Let me introduce you to the most-common types of streamers you’ll find on Twitch. It’s important to find your “niche” or genre of games early on as you establish the identity of your brand. You gotta know where you’re going so we can develop a plan to help you get there!
The follow-up to this article will be to introduce you you to the concept of “Tiers of streamers” , which is an advanced topic that’ll be covered in-depth later.
Here are a few generic streamer types that came to mind:
- FPS and war action – CS:GO and CoD and World of Tanks
- RTS – Starcraft
- MOBA – LoL/DOTA/Smite
- Arcade and Retro – old fighting games and old console titles
- Cosplay streamers
- MMO addicts
- RPG and Dungeon general streamers – Diablo/Path of Exile
- Survivalists – DayZ and Don’t Starve and 7 Days to Die
- Card games/Casual – Hearthstone and Magic
- Sports and racing
- Builders – Minecraft
- Dark Arts – Dark Souls and horror games
- True Variety Streamers w/ randomized games and everything else
Many streamers go through phases, but those are some over-generalized examples. I don’t have time to cover all of those. You could spend weeks talking about Speedrunners alone. For the purposes of this guide, let’s focus in on two big groups of streamers: Variety Streamers and Single-Game Streamers.
The Variety Streamer
These either play whatever they have, whatever they feel like playing, or whatever has the current hype.
Within the category of variety streamers, you’re still going to have people who have specialties. For example… some may say… “I play the three S’s. Space, Sims, and Survival” or “My bread and butter are futuristic MMOs”.
As a beginning streamer, you’re in a difficult position with variety streaming, because often the games that are new are still crowded by the big dogs. And maybe by the time the game category clears out enough for you to have a shot of showing up on the first page, the audiences have seen so much of it on Twitch that they’re tired of the game and want to see something else. You want to show up high enough in the game category that you’re getting “foot traffic”, so that may mean being more selective on the types of games you play.
Sometimes it’s better to make your game rotation older or classic games, that still have a following on Steam/Reddit and still have people that appreciate it, but have long-since fallen off Twitch. It’s always good to see streamers bring back classic games, and you have a much better shot of being successful with retro/older games than trying to compete directly with some games and larger streamers.
Mid-to-large size variety streamers often play a delicate hype-dance. This dance is basically…
- Research and find the new games coming out
- Try to determine the hype level for the upcoming games
- Try to get connections with the game companies to get earlier access to the title
- If earlier access isn’t available, try to determine how far behind the curve they should stream it, as it’s often pointless to try and stream ON launch day due to both larger streamers taking the top slots OR general launch day issues
- Finally, when the time is right 2-3 days after launch day… stream the game, judge the hype and follows from SocialBlade.com or other stats, and determine how many days they’re willing to invest in the game. And judge if the game is still fun for everyone.
- Make the judgement each day in what to play, asking yourself: Is this still going to be fun, will I get follows playing this over other things, and with my estimated audience, where will I be on the game’s top charts? (Top row preferred, always)
Games in general don’t last very long on Twitch anymore. Often, the longevity is determined by replayability of the titles. An MMO or Sandbox game has a much longer lifespan than a story-based game which can be finished in one or two days of gametime.
(The above is an over-simplified view of something we call “Game Theory”, a topic that I’d like to explore in more depth soon with actual research data. This is not comprehensive on the topic.)
These streamers are usually either professionals, who compete at a high level of the game, or have no desire to game-hop and are passionate about their one game they play all the time, or maybe are employed/sponsored by a game company.
The most common way you’ll see this if if you go to the League of Legends, DOTA2, Hearthstone, or Starcraft II game categories. Because many of the top streams in those categories SPECIALIZE in those games and do nothing else.
You don’t actually have to be that interactive, entertaining, or helpful to your audience if you’re the best in the world at something. People will show up just to see top-end gameplay. If you’re known at winning world championships in something and it’s known that you have a Twitch, you have an instant audience. That’s how many of these people stay relevant.
But as a beginning streamer, who only has interest in one game, what advice can I give you… Hmm..
My first piece of advice would to be very good at the single game you play, because your audience will expect you to. Go enter some competitions. Practice. Write guides. Make YouTube tutorial videos. Drive traffic any way you can.
I guess the key thing is moving up the “tiers”, and appear higher and higher on the game’s category list. Hopefully, you’re moving up because your base of followers is growing, not because the game is sinking in viewers overall. And yes, that does imply that single-game streaming only works on the LARGE, dedicated, high-replayability games, such as a MOBA.