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Should you stream a saturated game, or an obscure one?

Hello there, welcome to Streamer’s Haven! We hope everybody is staying healthy and safe during these strange and difficult times! We’ve been asked several questions about streaming lately. Chief among them is on the subject of hugely popular titles like Fortnite or Minecraft. The question is simply this “Is it okay to stream a saturated game?”

The answer to this one is tricky.

What is contained here are our observations and opinions, and we want you to remember that ultimately, your channel is your own. And as such, you have the freedom to create the content you wish to create. Take our advice with a grain of salt.

In this article, we’ll discuss the advantages of streaming content from a saturated game title, as well as the disadvantages. Additionally, we’ll also cover the upsides and downsides to streaming within more obscure categories.

But does it even matter? Should you base your content on what has lower competition?

At least when it comes to Twitch and Mixer, the stream browser simply organizes the list of channels based on viewer metrics. It’s literally a popularity contest to reach the most exposure.

And how effective are the Twitch, Mixer, YouTube, and Facebook stream lists anyway? Are they worth even caring about as a means of generating traffic? Will Pinky and the Brain finally achieve their dream of taking over the world!?

If a couple of mice take over the world, we imagine the world would be set ablaze.

Well, aside from that last one, we’ll answer these questions to the best of our ability.

What is considered “Saturated” anyways?

A set of colorful pencils.
Not to be confused with Saturated Color

Let’s first start off with what a “saturated” game is, to begin with. What we mean when we say saturated, is that there is a lot of competition. That is to say, there are a lot of streamers active within that game or subject category.

A saturated title does not necessarily mean that it is a popular title for the audience. Also, certain titles may be more popular at other times of the day, when a different timezone is active. There are tools that can give you a rough idea about those “stream windows” such as TwitchStrike, but it’s unwise to trust the data from that 100%.

Don’t let the data rule your content. Your audience isn’t a machine, they don’t care about trends.

At the end of the day, you need to find what works best for you, any collab partners, AND your audience. Plan out a schedule with them in mind. We have a tool to help you do that. The included schedule extensions on Twitch can help you do this as well. Using the tools in tandem is beneficial to keeping yourself organized.

Why you would want to stream a saturated game

Photo by Caspar Camille Rubin on Unsplash

Streaming in a saturated category has two primary advantages. The first is that “viewers” are people, and get bored watching the same streamer playing all the time. So They hop streams within the same category. The second advantage is a bit of a lottery. Let’s elaborate on these points with examples:

  • If you are streaming in a category that has a lot of active viewers
    • There is a potential for some of them to funnel down to you even if you don’t have anybody watching you yet.
    • This is the primary advantage of streaming a saturated game.
      • However, this process is excruciatingly slow, and you may only net 1-3 per stream. The challenge is to convince them using your content to stay and stop by another time.
  • The second advantage occurs when an individual streamer ends their stream.
    • Many will choose to “raid” other streamers before they end,
      • This sends their current audience that opts into the raid to a specified streamer.
      • This is the lottery part that we mentioned above.
      • However, this lottery system isn’t a reliable method to generate traffic to your channel.

That said, other streamers prefer to raid within their group of friends and other streamers within their communities. This is why “networking” with streamers is so widely recommended:

To get the chance of being the target of a raid on a regular basis.

Just a word of warning; There be Sharks here in these waters…

The competition within a popular title is ludicrous but can be circumvented

These advantages get watered down as a certain threshold is reached; there are only so many viewers to go around, after all. Where this threshold lies varies from category to category.

Of course, if you establish a loyal community around your channel, then you can effectively stream whatever you’d like. Using community-building tools like Discord, you can interact with your audience in your downtime, and plan your content based on their suggestions. Keyword being suggestions; Don’t let certain pushy viewers dictate your content.

This incorporates your audience into the streaming dynamic and makes them feel like they have a say in what goes on (Because they do.). This is a big part of why streaming is becoming so popular as of late.

If all goes well, then you can quite literally stream whatever you want, saturation or no. Just…uh…Avoid those @everyone and @here tags in your community. That annoys people and pushes them away.

Direct messaging them notifications of when you’ll next be live can be effective, but ensure that they are okay with that. Having a personal notification can instill a sense of importance in your friends who want to support what you do.

Questions? Ask in #the-help-desk in the Streamer’s Haven Discord!

Other ways to drive traffic when you stream a saturated game

There is a pretty common misconception about streaming, and we’ve been going over the ways to completely ignore it until now. Of course, we are referring to the stream browser that is prevalent on most streaming platforms.

This is because, as mentioned in the introduction, it organizes these channels based on a single metric: Active viewers. This is great for growing streamers who are at the top of the list in these categories, and for the platform in convincing investors. However…

Let’s face it, the stream browser on Twitch and Mixer, in particular, is primitive and ineffective. At least for those not already above the fold (which is the vast majority).

The final ways that are not reliant on this platform-specific browser are these:

What about streaming obscure titles?

On the other side of the spectrum is streaming obscure titles by indie devs, or even older titles like Castlevania. This has the advantage of having a low stream browser Above the fold difficulty.

And then there are sleeper categories; completely dead categories of games that absolutely NOBODY streams. You are the Top spot for this, all the time! There is definitely merit in this approach in that regard, however, there is also a very big risk of simply being too obscure.

That isn’t to say nobody is searching those titles; and you could very well hatch a golden egg of the next “Untitled Goose Game”. You could become the “Brothgar” of Oxygen Not Included. However, these are very few and far between. You are far more likely to waste your time than see actual results from the stream browser in this case.

So, what is the best course of action then? Obscure? Saturated? Somewhere in the middle?

Nope!

At the end of the day, What you stream does not matter.

The Stream Browser is the bonus, not the focus.

You are focusing in on what your content should be, and aren’t asking yourself what you want to create. Sure, what your stream can generate some interest in your channel, It could gain you traction. But then, do you really want to be the one known for a game you might not enjoy playing for years and years?

Advice is good and all, but at the end of the day, you are the one to make the decisions. The way that you get your foot in the door will be unique to you. Just remember, your viewers are not numbers, they are people. Build your relationships, and sculpt your community with your own hands. Every step forward is a step further. Every new friend is a new viewer. Forge your community, and when you finally look back, you’ll see just how far you’ve gone.

You are the master orchestrator of your channel. You have complete creative freedom (within the TOS of your platform and any laws of your country!) to do with whatever it is that you want to do! So DO IT!

via GIPHY

What does matter?

Let us propose a question to ask yourself. What do you think the most important step is in getting your foot in the door as a streamer?

We want you to think good and hard about your answer before you continue. Forget the advice of others, just focus in on what you believe. In fact, close your eyes, and think for just a moment.

Did you find your answer?

The Ultimate Guide to a better stream

There are so many different things about streaming that you need to know in order to be successful. That’s why we wrote this awesome guide to help you along the way!

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