How to Start Your Video Game Streaming Career
Before you start off your video game streaming career, you should decide which game you’re going to be playing, and what kind of a streamer you’ll be. Will you be an entertainer or someone who educates? Sure, you can do both, but each decision creates a different path that you can take, and they do diverge at one point or another.
Should you go for a game that you’re accustomed to, or something that’s more esoteric and less known?
Essentially, there are two ways to approach things:
Streaming a Less Popular Game
Streaming a game that is less popular is a perfectly fine way to start, but it has some serious pitfalls. The biggest one perhaps is the fact that the game is, well, less popular. You won’t become a successful streamer if you only have twenty or fifty people watching your stream.
You want to have as many people watching the game you’re streaming as possible, and even though this approach has some smaller benefits, it’s generally not the best one to go for. With smaller titles even if you do everything right, there’s still going to be a bottleneck when it comes to how many viewers you can get.
At the time of this writing, a game like ‘Dragon Ball FighterZ’ has just 778 viewers. Now we’re talking about one of the hottest releases of the year, the ultimate Dragon Ball Z fighting game which is also the best-selling game in the series as well as the record-holder for most concurrent players in the fighting game genre on Steam.
That’s quite a depressingly low number of people watching a game that was so immensely popular just two or three months ago.
So even if you’re a fantastic player/streamer, it’s going to be very hard to amass a following even though the game is still a blast to play.
Streaming a Very Popular Game
Streaming a popular game is a much better choice. Not only will you have a higher chance to get noticed, but you’ll have a higher number of potential viewers as well.
Unfortunately, the challenges of breaking through are still present regardless of the road you choose to embark on. However, at least by streaming something that a hundred thousand people are watching at the same time you raise your chances.
In general, the best game to start streaming is the one you’re best at or the one you bring most value in. Every game has it’s following – some are big, and some are small, but they’re all viewers, and they all want to be entertained.
Of course, there is no tried and true recipe. Streaming is a trial and error process, and the sooner you begin, the better. You’ll make mistakes, and you’ll learn through it all but once you get the hang of things that’s when you’re going to start noticing significant improvements.
Invest in Some Solid Hardware
If your stream isn’t high-quality from a technical standpoint, then a lot of potential viewers won’t bother to stay and give you a chance, and you can’t blame them.
The average viewer is accustomed to a certain standard; they’re used to high-quality audio and video. This complicates things a bit if you’re starting out, but you should try to meet their “demands” as much as possible.
People won’t just watch your stream for the gameplay but because of you as well, and if they can’t see and hear you well enough then your streaming career probably won’t blossom.
Building an Audience Comes First
Regardless of the game you pick, you should know that the process of building an audience and a fan base takes time. After you’ve amassed a following, then you can do any number of things.
Want to change games? That’s not going to be a problem seeing how a fair number of your viewers will go along for the ride. To many, they’re not watching their favorite streamer because of the game they play but for the entertainment that they bring while playing.
If Michael “imaqtpie” Santana left the League of Legends streaming world for Dota 2, he would still be insanely popular. People tune in because he’s an entertainer at heart, and no matter how the game is developing he’s always cheerful and ready to respond with a witty, sarcastic quip.
Resist the Urge To Switch
Now, this is the opposite of what I wrote earlier, but if things don’t go your way, in the beginning, you’ll probably have a ton of doubt. You shouldn’t let that impact you though, mainly because rough patches are a part of every profession – regardless if you’re doing it as a hobby or as a consummate professional.
Don’t abandon ship quickly, ride things out and analyze what you’ve been able to accomplish after a couple of months’ time. If you’re still not satisfied with your growth after a couple of months, then it’s perfectly understandable if you change your game or approach to streaming. Just don’t be too eager to change things up – building an audience takes time.
Endurance is of the utmost importance.
Share, Share, Share
People might accidentally stumble upon your stream, but that’s not a good way to do things if you want to become a streamer in the long run.
No one knows that you started streaming, so it’s your job to spread the word!
Whether that’s paid to advertise on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or sharing your content (stream links, highlights, and whatnot) on Reddit depends on your own approach. Sometimes it’s best to start things off by doing something unique that attracts attention – like giveaways or playing the game in a particular way.
After you’ve built a small fan base, then things will evolve with time organically, but you must create the initial “push” by yourself.