Wednesday, June 14, 2017

How to Be a Video Game Streamer Part 4: The Hard Truth


If you've been following along so far, good for you! You are on your way to setting up and running your own gaming channel. And if you haven't, be sure to check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 to start your journey.

Streaming and creating videos about you playing video games can be a lot of fun. And a lot of hard work.

What if your channel doesn't take off? What if you don't get tens of thousands of subscribers to your Twitch feed? What if you don't get any donations so you can quit your day job and do this full time?

Welcome to the reality check. Part 4 is going to focus on The Hard Truth. And what is that truth?

Not everyone can be internet famous.

That may seem obvious, given the billions of videos that are on YouTube right now, and many have no views. But when you are gearing up and jumping into streaming for the first time, you're excited! You are doing your best and giving it your all, knowing, and hoping, that you'll make money to do it full time. You don't think about how there are already thousands of well known streamers that people already donate to monthly and won't be able to give money to others. You don't think about the other hundred's of thousands of streamers (yes, there are that many now) who do this day in and day out and never gain new fans. You don't think about how competitive the market is for streaming to obtain viewers in hopes to get their attention, and their money. You just want this to work and have fun doing it.

"Streaming is so easy," they say. It's not.

For every one successful Markplier you have a hundred thousand streamers that have 0-10 followers and no reach. Being internet famous is no different then Hollywood famous. There are millions of actors and actresses in the world, but only a handful reach that notoriety of being infamous where we know their names. And being famous is completely random! Sometimes it's from hard work. Other times you catch a lucky break and another famous person/streamer talks about you and bam! You're on the front page. More often then not, fame is accidental. It happens when it happens and you can't guarantee it. Otherwise, we'd all be internet famous and no one would be making money from streaming.

Fame can also be fleeting. For those who were able to grab onto that 15 minutes, they worked hard to keep it. Most people will let it slide and your fame is gone. It's here and out the door a moment later.

What I'm getting at is, you may not be famous from streaming. You may not reach the same level of success as PewDiePie. And that's okay! You don't have to be like the others to enjoy streaming.

One of the best ways to keep yourself from falling into pits where you feel like you're failing, is to set modest goals. Be humble. Be yourself. And be honest with your work. Don't try to aim for 100,000 subscribers in your first month on YouTube. Go for 10. As your fan-base grows, so can your goals.

And while you are being honest, think about your personality. Are you a likeable person? Do others find you funny or entertaining? Do people enjoy being around you because of your comedic nature? It can be very difficult to force comedy. If you don't practice daily, you better have a natural talent for being charming. Audiences don't want to watch a streamer who is "faking it." They want genuine people with natural charisma to latch onto. The streamers that are successful are the ones that are the most like their real-world selves and not characters. If you don't have that natural draw, then streaming may not be a good fit for you.

Does that mean you shouldn't stream? No. If you enjoy it, do it! I don't have thousands of fans, but I still like to stream, I still have people that follow, and we have a great time chatting with each other. My goals are very modest and I don't expect to get monthly donations. All I want out of streaming is to have fun and meet new people through gaming. If it means that some days I talk to the void and no one is watching, that's fine. There are other days where I get a full house of viewers it's a great time!

Now it's not all doom and gloom. If you do want to play games for a living, and get paid for it, there is another route to take that many "streamer" articles overlook: Quality Assurance. Game studios are always looking for people to test their products. Your job is to play these games to find problems that need to be fixed. You are getting paid to break games. If you are the type of person who is inquisitive, that likes to find new ways to play a game, and have people tell you that you are a perfectionist, you'd probably make a good QA. This can range from studio to studio on the types of positions that are available. Some only hire QA's as needed for temporary work. Others need full-time QA's (MMO's and MOBA's).

Hours can range, and sometimes the studios are pretty flexible with you so if you need to work a second job or go to school for day classes, you can. And in a number of cases, your temporary QA job could lead to a permanent position. A number of today's gaming developers will tell you that QA is a good start into this job market. It gives you baseline experience in the development world. Yes, you'll have a boss. Yes you'll have to follow the company's rules. But you know what's awesome about it? A steady paycheck. And some companies will offer temporary insurance for QA! YouTube can't give you that. If you want to have a career in game design, this is a good route to go.

Well, I hope you found this 4 Part series helpful on your journey to become a video game streamer. Remember, be humble. Be honest. And find what you love about streaming and hold onto it. Don't lose that feeling; it will help you get through the hard work. Oh, and don't forget who gave you all this helpful advice should you become internet famous.

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