Tetris 99 and the Notion of Streaming Only One Game


There are real advantages to only streaming one video game. Doing so makes it easier for you to attract and maintain an audience that loves that game. Ninja’s fans love him as a skilled player and as an on-screen personality, but they also love Fortnite and can count on him streaming it daily. As much as I would love his money and at least some of his fame, I struggle to wrap my head around how and other single-game streamers keep their sanity playing only one game for that long.

Being a variety streamer can help you stay sane. Streaming games as they move in and out of my life is a more natural way for me to play games and the approach I’ve planned on taking from the start. However, I lose the stability that comes with streaming only one game. I even see this phenomenon with my own small stream, where certain viewers only tune in for Overwatch and others only drop by for Paper Mario. Can’t blame people for wanting to watch games they like, versus sticking with me regardless of what game I’m playing.

In spite of my vow to not get monogamous with any one game, the thought of getting steady with Tetris 99 heats up every time I stream that game.

Making a surprise entrance during a Nintendo Direct earlier this year, Tetris 99 has been an ongoing obsession of mine. Taking competitive Tetris to the extreme, it’s a game I turn to whenever I don’t have any other gaming obligations. In a world where I only had access to one game to play forever, this might be it.

Beyond the satisfaction that comes with scrapping alongside 98 other players, the game has been my most successful in terms of drawing an audience on Twitch. Based on my understanding of the Tetris 99 scene on Twitch, it feels like an underserved market. There are a handful of really big Tetris 99 streamers who are incredible at the game, but I think there’s a lot of room for smaller streamers to step up and fill other niches beyond those who are amazing at the game.

Which brings me to another potential factor for why it works well for me. I may not be the best player, but I play it really well while also being able to hold a conversation. Being able to engage with others is probably my strongest suit as a streamer at this point, so being able to stay personable during stressful situations is a huge plus.

While the total Tetris 99 viewing audience is probably a fraction of what the biggest games like Fortnite and League of Legends gets, I feel like there’s an opportunity for smaller streamers to sneak in and build an audience. Part of me thinks it’s a great opportunity for me to make a bunch of new friends and have more excuses to play a game I already love. Another part of me is scared for the precedent it sets and what could happen when I eventually move to another game.

Streaming goals and gaming goals don’t always align. I don’t think it’s wrong to stream a game solely for the fame and fortune if those are your primary goals. I also don’t think it’s wrong to stream a game you love to play that no one will ever watch. It’s up to each person to set their goals and chase them.

My ambitions are somewhere in the middle. I love Tetris 99 and I think I would grow as a streamer faster if I focus on that game for a while. However, I’m also scared of the precedent I could be setting by fully-committing to that game. I want the flexibility of being able to play what I want as well. For now, Tetris 99 will be a recurring game in my streaming lineup, but the notion of making it something more will continue to linger.


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