Innovation on the Twitch Hype Train

 

Guest contributor R0B0TS seeks to create something new on Twitch.tv (You can catch his stream and chat him up at the bottom of the article!)

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With an announced purchase by Amazon.com earlier this year, it became apparent to everyone, if it wasn’t already, that Twitch.tv was a big deal.

With over a million (Yes, you read that right – 1,000,000) unique broadcasters twitch is exploding.

The ease of setting up free software on a PC, or the built in support in either an Xbox One or PS4 to send your current gameplay live into the internet makes joining these ranks an easy proposition.  And the rising fame of video game streamers who make enough to stream full-time creates a massive appeal to at least try and see what happens.

Currently, there is a large gulf between the popular established casters and the unwashed masses.  It’s a sort of class stratification. Either you’re one of the 1% who, through a combination of skill, hard work, entertainment and lucky timing jumped in early enough and stuck with it to build a gigantic audience or you’re the 99% who fill the rest of the search result list with less than 100 concurrent viewers, and most likely between 1 and 5.

The big questions on every new caster’s mind are – Am I too late?  Is it still possible to grow a channel into something large enough to make this a full-time gig?  If so, how?

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The common bits of wisdom floating around in places like reddit.com/r/twitch are things like: Make a schedule and stick to it, create a theme, talk constantly and especially to your audience, be yourself but be entertaining, do it because you love it not because you’re trying to make money, get a good mic and webcam, don’t stream over-saturated games, and do giveaways if you want but be careful that the audience might not stick around.

These are all wonderfully helpful concepts for a new streamer, but if everyone seems to be doing these same exact things how are they supposed to stand out from the crowd?

Where is the innovation?

With all of this in mind I made some mental notes about what everyone was doing and nobody was doing and how to switch it up and stand out.

Everyone has a slick Photoshop polished look to their art design and theme, so I went with a rough vintage sci-fi look.

Many casters who play music tend to lean toward dubstep or rock, so I play swing jazz and it fits the vintage theme. My viewers notice and comment that they love it, even asking about songs and artists from music that’s 80 years old.

Many casters give out loyalty points to use in fun ways in their channel, so I decided to give out not only loyalty points “nanobots” but also experience points “megabots” so that they can upgrade themselves to higher and higher “bots” as they spend more time in the channel.

Here’s something I believe might be an absolute first on twitch – commands that trigger images on screen. The partnered streamers get their own emoji for their subscribers to use in chat. I’m not a partnered streamer yet, so with the help of a friend we created a chat bot that allows for on screen images to be triggered by chat commands.  For example, when someone types !win it triggers a gif of a happy jumping jello guy on the screen. There are dozens more and many unlock as you level up.

These aren’t the only ideas in the pipeline, either.

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The info I’m about to share is not to brag or make this all about numbers, but to point out that a combination of following advice and innovation seems to be working – so far at least.  I know of other streamers who have grown faster, and many many more who haven’t. Have I just been fortunate so far? Time will tell.

How can I measure the effectiveness of my decisions?  Well, three months ago I was lucky to have 6 concurrent viewers, 2 months ago 20, last month I watched as the average number of concurrent viewers jumped up to over 40.

Most recently I’ve had a few streams now with over 100 concurrent viewers and the number of followers in my channel has doubled in the last 4 weeks from around 800 to over 1,700.

In the end, this is still a hobby first and only a glimmer of a potential career option.  Playing games and managing a community full-time would be amazing, but I’m not holding my breath.

But here’s what it really comes down to. I wouldn’t still be casting every day if it weren’t for the awesome people I’ve met who keep me company in chat and share in my !wins and !fails. If it weren’t for them there’d be no point in working to grow a channel. I’m not here to cultivate an audience of trolls. No potential future career is worth that.

It’s the friendships born out of this that keep me going, innovating, and hoping to build this into something more. They’re the reason I boot up these computers every day, turn on the lights, the camera, and lay waste to hordes and hordes of terrible bad guys.

-R0B0TS

Find more about R0B0TS at:
Twitch (twitch.tv/r0b0ts)
Twitter (@r0b0tsreviews)
Facebook (facebook.com/r0b0tsreviews)
Youtube (youtube.com/channel/UCRtCSeN1UrmgTvZiRkMPeHw)

Watch live video from R0B0TS on www.twitch.tv

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