My Adventures In Twitch Streaming

March 3, 2022 Posted by Tyler Cruz

Twitch, the popular video game streaming website, has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years. It’s now one of the biggest websites on the Internet and is responsible for creating an entire new industry: video game streaming.

Twitch streamers will stream themselves playing video games, and viewers will tune in to watch their favourite skilled, funny, or otherwise entertaining players. Streamers can make money from video ads that display before their stream, or from donations made from the viewers themselves. In fact, popular streamers make a lot of money – the top can earn millions a year.

You don’t even need to be good at video games, either. If you’re funny, entertaining, or a good looking female, you can build up a big following as well.

As you may know, I love video games, and I love making money from doing things I love, so naturally I had to give Twitch a try…

Now, I knew going in that my chances of succeeding on Twitch were extremely low. I’m not a girl (although my arms say otherwise), I’m not exceptionally good at any video game, nor am I entertaining. I truly believe that you need to meet at least one of these 3 criteria if you want to succeed on Twitch.

I created two different channels. My first was a language learning channel where I streamed myself learning Vietnamese online. I used the free open-source recording and streaming software OBS, which is one (if not the most) popular options out there and customized my video feed with various overlays, dynamic live data from Streamlabs, and various scenes.

I also had a great setup with a good webcam and high quality microphone and mic studio arm. I was all set and ready to go.

At the time, I was studying Vietnamese since I had 3 Vietnamese homestay students with a 4th one coming to learn business accounting softwares, and thought I might as well try streaming since I was studying it online anyway. I knew that the channel likely wouldn’t take off, as just how interesting is it to watch somebody else try to learn a language? But I was curious what would happen, and so gave it a shot.

I streamed 2-3 times a day for a week with not much to show for it. Most of the time, I’d have 0-1 people watching me. At the peak, I had maybe 4-5. It’s simply just not interesting enough of a channel.

Gaming Channel

A few months after abandoning the language learning channel (I also gave up learning Vietnamese), I decided to try making a gaming channel. After all, that’s what Twitch is really for – video game streaming.

My channel was focused around the Blizzard FPS Overwatch and my documented attempt to improve my skill and rank. I was only a mediocre player (my high was around 2,800, but usually in Gold), but I was constantly analyzing my play and trying to discover my mistakes and bad plays and learn from them and improve. I thought some others may find the constant reflective analysis interesting, as well as to spot my progress over time.

I would stream mostly in the evening for an average of 2-3 hours a day.

This proved to be a more effective channel from my first one, but only marginally. I had only around 9 followers, with an average of 1-2 viewers per stream.

At one point, I switched from Overwatch to Starcraft (Broodwar), and immediately had about 8 people watching me live. But I felt far too nervous streaming Broodwar and having people watch me (since I’m a far better Broodwar player than I am Overwatch, but not good enough to justify watching), so I only streamed for a couple of games.

I think I streamed my gaming channel for about 2 weeks, possibly 3, with not anything to show for it.

My Gambling Idea

Before I even started my first language learning channel, I had an idea for one that I really wanted to try, but felt that it might be against Twitch’s terms of service.

I read through their terms and couldn’t find anything that said my idea wouldn’t be allowed, but my instinct was that it would get shut down and I didn’t want to invest a lot of time and money into it if it would just be closed down the road.

I contacted their support to ask if it was allowed, and about 3-4 weeks later I finally got a reply saying that it was a gray area and they weren’t sure, but that if I felt unsure about it to err on the side of caution.

My idea was to buy a TON of scratch and win lottery tickets and then scratch them all off on camera. That’s it.

I could then even agree to give donators a portion of the ticket’s winnings… as an added incentive for them to donate and cheer me on. Any half-decent win on a ticket would be exciting, and any big win would likely go viral and bring in a lot of viewers.

I still believe that this is a great idea for a channel, I’m still just scared that it’d be shut down. The math would be interesting to work out too. For example, let’s say I run a -50% ROI on the tickets, so for every $200 I spend on tickets, I make $100 back, losing $100. Obviously you will lose in the long run – I expect that, but stick with me…

$200 in tickets would give me 10 $20 tickets. If I chose the real slow tickets, such as bingo or crossword puzzles, they can take 30-minutes to scratch… which  could be stretched out to 45-minutes when streaming. At 10 tickets, that works out to 7.5 hours of content… okay, so let’s be more conservative and say we buy 6 $30 tickets for $180. That works out to 4.5 hours of content, which would be enough for 1 day of streaming. And with our -50% ROI, we can expect to lose $90 for the day.

So, as long as I can make back more than $90 a day from the stream, I’ll be in the black. And this is with $30 tickets… if I did it with $10 tickets I’d need to make just over $30 per stream to be in the black. And this is with a -50% ROI. I’m not sure what the actual numbers are for scratch and win tickets…

And I think it’d just be an interesting channel… like I start the stream saying that I cleaned out the gas station and they have no more tickets left… or I buy a stack of a new game of tickets that come in, etc.

If I knew that Twitch would give me the green light on this and allow it, I’d definitely try this out!

Summary

My foray into Twitch streaming was an unsuccessful, but not unexpected one.

I simply do not have the skill, entertainment value, or gender to grow a successful channel.

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Posted: March 3rd, 2022 under Miscellaneous  
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