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The Ultimate Guide to Twitch Stardom (2018 Edition)

FeedRoom has always covered streamers on how they got famous and gave some background into their lives before their claim to fame. Today, we are going to discuss how you too can become a reputable Twitch streamer!

You may think all you need to do is just show your face, be loud when you talk and keep on playing, but it actually takes more than that to become known on Twitch. Take note that there are already more than 2 million streamers on Twitch, making the competition that much more difficult. Hopefully, this guide will help you outstand from the rest of the crowd.

First off Let’s Discuss Simple Twitch Dynamics

From a basic standpoint, Twitch is the home of great live streams, whether it’s gaming or non-gaming, but more focused on the former. A lot of unique personalities have been known just for playing video games while entertaining the crowd with both game skills and human reactions such as Boxbox, Tyler1, AnomalyXD, BurkeBlack, Summit1G, Imaqtpie, Shroud, Dr. DisRespect, and Ninja.

Twitch streamers get to interact with their followers who watch them live and even give shout-outs.  If the crowd is very dedicated, they can give monetary donations to the streamer or subscribe to their Twitch Prime for a certain amount—this is where money talks when it comes to live streaming.

Think of Twitch just like any other social media but without being the usual people. Even if video games are a mainstream type of culture nowadays, it still has that unsettling feeling from non-gamer still consider those who are into the electronic entertainment as “no-lifers” or being losers—that video games are a waste of time, video games are just about killing people, video games are only for nerds, video games are just for kids and video games are the source of stupidity. It sucks having people view gaming like this, wherein it is a social gathering, a new form of creativity, a rich source of narrative, a place where anyone could be anyone. If you look at it, it’s nothing different from what non-gamers seek out for entertainment: movies, television, theater, music, books, sports, painting, and even going to a club.

Non-gamers have always said that video games are nothing—that it is just something that occupies us from doing what they want us to do such as working in a corporate job like a slave or try to be like any person looking to be one with society.

At some point, gamers have always been an outcast from society—mainly because video games, even though it has reached the mainstream, is still new in culture. Remember when television was new and used to be bashed out from other forms of media back then such as books and sports? Well, look at how embraced it is now to modern society. Video games are still at that point of acceptance from the major population. There will be a time when gaming will no longer be seen as how non-gamers see it today.

And within the social outcasts of video gaming comes two places where those who are passionate about video games go to — YouTube and Twitch.

While YouTube is a home for edited and premade videos, in which gaming is a huge community in, housing big names of the category such as PewDiePie, Jacksepticeye, JonTron and Markiplier as well as company-based channel like IGN, GameSpot and Kotaku, Twitch on the other hand is the haven for raw live footage of gaming on-the-spot—no edits, just pure gaming skills and live entertainment.

Twitch is also more than just personal/solo streamers—it is also a house for all of the biggest esports entertainment—from the League of Legends’ various League Championship Series across various regions, Electronic Sports League or ESL that hosts Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Tournaments, the annual DreamHack, the Overwatch League, EVO Series (a league that sports various fighting games featuring the best fighters around the world), NBA 2K League, The Internationals from DotA 2, Hearthstone World Championship and the upcoming PUBG and Fortnite Esports Leagues.

It is basically like ESPN for gaming but better. If you didn’t know, there are already various bar and grills across the world that are similar to sports bars, but only feature esports gaming while drinking and eating with friends. Of course, these broadcasts are tuned in via Twitch and nowhere else. Okay sure, YouTube Gaming is there, but nobody really talks about that, right?

And that’s what’s great about Twitch—everything is live. And if you miss out on the broadcast, they always have the raw footage ready to be replayed in their channel.

And of course, Twitch also has a category for non-gaming streams called IRL, or In Real Life. This one is pretty much just someone in front of the camera doing whatever shenanigans the streamer does. It’s pretty much like Big Brother, except this one is personally casted.

But if you want to be famous on Twitch without looking like an attention whore and just want to play games and get paid while doing it, you just have to follow the rest of this article.

Twitch has changed and has grown rapidly ever since it has been bought out by Amazon for $1 Billion, making it a mainstream media, with news from every corner of the globe suddenly talking about the website. Right now, Twitch houses 2 million active streamers and counting. It is definitely a tough competition and for you to succeed, you have to outshine the rest.

