A fundamental challenge with game streaming is that you have to find a way to split your attention between the game you’re playing and the audience you’re entertaining. Being able to manage these disparate tasks is a challenge, but it’s a skill that one can develop with practice.
Introducing friends into the mix divides your attention even further. In the heat of the moment, it’s incredibly easy to forget about your audience as you banter with your friends. While there’s a certain level of communication required for teams to coordinate with one another, a stream where the dialogue only consists of teammates calling out sniper positions or yelling for healing doesn’t make for a great viewing experience.
Even between matches, don’t assume the banter between you and your friends is inherently engaging from a viewer’s perspective. By focusing solely on your group chat, viewers can feel like voyeurs in your gaming session rather than welcome members of the experience. When viewers feel like they’re creeping on you, they’re more likely to leave.
Here are some things you can do to make your squad streams better from a viewer’s perspective!
Prioritize the viewing experience
If your ultimate goal is to create a stream that viewers want to watch, ensure that you’re creating a stream that engaging and entertaining for your viewers. As you’re playing, make sure you’re providing compelling commentary. Constantly tell them what you’re doing, the rationale behind your decisions, and react to everything. Make sure your audience feels like they are a part of this experience.
This commentary is great for viewers, but your squad may not want to hear it all the time. Give yourself the ability to mute yourself in the voice chat if they only want to hear from you for in-game callouts. You might also want to give yourself the ability to mute your group chat so that the stream doesn’t hear any banter that distracts you from communicating to your audience.
During more intense moments when the game is on the line, definitely focus on the action and coordinating with your friends. But for the most part, if your real goal is to make a great show for your audience, that’s likely going to involve keeping them engaged.
Be mindful of which friends you squad stream with
The friends you play games with may not necessarily be the best fit for your stream. And I’m not necessarily saying that you need to play with all-star players. Some of your friends may be a negative influence on your content in other ways. For example, if you have a friend who has a tendency say horrible stuff when they’re tilted, maybe you don’t want their bad behaviour to reflect on you and your stream. In a less toxic example, maybe you have a friend who completely dominates your voice chat, which isn’t gonna work well when you need to be the one driving the conversation in ways that are engaging for your viewers.
Pick your stream teams wisely. Once they start streaming with you, they will have an impact on the content you’re creating. Hopefully you pick the right mix of players to create a better stream for everyone!
Use Discord StreamKit to Show Viewers Who is Talking
Discord StreamKit comes with a bunch of cool features to integrate your voice chat into your stream. I use the voice widget, which displays a person’s Discord icon on stream when they talk in the group chat. Implement this in your streaming software so that everyone can follow along!
Leverage your friends to help make better content
This last one is key. Your friends can bring so much more to your stream than just headshots if you put them in positions to make better content with you.
For example, during one Rogue Company stream, I had Switch to Decaf, PlayerTwoStart, and jennathefool play Siblings or Dating with me. Each person added their own perspective to the pictures on display and it was always hilarious to see who got them right or wrong. We played this between rounds to keep viewers on their toes while also giving them an opportunity to play along.
A while back, I invited the Boss Rush crew to play the board game House of Danger with me. This narratively-driven adventure made for amazing interactions between us, as the group was constantly pressed to make decisions for their hero as they ventured through a creepy house. I literally couldn’t have done this without them!
You can even make a great stream with your friends that doesn’t involve playing a game. Streaming your podcast recordings is a great way of creating content with friends. I currently don’t run a podcast, but I did invite streamer friends from all over the world to join me on a show where we ate ice cream while talking about ice cream. One of the most fun streams I’ve done in recent memory!
Your friends have the potential to improve your stream, but it’s not guaranteed. If you take their presence for granted, you might actually alienate your viewers by creating a space that makes them feel left out. Whenever you stream in a group, make sure to keep your audience engaged and put your friends in positions that will help make your content better.
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