Should I Be a Variety Streamer or Play a Single Game?
A big question when streamers are getting started is… what games should I stream? While there are ways to work that out, deciding whether you only play one game, three games or every game is an important consideration which will affect how quickly you build an audience.
Consistency is everything when it comes to streaming on Twitch, and not just consistency in time, but consistency in the games you play. I’ve broken it down into three types of streamers:
- Solo streamers
- Specialist streamers
- Variety streamers
Many of the most popular streamers on Twitch started as solo streamers, and eventually started spending one day a week playing a different game in a similar style, before increasing this amount per week, and eventually becoming a variety streamer.
This may be the process you follow, or you may work better doing it in reverse and finding a game that you utterly love. Or you may suit creating your own path and doing it your own way.
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Solo streamers are those who play one game only. They are happy to grind through one game, learn everything about it and get as good at it as possible.
What qualities do you need?
- You need to never get bored of that one game
- To be extremely knowledgable and teach your viewers
- To be skilled at the game (or at least entertaining when you’re losing)
- Easiest way to build a community because your viewers will love what you are doing because they love the game
- You become known for being that streamer who plays certain heroes/characters or certain positions/lanes
- Opportunities to grow into the individual gaming scene as a professional player, commentator, coach or analyst
- If you were to ever switch to another game — community may not follow you
- You may get burnt out or bored of the game
- If you are playing a popular game (such as League of Legends or Fortnite), even if you are streaming that individual game every week — it’ll be a slow grind to the top of the lists
Known as genre players, these streamers are masters of one particular genre of games, be it MOBA, FPS, Zombie or Strategy. They can bounce between different games as long as they are similar.
Many Solo streamers move into this category upon gaining an audience. We’re seeing Ninja move from Fortnite only content to playing every new Battle-Royale game and that makes complete sense. As he grows out of the game (and surely gets bored with hundreds of hours on it?) so will his audience.
What qualities do you need
- A reasonably high skill level to move between different games in the same genre
- Knowledge across multiple games
- Be able to showcase your personality to stand out above the individual solo streamers
- A more natural fit for most people — they enjoy certain types of genres such as FPS, Strategy or MOBA and can bounce between the games within easily
- Audience may follow you to each game you play due to who you are
- Could be harder to build a following without focusing on one game — but those who do watch you will not leave when they see you playing a different (but similar) game
How do you become a variety streamer? Are you like me and want to play a new game every day? Will your community follow you whatever you play? Then ✓ you are a variety streamer!
What qualities do you need
- Personality is the reason variety streamers succeed — whether it’s the way their engage with their community, whether they are funny or whether they do something completely unique to Twitch — a variety streaming stands out on the strength of who they are
- If you are not good at the game — you need to be able to still make it entertaining to the viewer
- A engaged community — which you are continuously engaging with (be it across social media, in Twitch chat or through rewards such as viewer games)
- You play what you want, when you want
- Easiest way to stand out as a personality
- Your community will become loyal followers of you and your ‘brand’
- It’s going to be slower and harder to grow without playing a dedicated game every day/week
- Your competition is every single streamer on Twitch as opposed to just the broadcasters in one game
How should you progress from one to another?
First of all, do it slowly, and explain why to your community and audience. This will usually happen due to natural reasons such as a game losing it’s excitement to you or a game becoming less popular to a wider audience.
- Solo > Specialist: You’ve played PUBG for the past 8 months and seen impressive growth in a saturated game, however
,you’re starting to get bored of the maps, bugs and gameplay, so you want to try out another game… however your audience is not interested in you playing Hearthstone and the games are not remotely similar, so you decide to play Battalion 1944 on a Friday night and your community love it. After a few more weeks of playing it on a single evening, you announce to your community that you are going to be playing more Battalion 1944 and Battlefield 5 over the next few months.
But ultimately, it doesn’t really matter does it? Be you. Play the games you want to play and enjoy yourself.
If you want to grow your community and following, then consider whether you should be a variety streamer, but if you know that it’ll stress you out playing a single game every day… then don’t.
Should you play a popular game to stand out? Maybe this isn’t the best idea…
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