10 Twitch Myths Debunked… And How To Twitch (In Simple Terms)

Before we jump into this quick and dirty article, I want to be clear on a few things:

  1. I detest list posts but I realize that the ADD is real and people are “too busy” these days.  I appreciate that lists are easier to read but I find them lazy.  Just my opinion.
  2. I’m not a partnered Twitch streamer (yet) but that’s more a matter of priorities than knowledge.  I am a NISM-certified social media strategist so the info here is no mere speculation.

That said, I hope this list will entertain and perhaps help our fellow Twitch streamers step their game up.  More importantly, we want to provide a perspective that will make Twitch less intimidating and more useful, fun, and, well, doable.  If you are looking for a more detailed guide on how succeed on Twitch and social media, check out our unofficial Twitch/Social Media strategy guide (a.k.a. grow your audience). Here are the Twitch myths debunked and the truths revealed..  In no particular order!

1.  Google Purchased Twitch For One Billion Dollars [Cash]

Okay, let’s be very clear here.  The total amount of the Google acquisition of Twitch has not yet been confirmed and it certainly wasn’t when this was breaking news.  The original offer was for 1B but Google has not commented on the deal details thereof.  Anyone who says otherwise is full of it.  Even VentureBeat has offered “he said, she said” details and very shaky confirmations.  A rule of thumb on journalism is that, if anyone does not provide a solid source or says “basically” (or something to that effect), they are speculating, blatantly lying, or sharing an opinion.

That said, the deal is easily worth one billion dollars.  It is not known if this deal was done in cash or as a package with stock options and such.  Some media outlets have mentioned that this was a cash deal but do not back up the details.  SMH..  The real news here is what this means to Twitch streamers that are NOT part of the 1%.

Google Buys Twitch For Around 1 Billion

It’s worth noting that Google realized they could not win the fight between YouTube and Twitch, so they bought them out.  This is just more of their continued 30B shopping spree..  Because Google.  Is this a move to mitigate potential threats or do they have real plans to improve Twitch?  I remain hopeful but I am prepared for the worst.  Let’s not forget the acquisitions Google killed off in the past.  Of course, if there is any company with the resources to make big things happen for Twitch, it’s Google…  Right?

We reckon that it’s possible this deal has not been finalized..  And that someone might buy Twitch out from under Google.  Who has that media buying power?  Microsoft, EA, AOL, Time-Warner, Amazon, Viacom…  Hmmmm….  Check back with the GANG and we’ll keep you posted on that.  Regardless, be wary of media misinformation and fake news sites.

2.  You Need An Nvidia Graphics Card/Processor

Nvidia seems to be favored heavily amongst gamers but it’s not necessarily the best nor is it required.  Shadow Play does allow for much easier native streaming but AMD, formerly ATI, products are still solid and may provide a more budget solution with great compatibility.  Along with a solid PSU and CPU, a graphics accelerator is a must for streaming video but don’t feel pressured to get Nvidia specifically.  Look at the benchmarks and you’ll find the differences is are too subtle to warrant price differences.

On a similar note, don’t be afraid to share your gaming rig specs with your viewers.  Some folks may only acknowledge bleeding-edge technology but there is such a thing as overkill.  If your kit suits your needs, don’t worry about the rest.  Note that if you generally play indie or retro games, the system requirements are significantly lower.  Your rig will grow alongside your rig so no worries!

I will say that audio quality trumps video quality every time.  If your audio pops or is inconsistent, ears will bleed and people will leave.  Note that some people will only listen to the audio of your stream while they multitask.  This places a greater importance on a quality microphone.

3.  You Should Stream Popular Games Only

These days it seems like everyone streams League Of Legends.  That’s a great game to add to your stable of offerings but we recommend playing more niche titles.  At any given time, there are at least 1000 LoL streamers so the space is quite saturated.  You have to offer something very special for LoL to be part of a sustainable streaming strategy.

Indie titles and games that allow for easy viewer interaction/participation are usually best.  For example, Choice Chamber and Cards Against Humanity both offer deep interaction with your Twitch viewers with the latter allowing for big games, whereas LoL really limits how many people you can play with at once.  If you like the MOBA and ARTS style, there is still opportunity in popular yet less-streamed games such as Guardians Of Middle Earth, Dawngate, Smite, and Tome.

