Is Starting Streaming on Twitch worth It in 2021?

Sometimes, you doubt yourself. Should I stream? What if nobody watch my stream? Should I stop?

video game streaming

Remember the first time you play a video game? The exiting feeling of facing a new unknown adventure. As the video game industry mature, new industries are born from video games. The first is e-sport. Pro player battle with each other to become a champion, just like a real sport. As e-sport become more popular, pro players became the new star in internet and gaming community.

Many players and fans idolize pro players and wanted to watch them. From this streaming has become more popular. As the streaming industry grew, casual streamers started to replace pro-player streamers. Twitch became a place where fans watch their favorite streamer play and talk casually instead of intense e-sport competition that starts the industry.

This leads to a dream that everyone can succeed as a video game streamer and they can become the next star, even if they can’t play the game as well as a pro player. But, is this a dream that possible to be achieved?

Is Twitch streaming worth it?

Analyzing the data from Twitch, the market on Twitch already beyond saturated. Big streamers take the most viewers on Twitch while the rest compete the small number of viewers left. It’s not worth starting streaming on Twitch if you just want to be famous and rich from streaming.

You will need passion, unwavering dedication, and a large amount of time and money spent to get a chance to succeed in streaming on Twitch

Why becoming a successful Twitch streamer is hard to achieve?

Becoming a popular Twitch streamer and attaining Partner status is many Twitch Affiliate streamers dream. They wanted to be the next Partner that joins the successful crowd. But anyone that already in the industry knew how hard is it. The difficulty may be a bit vague if you’re just a viewer or beginner streamers.

Most streamers will only get two-digit viewers for the first year. To scale it up; hard work, communication skills and luck will be needed. Important note for aspiring streamers here, if you fear the possibility of having no viewers, please for the love of god don’t start streaming. You will need persistent belief to persist the early stage no viewer’s phase

Fierce Competition on Twitch

To become a winner, first, you must understand the competition behind it. Your competitor will be the early or veteran streamers that already became the big streamers and the middle level of streamers.

According to Twitch Tacker, there is an average number of 3 million viewers every day. This is the average number of viewers at any given time during a day, so the total number will be higher. How much the average number of channels that live in Twitch during a day? A number of an average of 100.000 live channels at any given time during a day! If you started streaming, you are competing to get viewers with other 100.000 channels at the same time

If we divide the number equally, from 3 million viewers and 100.00 live channel, each channel can get 30 viewers! But that’s not possible. One of the most popular Twitch streamers, XQCOW already takes 5% of existing viewers as long he streams. According to my calculation based on Twitch Tracker data, the Top 100 streamer takes a percentage of at least 40-45% of the number of viewers. That is only the top 100 streamers, there is more than 20.000 Twitch Partner and 150.000 Affiliate that will grab the market of viewers left.

Small streamers that just started usually only left with a two-digit viewer every time they stream. Unless you have good gaming skill or your personality are loved by your fans, like for example popular Twitch streamer, Sykkuno who had been streaming in YouTube for 7 years and finally get success on Twitch, chance are, it will be hard for you to progress the number of your follower

Twitch new guidelines that don’t benefit streamer

Streamers have been using copyrighted music as background music. When Amazon, its parent company, was sued by the major music industry, Twitch immediately deletes videos that have been using copyrighted music. This is not a bad thing, creating a piece of music is a hard job and we should respect the copyright of the creator. But the problem is there is no previous announcement that let their community prepare to face the copyright problem.

On October 20th, Twitch suddenly sends a message to Twitch streamers, informing them that their team already removed the video that uses copyrighted music. Any other videos that haven’t been deleted need to be edited to remove the copyrighted content.  There is no prior warning, streamers need time to edit their videos and Twitch only provide them three days to delete the video that get DMCA complaint. If they don’t edit their video to remove the copyrighted content, DMCA complaint will strike their channel and they can get a temporary ban from it. Many streamers even resorted to deleting all their videos just to prevent them to get DMCAed

unban ryan higa on Twitch

Twitch also has a problem on banning their streamers. Many streamers are banned for no reason on their platform. A popular example is Ryan Higa, a famous YouTuber and Twitch streamer who was banned for 11 minutes during his Among Us stream with OTV (and friend) members. Twitch doesn’t even provide a reason for that. If popular streamers are banned for no reason, what about small streamers?

You need to stream constantly

People open Twitch on their browsers to watch their favorite streamers. Twitch provides saved streamed video that people can freely watch, just like what YouTube has, a library of saved video. But unlike YouTube, most people won’t watch them. Unless it’s going viral or your followers miss the live stream and wanted to watch your saved streamed content. But here’s the problem, watching on YouTube will be much better.

Twitch only forbid their Partner to live stream on another platform. You still can upload your stream on YouTube. Facebook Gaming also has the same policy. This lead to many Twitch and Facebook Gaming streamers upload their edited content on YouTube

Disguised Toast, popular Facebook Gaming streamers that have 40k viewers each time he streams have up to 2 million YouTube view every time he uploads his content on YouTube. And the shocking thing is, he uploads his video every day. The amount of view in one short video on YouTube surpasses the total view of most Twitch Partners during their stream. And people will keep watching his content even after it’s uploaded.

Why this is important you may ask? If you’re Youtuber, you can just record a video then forget it after uploading. You only need to wait for the YouTube algorithm to favor your video. Maybe if you’re a bit professional, you also optimize your video to improve the position in Google Search.

But what about if you’re a Twitch streamer? You need to keep streaming to retain your followers. You can’t just record a video just once every month, this tactic will only work on YouTube, not on Twitch. Googling your past stream also hard, unlike YouTube which belongs to Google. Millions of videos are streamed on Twitch every day. If you don’t stream, you are falling behind from peers. Twitch is a competitive industry, especially if you intend to stream as a job, not just a hobby.

