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!
Your voice is your most valuable asset as a streamer. No one else in the world sounds exactly like you. No one else has your exact perspective on the world. No one else can share your specific insight on a game or subject. The more you use your voice, the more you will stand out amongst the masses, even if you’re playing the same games as everyone else.
In spite of this power that we all wield, countless streamers under-utilize their voice. They sit silently for minutes at a time, even when some are streaming with the best microphone audio can buy. Considering how first impressions are usually made in seven seconds or less, viewers may be leaving in droves because your silence gives viewers the sense that you’re just another streamer playing a video game with nothing else to offer.
Coming up with stuff to talk about for hours on end is difficult, especially if you’re not the talkative type. Thankfully, there’s a convenient source of material to draw from right in front of your face: the game you’re playing. By narrating and commenting on you’re in-game actions, thought process, and reactions, you’ll almost always have something of value to say. Here are some tips for narrating and commentating like a pro!
Streaming to zero viewers isn’t something to be ashamed of. Roughly 88% of active streamers have an average concurrent viewership of 0-5 viewers. Many in that group never see viewers at all. It took me about a year of floundering on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch before finally finding my footing above the 0-viewer threshold.
For those who have ambitions of climbing out of that hole, maybe I can help? Though I certainly don’t have the experience or wisdom to help you become the next Ninja, the experience I do have may be enough to get you past 0-viewer Andy status.
Using the site nobody.live for reference, I decided to watch over 100 0-viewer streams and make note of some common factors that could be holding these streamers back. Here are some common challenges I noted and some potential solutions for overcoming them!
As a streamer, your voice and the words you say with it are your most important assets. Every game you could ever play will be covered by thousands of others, but viewers will have to come to you for your particular spin on the action.
Easier said than done, of course. Talking while gaming isn’t a skill that players develop naturally. Add in the fact that you might not be comfortable partaking in conversations in real life, and the thought of carrying the conversation for the duration of a multi-hour stream becomes incredibly daunting.
If you routinely find yourself drawing a blank, here are some pointers for how to keep the conversation going!
How do you keep a conversation going for hours at a time? This is a challenge that many streamers face, especially since most of the time, they’re in a room by themselves with no one to speak to voice-to-voice. Having experience as an on-air radio personality, I’ve taken this aspect for granted in the past. I know I can speak eloquently and have a few cool stories to tell. However, more often than not, I had a good 10 minutes of material in me before dragging on the stream for another two hours with nothing to say.
Even when streaming to an audience of 0, it’s still important to talk to yourself. Your next fan might be the person who watches the VOD after the fact. I get a number of subscribers on Twitch and YouTube that way, so I know this phenomenon is real.
As someone who isn’t going to wow most viewers with his top-tier gameplay or handsome looks (lol), what I have to say is the most valuable thing I have to offer. Of late, I’ve taken steps to try and have more to talk about. Maybe some of these conversation starters can help you keep your stream engaging for all involved!