The beauty of streaming games that have little to no presence on Twitch is that you can work with the developers to be featured in-game or on their social channels.  They love the promotion and will often hook you up by promoting your channel, sending you freebies, or giving you work.  With League Of Legends, the competition is just too heavy unless you are part of the fortunate 1-5% that has timing, contacts, and/or professional gaming on their side.

4.  Twitch Only Partners Streamers With Lots Of Viewers

I hear so much talk about the minimum milestones and conditions necessary for Twitch to consider you for their partners program.  It’s all bunk.  Here’s why:

Twitch has and will make exceptions for streamers they find attractive in some way..  Even if the numbers are not there.

Maybe you have a great personality or you do other content that has garnered lots of attention.  They will consider that.  I know this because I have been to channels where there were 10-20 viewers and the person had a subscribe button.  I also know people that got sub buttons almost as soon as they started, just because they knew someone or got lucky.  Mind you, these same people had NO social media following or marketing background at all.

When you apply to be a Twitch Partner, you will have the opportunity to build your case.  Share links to your social channels, web sites, podcasts, videos, etc.  These will help you in a BIG way!  If you still get denied, don’t be discouraged.  Having a sub button is not an instawin..  But it’s nice.

Free Twitch Overlays - Twitch Templates

Before you spend money, try editing a Twitch overlay template or getting a simple freebie.

5.  Professional Overlays Are A MUST

A video overlay (the stuff that shows on top of the gameplay video) is one of the first things people will notice when browsing new channels, alongside a face cam and any sort of branding you share.  While you could pay someone to have a professional layout/overlay created, it is not recommended to boot.  It is best to get into a routine with your stream and find what works best for you before investing too much money into it.

If you pace yourself, you’ll find that people will donate and support your channel if you engage them and/or offer unique content.  These donations can then be re-invested to upgrade your rig, purchase new games to stream, improve your branding, or just save for a rainy day.  Don’t rush things – you’ll get there!  A Twitch channel is a constantly-evolving thing so enjoy it at every step of the way.

It’s also important to note that a lot of the overlays out there are overkill.  There’s no reason for your webcam or any other assets to take up 33-50% of your layout.  Some people, believe it or not, want to watch the actual gameplay.  This Wildstar overlay from Dexter_BL commits a lot of Twitch sins:

  1. It takes the focus away from the core of the experience – the gameplay.
  2. It slaps people in the face by trying to show off a nice house/apartment/flat.

This particular overlay is likely going for the LAN party effect but it’s a bit much, regardless.  I have seen people showing off their setups overtly and it’s quite obvious, materialistic, and silly.  I’ve heard from countless Twitch viewers that they feel this practice just shoves success in their faces and makes them want to support the stream less.  I would agree.

wildstar-dexter_bl-twitch-streamer-wildstar-serious-gaming-twitch-team

Too much Twitch overlay dedicated to fancy junk. Where’s the gameplay??

6.  Video Quality Is The Most Important Thing

Wrong.  Wrong.  WRONG.

People don’t see video quality when browsing channels (they do see your title though *HINT-HINT*) and, in the first few seconds of being in your channel, what they will notice is your skills in the game and your personality.  If either are what they seek, less than awesome video quality will not take away from the overall experience.  There are people that insist on streaming at 1080p 60 FPS or some other silliness but it’s overkill and most people will downscale your quality to suit mobile devices or avoid having their bandwidth throttled.

I am not saying that aiming for better video quality is not a good goal but don’t become obsessed with it.  When it comes to overall stream quality, it’s best to have smooth video than high-resolution.  You’ll have to play with the bit rate, CRF, buffer sizes, and other items to get it just right.  Be patient and, again, don’t be discouraged if you get the occasional elitist that says your video quality sucks.

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The HONEST Way To Succeed With Twitch.. And Social Media

The #1 article on Google Search for “succeeding on Twitch” is now here at http://geekyantics.net/blog – thank you all for your wonderful support and encouragement! We’re glad we can help non-partnered streamers level the playing field and find advice that isn’t your typical canned messaging and tech talk. There’s far more to streaming on Twitch than overlays, technology, and your games of choice, friends.  Stay tuned for more articles regarding Twitch, online businesses, and social media marketing!