No matter how good your skill is, you will always need to stream to earn your money. Streaming will always take most of your time. Many streamers stream 6-8 hours a day. It takes massive mental fortitude to play a video game for that long. It’s good if you loved that game, but do you really believe that you will keep enjoying playing the same game 40 hours a week? That is the amount of playtime of most modern single-player games and that’s only a week. Streaming is a stressful job, even for the most professional gamers out there.

Twitch Partner is out to reach

Despite the requirement to reach Twitch Partner is only 25 hours of stream, 12 different days of stream in 30 days, and an average of 75 viewers (excluding raid), your Twitch Partner application needs to be manually reviewed. Most of the time, you will get rejected, even if you already fulfill all your achievement in your dashboard

Twitch partner rejected three times

Will they explain why you are getting rejected? Sadly, the answer is no. They won’t tell you anything except to improve your streaming quality. Many Twitch affiliates can’t get partnership status despite some Twitch Partners have a lower view and followers count than them. It’s basically a lottery and you need to re-apply every 3 months

The bad stigma surrounding video game streamer

Video game already exist 30 years ago, but the stigma around gamers still exist. Video game streamer is still not be considered as a job by many people, especially generation older than Millennial. Some Older Millennial (30+) even agree streaming and e-sport pro player is not a “real” job

This is of course untrue. What makes sports players a better “real” job if what they do is only kicking and throwing a ball? Both sport and e-sport belong to entertainment and people that participate in them should be considered as having a real job

Telling the streamer that they need a real job instead of playing video games will make them mad. It’s unacceptable how society still treats gamers as immature adults. Maybe it’s true for some people that have an addiction to video games, but most gamers only treat video games as a hobby.

Streamers will face struggle from inside and outside. The feeling of unreachable goal of Twitch Partner and the pressure from society to give up his gig can lead to depression

Depression in Twitch Streamer

Depression among live streamers is common. Even successful streamers that already earn huge amount of money and popularity from streaming still face depression. 

BBC reckful twitch

Pressure from inside and outside from live streaming will destroy even the most optimistic heart. Many twitch streamers in the Reddit community reveal that they have depression

Twitch depresssion

You need to ask this question and answer it honestly

Is Twitch Streaming really your true passion?

Is video game streaming really your passion? Do you really love streaming that much you will sacrifice your money and time to stream? If failed to achieve success in streaming, even after countless hours and sweat poured in, will you give up? Passionate streamer will never give up. They stream not for popularity or money. They stream because they truly love it

Passion is a vague subject that is often be misunderstood. Sometimes we mistake passion with talent and hobby. Passion is your way of life, something that you won’t throw away even if you’re at the bottom of your life. Passionate artists will keep create his artwork, even if they are starving and poor. There is nothing wrong on having no passion on streaming. Everyone is different, and you shouldn’t follow other people path that successful on streaming

It’s okay to give up streaming and treat it as a hobby

7 years streaming on Twitch

If lives reach you and you need to give up streaming, will you give up yours dream? It’s okay to give up something, everyone has their own path of life. Nobody path is correct and perfect. Just don’t live in regret. If you are not passionate about streaming, it’s okay to treat streaming as a hobby. When you need to give up, just give up. Decide what to do in your real life, don’t assume that you need to become a successful streamer to become a happy person

Should you really become a Twitch Streamer?

If you like to interact with people while playing a game or doing your hobby, you will love to become a streamer. Twitch also the best platform you should choose as a streamer. Gaining followers, interacting with your fan, building a friendship with other streamer and maybe earning money is what you can get by becoming a Twitch streamer

Before you started streaming, you need to understand yourself what is the reason you started streaming. To make a friend you can chat with? Or you are idolizing a popular streamer and you wanted to become just like him? To earn money? Any reason is okay, as long you understand it will be a hard journey and maybe you will fail. Failure is the mother of success, right? So just keep trying

Can I become a successful Twitch Streamer?

If a streamer is happily streaming a game with only 10 viewers but they always keep watching his stream, he is a successful streamer. You don’t need to be the best streamer to be considered as successful. It’s okay to aim low or high. But you need to be ready for how hard it takes to become a popular streamer. Keep grinding but keep your expectation low

Streaming is a tough career. You need to be physically and mentally prepared for what lay ahead. Gaining your follower will take you years, not weeks or even months.

What it’s like to be a hobbyist streamer

Having streaming as a hobby, instead of your career is a decision you may choose as you walk in your streaming journey. Maybe you’re busy with your real life or you don’t like to transform your hobby into a job. It’s a good decision, there is nothing wrong with treating streaming as a hobby. According to research about hobby and quality of life, having a hobby can improve your quality of life from both physical and psychological health

Since you stream only as a hobby, there will be no pressure if you have less viewer. You will have no fear of losing your job or mortgage when Twitch suddenly change their policy

Is it worth the effort to start Twitch Streaming in 2021?

Yes, if you truly decide to become a Twitch streamer, you should. The Twitch community keep growing as video game started to seep our daily life. Remember how small video game community back then and only “nerds” play a video game. Now many people, even the Boomers know about Pokemon, Fornite, LoL, and even e-sport even though video game keeps being blamed on news media.

The video games industry will keep growing and the live streaming industry will follow its growth. 2021 maybe not be the best time to join the crowd, but there is no such thing as the best time to start streaming. If you keep delaying your decision, you are stunting your path to success.

Just Do It! But remember, keep your expectation low and keep your heart optimisticly during your journey. I hope your dream come true

Philip Maynan is a hobbyist streamer and digital artist. What he loves most are writing, gaming, and drawing. Currently, he focuses on blogging and learning digital art.

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