Why We Stream

Posted by Pinch November 21, 2019 in GAMINGStreaming

The streamer community is constantly growing. Every day it seems that hundreds of people “Go Live” and start down the path of Streamer Life. Platforms like Twitch, Mixer, and YouTube have been around for over a decade. But it didn’t happen until recently that these platforms gained a lot of traction.

MY story starts like this:

Years ago, I had a really bad breakup.  I was with a girl for 7 years. I thought I was going to marry her, and yeah, I loved the fuck out of her.  Unfortunately, she didn’t feel the same way. During that breakup, I found a website where I could watch movies and TV and chat with people.  Those people, that community, became my breakup therapy. That website was JustinTv. Justin.tv, or JTV as we called it, let me meet with tons of people across the US daily and really just have a laugh together, chatting and watching something together with real people.  It was Rocky Horror Picture Show on Steroids. I was addicted. I would spend all my time watching Big Bang Theory, countless movies, and really anything that the room host would play. There would be 20+ people hanging out at any given time in chat, and we would all chat together. 

As TOS changed, and the market changed as well, JTV changed with the times.  It was getting harder and harder for the people who ran it to stop copyright infringing pirates to stream it on their channels.  Harder to track drug use and nudity. So they pivoted. REALLY HARD. Gaming was on the rise, more and more online gamers were coming out and finding ways to share their games with a chatroom.  Twitch.TV was born.  

So why do I stream? 

I was homeless at this time.  In fact, this was the beginning of my homelessness.  Me finding JustinTV and TwitchTV happened about one year into my “urban camping expedition”.  I constantly thought about the platform, about the friends I made on JTV, and how Twitch may ruin all of that.  

Years later, I started watching Necro, a Battlefield streamer at the time, who has since gone into playing a variety of different games.  His community was (and still is) fantastic. Everyone was welcoming and I was welcomed in like I was a regular. I was hooked.  

A few weeks later I went live on my PS4 for the first time.  Playing Battlefield in my living room with no cam, and a headset.  I worked at getting better at being a medic and hoping to play with my favorite streamer (and honestly the only one I watched at the time).  I watched his streams daily, mimicked his movement style and learned the tips he had for the in-game guns. It made me a better BF player.  After a while, my streams began to evolve into other games. I started playing Fortnite, Frost Punk, Slay the Spire… Evolved into getting an El Gato capture card, and a Yeti Mic, and a Logitech C-922 Cam, and a Green Screen, and better lighting… 

My voyage into Twitch began as a way to watch people play games and became an exploration into forging new friendships, cutting out some toxicity in my life, and working toward finding more friends to play games with.  It evolved to me becoming former Executive Director of an eSports organization and further into starting my own with one of my best friends, someone I would have never met if it wasn’t for twitch.  

I stream because I wanted to make friends.  As an introvert, it is hard for me to meet new people and really create those deep connections.  Before streaming, I had a handful of close friends. Friends who I have known my whole life. Friends who I thought would be lifelong friends.  I haven’t spoken to them in months, primarily due to falling outs. The people I have met during my streaming career – to use the term extremely loosely – have become my best friends. 

From evolving my gameplay to a higher level to enriching my life on a personal level, my friends mean the world to me. I don’t do it to build my personal community, or to become a full-time streamer, or whatever.  I do it because this platform – this new way of gaming and sharing your gameplay in real-time with real people – is the best thing that has happened to the gaming community. It brings gaming to the forefront and lets all us anti-social or social-phobic gamers know that we are not alone.  

There are thousands upon thousands of people who stream on Twitch, YouTube, and Mixer.  We all have our own story. Our own reasons as to why we stream. I asked some of my favorite people on twitch what got them into streaming and why they continue to do so.  Here are some of their stories:

ThatGuyKor_:

My first stop was a good friend of mine, ThatGuyKor_.  I’ve known Kor for a while and felt that he would be perfect to ask why he started streaming and how it influences his life.  

I started streaming to connect with people. Streaming for me has always been about the connection. That’s what drew me to it. Youtube isn’t about the connection as much I feel. When you go live you have people watching and are talking. The most I have streaming is when I get to talk to people. I started dabbling a little bit then decided to go all-in at once. I bought pretty much all my streaming equipment in a span of 4 months.

Streaming has changed my life by giving me some life long friends. There will be people that regardless of if I keep streaming or not I will keep in contact with. Some of the people that I have met have been and still are the people that are helping me the most with everything we’ve been going through the last couple of months.

Kor has been going through a lot of personal life changes that have been difficult for him and his family.  Streaming has become a way of therapy for him in a social setting. The feeling of community and friendship through hard times is useful and extremely sought after.  You can find his Twitch channel and community here.

RetroRayvon:

I reached out to one of my best friends, someone I met during my start as a Twitch streamer, RetroRayvon and asked him the same questions.  Rayvon is top tier community-driven. His close-knit group of people are some of the best people I have ever met in a community, and being in his channel feels more like hanging out in his living room playing games than being on the internet.  His wife, Nicole, mods his channel and memes on him and even sometimes streams alongside him. Here is his answer to why he streams:

 If somebody stops by my channel on a really bad day while I’m goofing off and playing Lego games and it makes them feel better, than who knows what difference we can make if we continue to hone how we interact with new people.”