UPDATE!  We’ve been featured on Gods Of Mayhem, The Angry Joe Show, IGN, and many popular Twitch channels.  Thank you for supporting our growing network and empowering us to help others and put out unique, useful, and fun content!  We are also one of the Top 10 results for “geeky network” on search engines.  Thank you all!

If you love what we have to say, please support our Twitch channels and other projects:

  • Geeky Antics Stream Team – Support these folks because they are awesome, friendly, and engaging.. Yes, even that salty dog ObioneX2 is lovable and fun to hang out with, once you get to know him. #TheGANG
  • ShinyPrints.com – One of our biggest sponsors and clients.  They help me, Yomar a.k.a. Yogizilla, work from home so I can be with my family and run the GeekyAntics network.  Check out their wedding photo frames and design templates.  Artists and photographers will be surprised just how much better and cost-effective metal prints and wall art can be – PLUS they are built to last and you don’t need a mount!
  • GeekyAntics – One of the FIRST channels to establish a podcasting stream team and do gaming talk shows..  WAY before there was even a category for it!
  • TheWorstRadioShow – Literally THE worst radio show out there.. And we love them for it!  Part of our beloved stream team and podcast network, affectionately called #TheGANG.  Check out other great WRS Media projects like Podcast Infinity and Dark Zone Podcast, too!
  • GamingDeath – One of the oldest REAL podcasts on Twitch.  Be sure to check them out as they are well-connected in the gaming industry and a hoot to listen to! #TheGANG
  • Yogizilla – People say I’m like Man Vs. Game but more engaging and better at the newb/scrub plays. I’ve also been told I am one of the friendliest, most authentic streamers around.. That means A LOT to me! #TheGANG #ThePodFather

SHOUT-OUTS to some more of my favorite streamers out there and the folks who have supported GeekyAntics wholeheartedly. The people that care about other people and do things the right way. Mnalicious, Linkwall, Cupcakeeenvy, xelyz, cannibalqueen2107, Yantzi, Maquannas, Poopybuttz, Obezianka, ShannaNina, and everyone else I can’t fit in one blog post (for the sake of brevity). Keep on keeping on – you guys ROCK! Tons of love for the collaborative souls out there!

With the impending doom that’s sure to come with the inevitable Google (or other mega-corporation) acquisition of Twitch, a lot of us in the GeekyAntics and AllGames communities are looking to step up our game on Twitch or at least keep our options open. After all, if we can cement ourselves as Twitch partners (certainly not the best or only growth path) and featured channels, why NOT do it on the “ground level”?  Unfortunately, Twitch streamers, like many social media enthusiasts, are looking for the magic bullet.

The magic bullet does not exist.

DISCLAIMER: These are my opinions based upon my experience as a NISM-certified social media strategist (I sit on their board of advisors too) and personal observations. I do not pretend to have all the answers nor is this guide the end-all on your quest for social media success.. but it’s a darn good start! It’s also worth noting that I am not partnered on Twitch because it has not been the focus on my network BUT having the #1 Twitch marketing/growth article out there should lend some credibility. *smirk*

Sure, there are some shortcuts and tips but it all comes down to the basics. We’ll get into that but here’s what one streamer recommends after becoming a Twitch partner in about a month’s time (this is very rare, by the way):

This is solid advice. Obezianka, like many of us in #TheGANG, really believes in the value of authenticity and engagement. Sadly, there is more to this puzzle than what is mentioned here because tons of people have high production value and consistency, yet they struggle to break 100 concurrent viewers; heck, some days 10 viewers is a blessing, amirite?

Even worse, people only see value in followers and views but there’s more to success than that.  Heck, there are tons of unremarkable channels that hit high numbers consistently yet have nothing special to offer.  It all comes down to this: What is success to YOU?  What REALLY drives you?

Let’s dig deep here. We’ll go through the best practices and the tried-and-true strategies we have uncovered from analyzing top streamers and first-hand experiences alike. Let’s do this!

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