The last few years has seen the video game world take an interesting pivot due to the rise of live-streaming and Twitch.
Whereas people previously bought games and played them in their own time for entertainment, more and more gamers these days are finding entertainment in watching others play video games.
Now I never got the whole point of this. Why watch someone play a game when I could easily just play it myself?
Clearly I needed to chat to someone who is experienced with the live-streaming scene and what the whole deal is with Twitch, and luckily, I managed to do just that with gamer/TV host/Twitch streamer/Lenovo Legion ambassador/all around lovely person, Steph ‘Hex’ Bendixsen.
Much like myself, Steph also “never got the appeal of watching someone else play video games”. But having been a media pro for a number of years now, her impression of live-streaming and Twitch changed when she noticed the media shift from TV to online, particularly among younger audiences.
They can subscribe to a YouTube channel from a YouTuber they like, they can subscribe to Twitch streamers who create content that appeals to them, and they can watch shows from subscription services they pay for. They’re watching content specifically catered to their own personal interests.
And it is this shift towards tailored content that makes Twitch such a rapidly growing platform for those who want gaming content:
Twitch is a way to consume gaming content around something you really love, hang out with someone in your bedroom while you’re doing other things, and sharing social interactions with people you get to [gradually] know. The more I did it, the more I started to realise what a wonderful community [Twitch] is.
For Steph, some of her favourite moments have come not during the playing of games but before she even goes live and there are people in the chatroom are just conversing and catching up.
It’s just this wonderful community that exists whether I’m there or not. And it’s kind of awesome that these people met through me, and although I’m there and we have a good time, it’s kind of its own beast and wonderful.
Who said that there can’t be heartwarming moments on the internet?
Now at this point, having been given a lowdown on what the deal is with Twitch, I decided to ask Steph for some advice and general tips on how would one go about becoming a Twitch streamer since it is a growing community in Australia.
As it turns out, there’s a lot more to it than worrying about what you’re going to look like on camera, what you’re going to say, or what game you want to play:
1. Have at least one day where you can stream regularly
If you want to grow your audience, make sure that you have at least one guaranteed time where your fans can check in and know you’re there.
Nothing worse than audiences not knowing when they can tune into your shenanigans.
2. Get some good gear and don’t cheap out (too much)
Having previously “Frankensteined” her setup with various bits and pieces, Steph says she faced a number of stability and technical issues. But after becoming a Lenovo Legion ANZ Ambassador, her Twitch setup is now much more streamlined with every bit her gaming equipment being compatible with one another. So in short, make sure your gear and hardware is good and works properly.
No one wants to watch you spend 10 minutes trying to hot fix some weird issue because you were too cheap to buy a decent microphone or camera.
3. Juicy, juicy NBN
Since Australia is still sadly lagging behind in internet speeds, regular ADSL2 isn’t going to cut it for streaming. You’re gonna need some NBN if you want to ensure your broadcast is watchable. If you live in an area where there’s no NBN, sorry, you’re out of luck.
The other option is to stream using 4G mobile networks, but that’s super expensive and you don’t wanna drain your hardware budget for that.
Don’t take these tips as a surefire way to make you the next Ninja though. The path to becoming a successful streamer is long and hard, so treat this advice from Steph as stepping stones rather than gospel.
Regardless of whether you want to be a video game streamer, to watch other people play games for your own entertainment, or still don’t completely get the whole live-streaming thing, there’s no denying that Twitch is definitely a big deal nowadays.
And besides, we live in a time when sexy female Bowser is an actual thing, so watching people play video games as entertainment doesn’t seem that ridiculous at all.