What makes a good livestream?Sat 21st Jan 2012 - 12:47pm Category: Blog
What makes for a good gaming stream?
As many gamers know, the popularity of streaming has picked up immensely in the past few years. Once limited only to broadcasts by large eSports organizations or tournament organizers, companies such as own3d.tv, twitch.tv, or xfire now allow for anyone with a decent-enough rig and steady internet to stream their gameplay to millions of potential viewers online. In the world of RTS/MOBAs, streaming has become a prominent feature of the communities of such games as League of Legends or Starcraft II. Professional gamers, with the aid of supplemental programs such as IRC, have direct, live fan interaction and discussion. Vibrant personalities and exciting casters have also emerged due to the growth of online videogame streams, and as a result, both competitive and casual gaming have been thrust into the public spotlight.
Starcraft II streams are popular amongst both competitive and non-competitive fanbases.
Even though your average gamer can stream their gameplay, large viewerships come from having a combination of factors that keep people constantly engaged. Here are a few basic tips for aspiring streamers to begin creating a solid fanbase that regularly tunes in every time you log on:
-Advertise, advertise, advertise. I'm not talking about spam messaging an IRC channel or flooding gaming forums with so many posts moderators will take offense. However, you need a public image of some sort, so sporadic posting on such aforementioned gaming forums, as well as sites such as reddit, serve as useful places to get started. Though many of the big name streamers are known because of their eSports statuses, there are still large viewerships concentrated around solid, casual streams that do not necessarily cater to competitive gaming. Gaining viewership is like marketing: try to add a wrinkle to your stream that keeps people interested and makes you stand out from the pack, and then seal the deal with entertaining gameplay and whatever suits your personality best.
-Keep your audience engaged. This means “good” music if you decide to stream music while gaming, interaction with viewers in the form of answers IRC questions or custom games, and commentary that demonstrates unique knowledge or mastery of the game. One such popular League of Legends streamer, Guardsman Bob, has a large non-competitive fan base due to his laid-back nature, variation in music, and live commentary on his own gameplay, in which he highlights his mistakes as well as those viewers who play with him. This creates a learning experience like no other and such a unique facet of streaming and interaction keep viewers coming back for more.
Guardsman Bob, being well, Guardsman Bob.
-Chin up, look sharp. Many streamers utilize a webcam and microphone, so viewers can clearly (and hear) see emotions and attitudes. While raging on streams produces many hilarious moments (see HotshotGG's infamous Nunu rage), viewers ultimately expect some sort of professionalism, and raging too hard and too often gives off a negative impression. So if you have your webcam running and start ripping things to shreds, while it'll be undoubtedly funny to many people, you run the risk of turning off viewers who hoped to see aspects that would better their gameplay. However, this does not mean you cannot have classic, non-raging moments on your stream (see SleepshotGG).
-Evolve your gameplay. This is probably the number one reason why people tune into gaming streams in the first place, and why streams particularly in the MOBA and RTS genres remain so popular. Not doing well with a particular build? Seek advice and try it out in front of everyone. Take criticism of why something isn't working, or if something is working, explain why it works. You stream because you have a passion for a particular game, and are willing to share your knowledge, or accept knowledge from others. Not only will you improve as a player by evolving and bettering your gameplay, but your viewers may learn a thing or two as well and the community will become better as a whole.
These are only a few key points to advance your streaming and hopefully, gain a fan base or numerous consistent viewers in the process. On a more personal note, I do stream BF3/LoL occasionally as well, and you can find the link to my stream here. Hopefully, this helps get you off on a solid start and good luck with streaming your gameplay online!