streaming. I focused on vocalizing my train of thought, so that my audience could hear what I was thinking and why I was making the decisions I was making. During this game I met other gamers who love the game and actually coached me and helped me through some difficult challenges. By the end of day 20 I was at 62 followers.
Another phenomenon happened during these couple of weeks. I met other streamers and gamers that appreciated what I was doing and began to support my stream in other ways. Apexfamily7 is a PS3 streamer and has amassed a fairly loyal following. Although our streams are vastly different in content and culture, he started hosting my channel for his viewers once a week and also sent some of his followers to my channel. It gave me a tremendous boost. Another twitch viewer SKYL1NK asked to speak to me off stream and helped me make my stream more professional. He helped me trouble shoot some of the technology issues I had, and he gave me ideas to make the stream look better. Others come in nightly and moderate the chat, DJ the music, and we welcome the lurkers and new visitors alike. It truly takes a village to raise a streamer.
When I started streaming, it felt like it was a solo endeavor. I spent many nights responding to the chat room comments and questions with a method that resembled a monologue. When I switched to a game called “7 Days to Die” I created my own server, and I invited some of my followers into the stream. Eventually I had the same 5-6 people joining me every night as I publicly streamed our survival efforts. I know this is something, as I grow, that I can’t continually do, but it made the conversational weight of streaming 5 hours a night a little lighter. The side effect is I had less people chatting and talking in the stream, and I felt like I lost a little control over the conversational content while I did stream. Neither was detrimental to the entertainment value, but I realized that this group streaming is not something I can continually maintain. The other observation is I felt I had a harder time getting new followers because there was an identity crisis with in the stream. Although I still dominated the conversation, the others contributed and added to the conversation. A new viewer might find this a bit confusing and may not have the ability to connect to me as a streamer because of all the varying personalities. In contrast, I felt like I made some deeper gaming connections as we worked together to survive and fight off the zombie hordes. Grew to 78 followers.
Do you ever have those days where everything that can go wrong, does go wrong? When you’re on a stream, a simple mistake or technical issue can magnify your stress and make something small seem gigantic. Don’t get me wrong, midstream trouble shooting is something all streamers must be capable of handling, but sometimes there is not a fix.
My issues started when I tried to stream my Xbox One through my Elgato to my streaming software. I didn’t think about it at the time, but I changed all the settings I had meticulously set up through multiple tutorials and blog postings. In one swoop I wiped everything out for the sake of streaming some Battlefield Hardline with friends. Since I am writing this series to inform new streamers of the highs and lows of streaming I wanted to take a moment to say STOP!!! Whatever you do, don’t ever make sweeping changes on your settings unless you are prepared to run the world’s worse stream. My mic was echoing, my frame rates dropped dramatically, and my stream consistently refreshed. My poor followers had to watch commercial after commercial because of my misstep. Not all of this is attributed to changing my settings, but the majority of it was due to my lack of overall knowledge on what settings can truly affect my stream. So my advice is once you get set up, it does not mean you’re done. Learn the technology; don’t leave it up to Youtube videos and blogs. On day 27 I gained 0 followers, but had grown to 87 followers’ total, playing mostly obscure survival games. This is quickly becoming my niche.
I stumbled back into the game that many of my followers found me in. As I played, I found myself at the top of the stream board because I had 14 people watching the stream at the time. I ended up gaining 16 followers on day 29 and 17 on day 30. I realized the profound effect being the number one streamer in a particular game really can be on a streamer. I keep hearing of people who grew by hundreds in a couple days. I am talking about nerdy gamers, not beautiful women that stream with cleavage and a great smile. They found a niche and grew a fan base on that niche. I am still finding myself as a streamer, but I do think I am finding my audience and slowly building a solid community that comes out to support day in and day out. After month one, I ended up with 105 followers. My theory is as I gain more followers it will be much easier to grow at a faster pace. We will see if that holds true going forward… see you all in 30 days.