Elgato gave streamers a new level of control with the Stream Deck. It’s my favourite piece of streaming hardware, as it allows me to switch scenes, manage audio, trigger replays, and even stage a concert with the push of a button. I love the device and the Stream Deck platform so much that I just doubled down and bought a Stream Deck XL for access to even more buttons.
Many alternatives have risen in its wake, though they’re almost entirely software solutions that use your PC or phone. The Stream Deck still sets itself apart by being a physical device with tangible buttons that can be pressed without having to take your eyes off the camera.
Enter the Loupedeck Live. Best known for making tactile control devices for content creation, they’re taking their expertise to the world of streaming.
For the past year, I’ve been saving up for one of the two next generation consoles. The plan was to purchase one of the two at launch later this year. Though I’ve seen some exciting things from both, neither have made the definitive case for why I should take one over the other.
In recent days, a new challenger has emerged to complicate matters further.
A few days ago, Elgato opened up applications to its streamer partnership program. Though I’m generally weary of any sort of partnership or sponsorship programs aimed at small streamers for how slanted they are in favour of the brand, I decided to give this one a shot. I did so because I am a fan of the brand’s products, applying alone didn’t appear to lock me into anything overly-exploitive, and whatever permissions I gave them to my channels could be easily revoked if they rejected me.
Well, they did reject me. That’s okay. There’s a silver lining to my application that you may want to take advantage of while the opportunity is still open.
So you want to be the next big streamer. You saw Ninja make millions by playing video games on Twitch and want to do the same. Totally understandable.
How feasible is it to actually turn your gaming hobby into a streaming career? Though I am far from a Twitch expert – particularly when it comes to growth – there are tidbits of knowledge I’ve picked up from my personal experience, from streaming gurus, and from publicly available data on sights like Twitch Tracker and Sully Gnome.
In this post, let’s focus on the hard data. When I think about the realities of growing my channel on Twitch, these particular factoids go a long way to put things into perspective for me. Hope they do the same for you on your journey!
Can you tell the difference between the Overwatch stream at the top and the Overwatch stream at the bottom? The difference in visual fidelity may not come through all the way and might not even be apparent if you watch snippets of both. For me, it’s the latest thorn in my side that won’t be cheap to solve.
“But Jett, didn’t you literally just get a new PC and gaming chair?”
Yes. So far, I’m loving both! But there’s always work to be done. Here are a few more items on my list to pick up!
Almost every aspect of the Twitch experience is driven by quantifiable and publicly-facing values. We know how many people are watching any channel at any given time. We know follower counts. We know which streamers are Twitch Partners because of the checkmark beside their names. If you dig just a bit deeper, you can find pretty much every performance metric for any channel, right down to the breakdown of how many paid subs it receives each month.
The Twitch and broader live streaming community at-large embrace these types of quantifiable systems. Streamers flash on-screen notifications every time someone follows or subscribes to their channel. Viewers flaunt their streamer-exclusive emotes on other channels. Even outside of Twitch, many streamers proudly declare that they are Twitch Affiliates or Twitch Partners in their social media bios.
All of this is in service of creating an ecosystem where viewers and streamers become emotionally and financially invested in the platform. In large part, it works as Amazon intended. They make money hand-over-fist by displaying ads and by taking their cut of Bits and Subs. Meanwhile, many of its audience “bleed purple” to the point where most chose to stay on Twitch even when its top creator left for Mixer.
These systems can tell us a lot about the performance of a channel. However, there’s a ton of danger when we apply these channel-specific values to ourselves. It creates a lot of friction on Twitch in very overt and subversive ways that can be incredibly draining on one’s mental health.
You don’t need a high-end PC, top-of-the-line microphone, or DSLR camera to start streaming. If anything, avoiding those big ticket items if you don’t already have them for now is a wise decision.
Instead of focusing on having the best gear, now is the time to determine if this is a medium you want to pursue. Run a couple of test streams and determine whether you enjoy everything that streaming entails, from managing all of the equipment, to engaging in the chat, to handling all of the stress that comes with going live. If things don’t work out, at least you’re not sitting on thousands of dollars worth of equipment that will simply collect dust.
If you’re looking to get into streaming, here’s a quick guide on the stuff you’ll need right now – and the stuff you can get later!
The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were the first home consoles to feature the ability to stream directly from the console itself. Having that functionality is great, as it lowers the barrier dramatically for those interested in trying their hand at streaming. That being said, console streamers are at a distinct disadvantage from those who have their consoles connected through a PC.
With a PC, console streamers get access to all of the bells and whistles that viewers expect, from some semblance of an overlay, to on-screen notifications, to multiple scenes, When streaming from a console, you’re stuck with the limited options you have for microphones, cameras, and overlays. Microsoft got better as the generation went on, as they added support for different cameras and allowing for custom overlays through Lightstream Studio. However, that feature seems to have gone by the wayside as part of Mixer shutting down.
In particular, that PlayStation 4 streaming template can be a death sentence. I think when viewers see that default PS4 streaming overlay as they browse through Twitch, their first impression is that this is a “lesser” stream, even if you might be the most charismatic person in the universe.
Streaming from a console is totally fine for practice. But if you really want your channel to grow at this juncture, you’re in a much better position to do so by capturing your gameplay through a PC. Will this change as we transition into the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5?
In Third Person started with video games as its primary subject matter. However, it’s taken many subject matter detours over the years as my interests have evolved. There was a stretch of time where I wrote a lot about comic books. Board games were huge on the site for a while. I discovered over the years that it was more important for me to use this space to write about my interests – whatever they are – versus trying to box myself in. I’m not trying to make the next Kotaku, Gamespot, or IGN (though they all stray from gaming at times as well). For the sake of my happiness, I’d rather have the site evolve with me.
Most recently, streaming content has consumed the site to the point where it’s a daily conversation point. In case you haven’t been following my recent antics on Twitch, here’s the lowdown on why it’s having such a dramatic impact on my writing output.