Keeping Audiences Entertained When Streaming Is Harder Than It Looks

Over the last year, a lot of people have been working from home or stuck indoors for most of the day. While this is obviously not ideal, one silver lining is that you can listen to more music and podcasts, or have a Twitch streamer or TV show open on a second screen. There’s always something to keep yourself entertained while the world falls apart outside.

I’ve been aware of Twitch for years but never really used it until last year, when I’d have Twitch open on my phone while plugging away at my dissertation. My housemates pointed out that I loved to talk to them and explain what I was doing while I played, so I should also give streaming a go. It. Is. Hard.

I started out by streaming my first playthrough of The Last of Us Part 2 and it went pretty well, all of my mates followed me and even some strangers did. I also cried on stream, a lot. That was back in the summer when it first came out. Then my final uni push was on top of me so I had to give it a break until about October time. I was streaming Dark Souls from my PS4 and the chat delay was killing all my interactions, so I set up Streamlabs on my laptop and played the only thing it could run – Pokemon rom hacks.

Now that I was on my laptop I was closer to the camera, could interact with chat live, and had a nice little overlay – everything was looking a lot more professional. I decided to try streaming two days a week. I currently stream Renegade Platinum, a hack of Platinum that makes the game a lot harder and adds more Pokemon and move variety, it’s a great game. I was grinding a lot – something every Pokemon fan is familiar with – and realised there was so much empty air I had to fill. Even with a pretty active chat, I had to talk constantly to avoid awkward silences. I added background music to my streams to prevent this, but the talking alone was incredibly draining. It made me really appreciate how creative and energetic streamers who go for eight hours or more at a time are, I could barely manage a couple of hours some days.

I’ve always respected streaming as a full-time job. I grew up watching YouTube stars become celebrities and millionaires off the back off their own creativity, so hats off to the new generation to do it. What I’d never realised is just how hard it is to constantly have to think to myself “am I being entertaining? Is this good content? Am I having fun playing this game right now?” There’s also all the extra stuff that I – as a casual Twitch viewer – had never even considered. I need to add channel emotes, custom notifications, all the bells and whistles that actually make a stream stand out from the rest.

I don’t think you have to be good at playing video games to be a good streamer, but you do have to be entertaining. While I may enjoy telling my friends about the boss I just beat or chatting in a party while playing Outriders, my streaming skills definitely need a lot of work.

Next: Bloodborne Streamers Hit With DMCA Takedowns, Claims The Entire Soundtrack Is A Song Called “Vigor (Ft. Jet Engine)”

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Issy is an avid film lover, writer, and game-player based in the UK. He combines his love of film and games in his writing, trying to find as many connections between the two mediums as possible. When he’s not writing, playing, or watching, Issy loves to DJ and look after his growing collection of houseplants, as they make him feel more adult.

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