I will not sugarcoat this: if you really want to be a successful Twitch streamer, it will be a very difficult road. Just because you have a nice gear and great gameplay does not mean that you are anything that people will look forward too. You’ll just be another generic person on Twitch. You have to have an identity for the millions of viewers to recognize.

Becoming a famous Twitch streamer will take lots of dedication and consistency. As the business analysts and marketers will always say, “In any world of monetary competition, 80% are always deemed to fail. The rest of the 20% will be living the dream.” Will you get in the 20%? Are you willing to take a lot of your time every day to dedicate yourself to becoming a personality on Twitch? Are you determined enough to go beyond boundaries to reach your goal of making Twitch a full-time job?

Strap on your seat, take notes and let me walk you through the path.

STEP 1: Build Your Own Identity

Just as I said earlier, there are 2 million people streaming on Twitch. You have to be more memorable and more distinguished than the rest of them. How? By becoming a memorable person.

Yes, there are clichés and tropes of different people on Twitch: You have the generic player who just stares and does the usual gaming without saying anything, the loud-mouth who overreacts to anything especially in horror games or in intense competitive multiplayer, the attention-seeking gamer girl whose boobs are squeezed tight in a skimpy shirt while wearing heavy makeup for the world to see and go “Oh wow a hot girl that plays video games”, the optimistic cheery guy who’s probably the most wholesome person on Twitch, the guy who is so good at the game that he complains every single bit of the game he’s playing, the flame-infested gamer who talks so much trash while playing and keeps on bragging about himself that makes him more narcissistic than if Guy Beahm was Tony Stark or the pro gamer who’s so good at the game, he just lets his skills do the talking.

Out of all these, which do you think categorizes you the best? You have to narrow down who you are or who you want to be known as. Take, for example, Burke Black (Twitch: @burkeblack). If you have not heard the name, he is the only living pirate on Twitch. Yes, he’s a pirate and a very entertaining one with improvised skits everytime he streams, especially strategy games or Sea of Thieves. He is famous in his own right because people easily remember him.

“Who’s that guy again? Oh yeah, that pirate guy.” And just like that, with only a google search for “twitch pirate guy”, and you got Burke Black on the most relevant answer.

Dr. DisRespect is also known for his very own identity—a foul-mouthed overly narcissistic macho man whose personality is that of the generic anti-hero bad-ass from an 80s action movie who never backs down without a fight. The community has mixed reactions over him—some call him an asshole while some are just fond of his character. Yes, he’s really not like this in real life, however, due to the character he built, he became a memorable person on Twitch and even on YouTube. The head of the Slick Daddy Club has garnered so much reputation, that he even has his own little fandom in which people have made fanart of him as well as a movie parody.

Ninja, of course, has to be the PewDiePie of Twitch right now—the spikey-haired slim bandana-wearing man who does not talk a lot but is known to make sick plays on Fortnite. He also has this reputation of being one of the more family-friendly/wholesome guys that anyone would want to be friends with. He’s no bad-ass and definitely not boring neither. He’s very humble if anything else. He’s just a really cool guy in his own way. That itself has made him very popular on the site.

You have to build your own character too. No, you don’t have to copy them, but let people remember who you are. Are you the guy with a strong lisp when talking? Maybe a pretty boy? Perhaps a very nerdy kid with glasses but has a deep large voice? Are you the type of gamer that uses unusual controllers to play difficult games like using a Rock Band controller to finish Dark Souls or maybe use voice recognition to carry a game in League? It’s really your call. Just don’t be boring at all. Don’t be bland. Be unique. Be someone people can’t forget. Be the one that the audience beyond Twitch would talk about.

STEP 2: Pick a Niche Category

Niche is defined as “a portion of the market or certain demographic that you’ve identified as having a special characteristic and a group of people worth marketing to.”

When you want to become famous, you have to remember that you should remember one thing in mind: “What game and which category do you want to be fully remembered as?”

It’s very simple to set-up your PC or console and then record yourself live while playing whatever video game you have in mind. But if you wish to make things easier and get to be seen by at least a large enough group, you have to focus first on one particular game. Do not opt for various games at once in this stage—take one game and make it your primary content. Is it going to be Fortnite? League of Legends? CSGO? Overwatch? Street Fighter? This is all up to you.

Good examples of someone known for a particular niche are Ninja and Imaqtpie. Ninja caters to the Fortnite niche—in layman’s term, he focuses on the crowd who are passionate about Fortnite. Imaqtpie, on the other hand, targets the League of Legends audience for a very long time. As a result, these two people are popular in their own categories because they invested all their time and skills in these games. Both persons are not just good at the games but are also fun to watch due to their personalities as well as their personal insights on the game.

