Is Twitch Hopelessly Oversaturated?
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A common train of thought when it comes to streaming, in particular streaming over Twitch, is that the hobby is oversaturated. Despite this, there are plenty of streamers who, day after day, play in hopes of finding an audience. That is extremely admirable and a testament to the human spirit. But there may not be a need to hope against hope. Maybe there is a way to find more success.

Streamers are listed according to the games they are playing. The streamers with the most views are placed at the top of the list of people playing a particular game and it is the tendency of a viewer to select a channel closer to the top. It isn’t unlike the tendency of a person to stick to the first page of Google search results. Near the bottom of the list, there are plenty of people streaming with no viewers at all. As a result, just a few viewers can seriously impact your chances of finding more. There is a bit of a snowball effect. But how do you get those viewers?

Well, the first route is to avoid playing the most popular games on Twitch since those lists of streamers are going to a long journey from the bottom. An easier way to think of it is this: some games are oversaturated. The best way to climb these lists are to have a high degree of skill, and even then it isn’t a guarantee that people will see them. In niches, you have a better chance.

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Personally, when I want to watch people playing a classic RPG, I am inclined to check out a large portion of the streamers available to see what is on offer. If I like them, I follow. I get notifications. That means that the streamers I like have a better chance of attracting me to their stream in the future no matter what game they are playing. I tend to interact with them in chat and get a glimpse into their personality. A lot of streamers state that the appeal in their channel is based on their humor and the way they engage the chat but if there is no chat, then the engagement all but disappears. It is also a fact that most people try to engage their chat. It isn’t that unique a quality and it isn’t a great way to stand out.

Beyond niche titles, which can steadily increase your follower count, what is important? A lot of streamers invest in gear and meticulously design their layouts to create a professional appeal. There is certainly value in that but it isn’t as important as you might think. In terms of gear, the best investment is in a decent microphone. Even in film, sound quality is more important than visual quality. It is why we have been able to watch blurry video streams for years but bad audio is grating and more likely to break immersion. In regards to layout, plenty of streamers can make it with a very minimalistic approach. It isn’t initially worth it to spend a lot of time stressing over these details.

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Twitch’s communities are another good way to gain some momentum with your audience. Not only do you appear under specific games but the community tags also offer some visibility. If you have a catchy or detailed title for your stream, you might just bring in people that way. Have fun, don’t force quiet viewers to engage with you, and try to show your passion for a game. They might just come back. And, on the subject of community, it is helpful to pay it forward. Watch other streams and engage with them. Follow them, become friends, and they might just follow back. Just don’t use people in the interest of networking.

Even a few viewers can make streaming feel more fun. It certainly makes it feel less lonely. If you are streaming in order to make your time gaming feel like less of a waste of time, this can inject a pleasant social element to it. These early followers are the most important. Even a handful will give you more visibility. So, yes, Twitch is technically more saturated than it was but you don’t have to give up hope. There is still plenty of potential for you to enjoy this popular hobby.

Benjamin Maltbie
Benjamin Maltbie

Contributing Writer
Date: 10/30/2018

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