Why I stream

WHY I STREAM: via Twitch

Many of you know that I like to stream video games on my little Twitch.tv channel. Something I’ve noticed a lot since I started is the attitude a lot of people have towards streamers, and one big question always comes up. Why do you stream?

I’ve heard people’s opinions that streamers only stream for attention, to get famous, to make money or exploit viewers, and various other interesting takes on streaming as a whole. And while the “for attention” reasoning often gets used against women who stream, regardless of how those ladies might live up to people’s various standards of “respectability,” it does get used against all streamers by certain people. Even though I don’t feel the need to justify myself to anyone, I wanted to share my reasons behind streaming, because it was a question I asked myself a lot.

There are a few reasons. Initially, I started streaming because I loved watching streams and they always encouraged me to play games. The interactions seemed so much fun that I felt like I wanted that too, and so I decided to give it a try. While I doubt I’ll ever have a viewership as big as some of the streamers I love watching and interacting with, I love talking to the people who do come along and hang out, and sharing my enjoyment with other people is something I’ve done in all things I do for years.

I also found it helped me a lot with my confidence. While I am loud and somewhat obnoxious in real life (and on camera!) I use this as a way of hiding how shy I am. I’m pretty introverted, and I am really socially awkward and lack confidence in myself. I’d heard streaming in particular helped with other people’s confidence even more than making videos or blogging etc, because it’s live and people are actively watching you play and talk. So I tried it, first without a webcam, and later with one. It has helped a lot, though I’m definitely not there yet!

WHY I STREAM: The power of friendship! (League of Legends' Teambuilder feature)
Source: League of Legends Teambuilder Announcement

But the biggest reason of all is pretty silly, but one that means a lot to me. I’ve always envied friends who had a large group of people playing the same game as them, usually World of Warcraft or another MMO, that I never really had. Most of my gaming buddies live in the US so our gaming times conflict and worse still, there’s lag to contend with and often server issues such as NA and EU being separate. Because of this, I often only play solo or occasionally with my fiancΓ©, depending on the game. We do have one mutual friend we play with, but again, I don’t have the large group of people who play the same game.

With streaming, I feel like I can overcome this. I can have 10 – 50 people watching me and talking to me while I play a game. Sure, we’re not always in the game together (though sometimes we are!) but viewers often jump in with tips, or jokes, or just plain keep me company while I play. This is especially important to me when I’m playing horror games because I am a chicken! Having people talking to me makes it all a little less scary than it is if I play alone. I’ve made some great friends through streaming, be they other streamers or just people who happened to drop by one day and stuck around. They’re people I play games with outside of streaming, and that’s something that’s helped me feel less lonely in the gaming community.

Do I like the attention I receive? Sure, it’s nice to receive a compliment from time to time, but it’s certainly not the reason most people stream, and I think those who use it as an insult don’t realise that with the good attention comes the bad; the trolling, the flaming, and the sexist or hateful remarks. But the fun you have can often outbalance that, and that’s a wonderful thing.

Why do you stream or watch streamers?
Let me know in the comments below!

  • Rhiannon

    I really like watching streams and interacting with people that are playing the game. I think it’s a great way of talking about and learning new things about game you love an enjoy or even to find a new game. I have thought about doing little ones before but maybe when we move. There are sadly always keyboard warriors that want to ruin everyone’s fun. If you enjoy it and manage to make a little money from doing something you enjoy then why not?

    • I totally agree. Thanks for sharing your feelings on it, it’s always nice to hear from friends who I know maybe don’t stream yet. I definitely think you should though! I’d love to watch you playing games. <3

    • I replied to this ages ago but apparently Disqus didn’t like it! πŸ˜›

      I really love chatting to people while they play, and it usually encourages me to try new games! And I totally agree with everything you’ve said here. If you do stream, let me know! I’d love to watch. <3

  • Xia

    I don’t have the guts to stream because I am so worried of the trolls or receiving negative comments from folks claiming I’m looking for attention. It’s silly really; we have a live show/chat with The Sundering and that has gone great, so why should my streaming a game be any different? I think it’s because I have my co-hosts to banter with versus trying to carry something solo. Perhaps I’ll get to the point where I feel more confident to stream games (your take on why you do is really refreshing and I agree)

    • Awwh I think you’d be fine! You’re a really entertaining person on The Sundering so I really don’t think it’d be a problem. πŸ™‚ But I know what you mean, having other people to chat to while you play can be really helpful, especially if carrying it solo is difficult due to lower viewer numbers like most people have as they start out. I have a secure group of people who come nearly every time but I still feel like it helps to have someone else to banter with!

      Hope you do stream sometime, I’d love to come watch. πŸ˜€

  • annietv

    used to like streaming and producing live and online events than they took me out the passion and leave with anger.

    • I’m sorry to hear that. πŸ™

  • Dario

    I actually don’t watch streamers that much because if it’s a game that I’m able to play, I’d rather be playing it than watching. However you bring up a great point that it’s an excellent tool to communicate with the community, even if there can be some backlash. I think I will make a better effort to watch and give feedback (mostly good! I promise) in the future as I cannot stream myself with my current PC.

    • I actually know that feeling very well. If I watch streamers, I often want to play the game they’re streaming within 15 minutes. πŸ˜› I’ll likely be trying to keep a stream running on my other monitor nowadays since I have dual monitors at home finally!

      Feedback is always useful, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative! Hope you get an opportunity to try streaming sometime. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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