I can still remember when live streaming was a brand new concept. I learned about it mostly through artists that I knew. They would live stream the process of their art, whether it was digital, physical, or crafting. I loved watching creators work and having the ability to chat with them while they went. This was back when the (now) simply titled Livestream site was the biggest platform. Now there are dozens, with giants like Twitch, Snapchat, YouTube, and Facebook/Instagram allowing creators many platforms on which to stream.
Many are even starting to strike exclusive deals with other companies and content creators. There are some games that are exclusively on Twitch, others on Facebook. Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds just made a deal with Facebook to only host their official live streams there. Other well known streamers only post their content on Twitch. It’s an interesting talking point, since the livestreaming community is so over-saturated already. Why would you limit your audience to only one place? What happens if some people would love to subscribe, but they don’t want to create a Twitch account? There are many different examples
It’s all part of a much bigger and disconcerting trend in video games right now. Streamers are a dime a dozen. Some make insane amounts of money, but the vast majority don’t. When articles like “The Highest-Paid YouTube Stars 2016: PewDiePie Remains No. 1 With $15 Million” go live, it gives a brand new slew of people hope that they’ll be the next streaming millionaire. What they don’t realize is the amount of effort, time, and good old luck it takes to get to those spots. Not everyone can make money from streaming, and those that do devote their entire lives to it.
There have been plenty of horror stories in recent years about streamers who go to extreme lengths for fame. They spend seemingly all hours of their days either streaming, working a regular job so they can stream, or planning to stream. There have even been those that have died for the process. There’s one example from this year alone of a streamer who left 22 hours into a 24 hour marathon for a smoke break and didn’t return.
Even streamers who are still active and posting regular content have cited feelings of intense pressure to commit. When you always have a niggling sensation in the back of your mind that you’re not doing enough, it can cause some serious problems. It’s not uncommon for content creators to have to take breaks from their channels sometimes. It’s only healthy really. Some build up enough of a following quickly enough that they can take these breaks without much backlash. But others could suffer immense follower losses from simple mental health breaks.
It’s an incredibly interesting subject to me personally, since I have been on both sides of the line. As a viewer of streams, I enjoy watching everything from short 15 minute streams of gameplay, hour long developer chats, and even lengthier game playthroughs. I have also personally streamed a 24-hour gaming marathon for charity and been a part of other streams for other companies in various positions. Even just moderating chats can be stressful, let alone being the person on-camera.
Every time the thought has crossed my mind to start streaming regularly, I’ve banished it for so many reasons. There’s obviously the time commitment while you’re streaming. This can be hard to justify when you’re already trying to maintain a good work/life balance. And personally, there’s the pressure of having to be “on” every stream. Some times, just like everyone else, I have bad days. I wouldn’t want to disappoint my audience with a crap stream because I’m a little depressed.
As someone who loves watching live streams and videos of completed live streams, I hope the process continues. I hope people keep trying their hardest to be the next Markipliers and Tyler Oakleys. On the flip side, I hope the pressure to become a streamer just to expand my audience and/or to maintain the one I already have doesn’t become too much. I’d rather not accidentally become one of those horror stories. Also, how do I compete with the “sexy streamer” who leans on sex appeal rather than quality, when I’m not interested in perusing that route?
How do you feel about the business of livestreaming? Do you think it’s an oversaturated industry and people need to give up? Is it too high pressure for the average human to survive? Or is everyone just being a pansy and should they buck up and get on with it? Let me know your thoughts!