There is something magical about the draw of a video game. As a young lad, I can vaguely remember waking up extra early on a Saturday morning to get to the family desktop before my siblings had a chance. The first game I really obsessed over was SimCity 2000. With a cold creaky wood floor under my feet and a wobbly monitor on top of an old card table I was transported into another world. I’ve since grown up with all sorts of legendary games, from the legend of Zelda and Super Mario on the console to Company of Heroes and Starcraft on the PC. Since that time, the gaming industry has taken off on unprecedented levels. From multi million dollar game releases to E-sports leagues there is now room for competitive professional gamers. There are even others that are making a name for themselves on non-competitive levels. Platforms like YouTube and Twitch foster good environments for these gaming entrepreneurs.
A streamer that I would like to talk about today is “Neuro” he has come up from nothing and has only recently been able to support himself completely with his Twitch stream. He details his reasoning and methods in his reddit post here.
Streaming is somewhat uncharted territory in terms of business models and best practices. What works for one streamer may not work for another and that way may not work for another.
1. Customer service.
I think the biggest things to keep in mind for any streamer are the customer base and acknowledging the initial workload. Every video game will have a different customer type and different behaviors along with that. Neuro seems to do a great job of checking in with his customer base. After every match he stops and answers questions. He gets a feel of the room and decides what type of match to play next. He will often ask for feedback if he had a problem that he cannot solve during the match. It is rare to be acknowledged in a chat room of over 500 people and my first question was answered within minutes. Neuro was in game when he did it. This is the devotion he gives to his customer base.
2. Set aside an hourly work goal.
Neuro stresses the fact that he works 60 to 70 hours a week. Any task can turn into a chore with that type of devotion. It is definitely important then to “embrace the grind” if you decide to do this type of work. Or as Neuro puts it, “you need to absolutely embrace the ever-loving shit out of the daily grind.” He really focuses on the basics because basics are what get you the most viewers. “High quality content supplied in the highest quantity you can give.”
It is important to note that there are other aspects that streamers pay close attention to in order to make their content professional. After all, if you spend 60-70 hours a week doing something you may as well do it properly right?
3. Use technology to polish your look.
Streamers will often create a green screen type back drop behind them so just their outline will show up in the rearfaceing camera. This makes it so you may see them while they play without the distraction of their messy room. They will create or find animations that trigger when a viewer subscribes or donates to their stream. I think this is essential for a thriving twitch stream. A simple animation creates a reward for a donation given. The animation signals to other streamers what you have done and allows the streamer to thank you. All of this compounds as positive feedback to the viewer.
4. Ask for something.
It is easy to set up your Twitch stream and just play without ever getting anything out of it. Provided you have developed good viewership, it is important to ask for the viewers to support you. Subscription and random donation for the content that you provide is essential. Set up your Patreon page and your donation system on Twitch. A cool idea that Neuro does is give an option to order him food for delivery.
A single person can only do the work of a single person. One thing I’ve seen Neuro and others doing is migrating viewers from one stream to a friends stream, doubling viewer size in some cases. Your own ingenuity is the limit in networking. Gain sponsors through clever marketing. Reach out to writers and companies to market their products, much like podcasters do. Grow and reach out in any way possible.
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