So. Why do I stream? I think the answer changes from time to time, but, at the core, it becomes about wanting to connect to people that are into the same stuff that I am. I met Donut through Spyro which led me to meet you (Pinch) and Bishop, I met CrashedStarling through Pokemon, I met Edro through Metroid and then met Lydlbutton and MeekRhino through him. It all comes down to wanting to find people like you and having somebody to communicate with about something you’re passionate about.  

The path that led to me starting is a bit convoluted, but I’ll try to boil it down. One of my favorite YouTubers did some segments with his wife from time to time, and I found out she had her own YouTube channel focused on her collection of cards, merch, etc. related to Pokemon. I followed her on Twitter so I could see any new stuff she brought in and noticed that she also streamed on Twitch. I ignored her going live tweets for a couple of years but I hit a really low point one day and figured if I couldn’t bring myself back by listening to music or taking a walk or any of my usual coping mechanisms, I’d visit her stream and see what it was all about. The way she interacted with her community and the way she knew all these details about people that watched her seemed really cool to me, and all she did that stream was play Animal Crossing Pocket Camp. A free-to-play mobile game and she had dozens of people that showed up to watch because they connected with her in some way.

I found other channels I liked from the people she hosted and within the same week, I made the decision to move my computer set up to start streaming myself. I think the “why” is that I wanted to try and be that person for somebody else. If somebody stops by my channel on a really bad day while I’m goofing off and playing Lego games and it makes them feel better than who knows what difference we can make if we continue to hone how we interact with new people. Along the same lines, I think if we set out each day to try and make somebody’s time in this world just a little bit better, it expands what we can be capable of as a community and as a society.

It can lead you to see the world just a bit differently and try to find out more about who a person really is

For what I’ve learned, I think the old cliche of “Never judge a book by its cover” holds very true. I’ve interacted with people in ways I never would’ve expected, and I think if you take Twitch out of the equation and you and I or Bishop and I ran into each other on the street, we would make judgments and assumptions about each other without even realizing. Without even knowing anything about the other person. This platform gives people such a good outlet to communicate with each other first and find groups with the same interests, and it’s stuff like that that leads to friendships that never could’ve occurred otherwise.

You and I were able to get to know each other in a different way, finding out what we had in common first before any differences even came into play. We’re far enough apart in age that there’s no parallel world where we went to school together, our skill sets are different enough that we probably would’ve never worked together, so Twitch is really the only thing that could’ve led to you and me becoming friends. It can lead you to see the world just a bit differently and try to find out more about who a person really is before just dismissing them as somebody you could never get along with. That in itself is life-changing.

RetroRayvon, formerly DynamicDilan, can be found on Twitch right here.  He streams Spyro speed-runs and other various casual games.  He makes his streams as family-friendly as possible because he typically plays while his son watches. 

Necro:

I reached out to my personal favorite streamer, and the person who originally inspired me to start streaming, Twitch.TV partner Necro, a Twitch streamer out of New York State.  His level of gameplay was inspiring, and being able to keep up with his ever-scrolling chat was unreal.  I was, and still am, inspired to be at his level of Streamer. After fanboy-ing over him for the first several sentences, I asked him why he streams and how it affects him.  Here’s what he had to say when I asked him why he streams and what got him into it.

“I’ve always been a pretty quiet person so this was a challenge

I began watching streams back in the days of Justin.tv, and it’s always something I’ve been interested in. Streaming seems to add another layer to gaming in general and I wanted in on that. The problem was I didn’t have a capable PC and console streaming wasn’t a thing yet. After years passed, I had a decent PC that could handle streaming (but not gaming at the same time).

As far as why I started streaming, there are a few reasons. The extra layer of interactivity with people always intrigued me. I was also at a pretty dark point in my life. Severe depression and anxiety that started out of nowhere. After several visits to a doctor to figure out what I can do, they mentioned they I should put myself out there more and experience new things, interact with people. I’ve always been a pretty quiet person so this was a challenge I didn’t feel confident I’d be able to do until I thought of streaming. I talked to my wife about it, just putting myself out there and she supported it completely and still does to this day.

Necro has been an inspiration for me and many other gamers.  His map awareness when playing multiplayer games is unreal and his single-player content is some of the most entertaining I’ve seen.  He’s played through games that I, personally, don’t have the time or patience to get through. One of the most consistent people I’ve seen.  You can find Necro’s channel right here.

Streamers have their own reasons why they stream, but there is one thing that brings us all together.  People. Each streamer, each person, one way or another, needs people.  So next time someone says “I stream on (platform)” Don’t turn your nose up at them or start a flame war, or epeen measuring contest.  We all need something to help fulfill us.  

Giovanni “Pinch” Mapile is a Twitch Affiliate.  You can find his channel right here.  His content is a flaming dumpster fire and so is his gameplay.