Let’s look at more people known for particular games:

  • Myth, Dakotaz, Avxry, Daequan, DrLupo—Fortnite Niche
  • Shroud, Dr. DisRespect, Anthony_Kongphan, Lirik, Jackfrags—PUBG Niche
  • Tyler1, Nightblue3, Boxbox, Sneaky, Faker –League of Legends Niche
  • Hiko, Ceh9, Summit1G, fREAKAZOiD, m0e_tv—CSGO Niche
  • Dendi, SingSing, AnderZEL, Arteezy, AdmiralBulldog –DotA2 Niche
  • ThijsHS, HSDogDog, nl_Kripp, Savjz, Kolento – Hearthstone Niche

While there is nothing wrong mixing up some games here and there, that is something very hard for someone to become famous in the beginning. You should know that some companies and people have started out in small niches before they became vast to the general public—Amazon started out as a bookstore, only catering to book readers and knowledge finders. With enough money, they slowly transitioned into a mega website that sells whatever product there is known to man in whatever part of the globe.

Henry Sy, the founder of SM Supermalls in the Philippines actually started out as a small shoe store before his business became one of the biggest corporations in Asia. With enough money to expand from his shoe business, he slowly transitioned from a small department store to groceries and finally into a mega-mall. Nowadays, SM also builds residences and even has their own farm. What was once a small shoe shop in Manila has become a behemoth company that branches out multiple malls in the Philippines and even beyond the country. Plot twist: SM actually means “Shoe Mart”.

Now let’s take these examples to YouTubers too. Do you know Videogamedunkey? Some of the first videos that he was known for was filled with League of Legends content. As he kept on growing, he slowly added other games into his channel, adding to a million subscribers and it did not halt there. He stopped producing LoL videos ever since he got a 14-day ban from the game in 2015, however, that did not stop viewers from subscribing to him. League player or not, people loved his satirical and sarcastic content with snarky commentaries and hilarious misleading jokes. What once was a League of Legends niche channel has become one of the most successful gaming channels on YouTube with almost 5 million subscribers.

Another good example of a niche YouTuber has to be VaatiVidya—a man known for making Dark Souls content. He’s been up and about ever since 2011 when the game came out. He has made tons of Dark Souls videos, everything from gameplay, to pro tips, to lore explanations and to trailer analyses. In the DS community, most of the people know him for his quality content as well as the guy who helps clear out some confusing stories and even game mechanics. He focused on the Dark Souls niche and in return, he got his fame for it.

If you want to be known as an all-around gamer, you need to focus on one game first that people will know you for. When you have enough people who will go with you whatever step you’re taking and whichever game you want to transition to, only then will expanding to other games can make you earn more viewers to your demographic.

Think of success as a sort of tree and you are a lumberjack. To cut it down, you have to focus on one area where you want to chop. That area represents the game. Having various areas to chop on will lead you to nothing and will just slow down your cutting. But with one focused direction, it is always guaranteed to knock down that tree. I hope the environmental activists do not see this analogy as offensive.

STEP 3: Know the Basic Set-Up

You already have your own niche, your kind of personality you want to bring to Twitch, but what about your set-up? No, it doesn’t take a swanky-ass big-rig PC or the highest quality webcam while streaming on console nor do you need a green screen behind you yet. All you need is the basic gear. After all, you’re just starting out anyway, but if you already have invested on a powerful computer, then you have the advantage. Otherwise, know these essentials:

  1. Your CPU should have at least an Intel Core i5-4670/its AMD equivalent, 8Gb of RAM and Windows 7 or above.
  2. Able to support DirectX 10 or more for the seamless streaming without having jaggy quality.
  3. A fast internet connection with at least 3mbps upload speed.
  4. A Twitch account (obviously)—much better if you have a custom avatar and profile.
  5. A detailed biography/description—the more detailed, the more the viewers will trust you.
  6. Have a broadcasting program—the most frequently used ones are OBS (Open Broadcasting Software), which is free, or Xsplit, which has a reasonable subscription price.
  7. Have a decent microphone so your audience can hear you loud and clear. Do not just go for potato microphones as these can rip apart anyone’s ears when listening.
  8. Have a webcam with 1080p quality—there are a lot of inexpensive webcams like these. Just check out Amazon.
  9. If you want to stream via console, PS4 and Xbox One already have provided streaming programs built in it to sync with your Twitch account—however, you cannot customize the layout of these. But hey, at least you get to broadcast your console gaming.

