For streamers, the challenge is to make their channel stand out from the hefty crowd, and with Twitch playing host to around 1 million unique broadcasters a month during 2014, getting noticed is no easy feat. Streaming is a very competitive business and it takes a lot of effort and guile to keep the audience engaged and the viewership growing.
It’s usually a fresh idea that gets an audience growing but the vast amount of broadcasters it’s hard to be noticed. A good recent example of playing outside the box was “TwitchPlaysPokemon”. The channel allowed gamers to watch a full playthrough of Pokemon Red by inputting commands into the stream chat. It took 16 long days of sporadic commands, from 120,000 users, to finally beat the Elite Four but it became a thought provoking experiment for many (even those that didn’t take part).
The three most popular games on Twitch are, and have been for a long time, League of Legends, Starcraft II and Dota 2. These are all cornerstones of competitive PC gaming so it’s hardly surprising that the output reflect the games popularity. However, the launch of the current console generation has seen many PlayStation 4 and Xbox One exclusives taking a seat at the table. Because broadcasting can be particularly casual it’s easy to grab a few viewers or to see how a game plays before picking it up yourself – it’s more difficult to make it into the big time. Most serious Twitch channels are expressed through Twitter as well as Facebook and Reddit. The PlayStation and Xbox One crowds have added 1 million additional broadcasters to these numbers so we can only expect for the volume of channels to get even bigger.
Personally, I don’t think streaming works as a substitution to playing games but rather an addition to make gaming even more fund.
Streams like TheJustinFlynn has over 70,000 followers and is one of the most prominent success stories to come out of the medium. In fact broadcaster Justine Flynn, an aspiring Pokemon X and Y pro has used Twitch to teach others the mechanics of the title and its deep battle systems. It’s not being used to make him a better player, but also his audience.
Another well-known channel ManVsGame, from Jayson Love, now has 140,000 Twitch followers that watch him beat particularly difficult games. His stream has seen him conquer the Dead Space series, Splinter Cell: Blacklist and, more recently, Outlast on its highest setting. It sounds like every gamers dream to play games and to make them fun but, and Jayson shows this, you need a certain amount of charisma to keep the crowds entertained – and therefore coming back for more.
The more Internet traffic shown to Twitch, the more views and channels are bound to come up. Rajakaru Games are now streaming – not excessively – as are many other publications. It’s a great concept that has made the founders a whole lot of money, and many more gamers very, very happy.
Do you stream? Do you watch Twitch? If so please let us know your thoughts below. In fact, if you have an aversion to Twitch please also let us know why.