STEP 4: Consistency

In all honesty, consistency outweighs topnotch stream quality. Consistency will make or break your aspiring Twitch career. So how do you become consistent? You need to have a dedicated schedule for that.

Will you be streaming every day? Every 2 days? Every other day? Every week? Every weekend? Once you have decided on your frequency, you have to stick to it so your audience will know when you’ll be up. If you’re going to be spontaneous in your schedule, nobody would want to tune you in. Even high profile streamers who have become irrational when it comes to live stream schedules have lost numerous followers and average stream viewers. Why? Because people are confused. They don’t know when exactly the streamer is actually going live.

Look at Ninja’s numbers—his audience count is always constantly at least 40,000 every day. This is because he has a schedule for morning streams as well as evening streams. Fans know when to tune in to him. They adjust their own personal schedules so they will have room to watch him, thus resulting in new followers who subscribe to him due to knowing the exact times he goes live.

You can’t just go live on Monday afternoon and then do another on Thursday because you just don’t feel like it, no. You have to stick to your own schedule. This is your business now. You need to be responsible for your own actions and exposure to the world if you wish to become the next big thing on Twitch.

STEP 5: Don’t think about the money. Think about the fun.

Out of all these steps, the most important aspect any aspiring Twitch streamer should have is the passion, the dedication and most of all, not thinking of this as hefty work. You are streaming while playing because you love video games, right? That’s what brought you here in the first place. The other steps are just to boost up your ratings and for people to become intrigued and follow you. But other than those, you should LOVE doing this. ENJOY playing video games while catering to an audience.

Yes, the first few months will be a tough road for you. Your stream will most likely be just an audience of tumbleweed and air but do not let that bring you down. Do you think streamers like barcode_ow and Burke Black have started with a large number of followers? They had to grind through months before they even had a following. But it was not just grinding at all—it was grinding for fun. Because they love what they do and they did not stop there. Passion is what will keep you going as long as you find playing video games enjoyable and never a sort of hindrance.

It really doesn’t matter if you’re a pro at a game or just a casual but as long as people will see the love you have for the game and not some whiny grunt, you will get to earn followers because you are just simply entertaining to watch and they feel that love you have for the game.

The money should not be your priority list. It should only come as a perk for all your hard work and love for the game. You’re doing this because you love it, not because you are forced to do such actions so you can have an excuse not to find a job. Once the money rolls in on a consistent basis, then you can count yourself away from the corporate world and do what you love and get paid for it—playing video games and receiving donations for your antics. Living the dream.

BONUS STEP 1: Network with Other Known Streamers

You may think this is a sly tactic, but in the world of success, one should remember that networking with other people will definitely boost your reputation.

Networking means contacting with other people, befriending them and benefit from their success as well as expanding to other known streamers.

That’s just how it is—birds that flock together stay together. And with that, the viewers from the streamer you have befriended will naturally have interest in you—do you have a Twitch channel too? Maybe they can follow you on Twitter? Once you become friends with a streamer and you two play together, you will definitely have a shared portion of followers.

Networking is a powerful mean to accomplish a big goal. With networking, you will earn a web of different people with different rankings in which you can slide on with. I’m not saying you should just befriend these streamers just for the fame but befriend them simply because you want to be friends.

When starting, of course, it will be hard to contact with streamers that have hundreds of thousands or millions of followers. Talk with someone who has at least 500 to 5,000 followers. Message them via Twitter saying you want to play games with them from time to time. Of course, that person has to be in the same niche as you are. Some will turn you down but there will definitely be a time where you will get in touch with someone to the point that you and that person will become friends. Both of you will benefit—you get to have friendships as well as both parties earning their own followers.

This is one of the fastest ways to grow your channel as well as being seen more in the public eye.

BONUS STEP 2: Open Up Your Social Media Accounts

Simply enough, having Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or all of them will help you get in contact with other streamers and let your own followers know that you have begun streaming or just update them with your personal feed. Do take some time with social media as this will also help grow your channel and more people to flock to you

There you have it, 5 + 2 steps to becoming famous on Twitch this 2018. Remember, it is never too late to take that road. But if you need to take action, do it NOW. If you will just be delaying further, you may come to regret it in the future.