For the Love of Live Streaming

Live streaming is a relatively new form of media. It’s also been my biggest creative outlet for the last three-plus years, enabling me to express myself in ways I’d never been able to before.

I’m a pretty generic guy. I don’t have any super special talents, I’m mediocre at video games, and I think my primary perk is that I do well when engaging with people. I do love technology and have a knack for how technology works and how it can work together to make cool stuff happen. I think that’s a big part of what drew me to live streaming.

My content creation was inspired heavily by the folks from X-Play on G4TV (Adam Sessler and Morgan Webb), who had a way of expressing and articulating their love for gaming in ways that made me think that games were more than just mindless entertainment — they were an artistic expression of many people that could have an impact on us. Plus, their creative writing team, silly skits and generally enthusiastic-yet-cynical view of gaming culture had a huge impact on my young self, leading to my interest in games journalism and analysis beyond just the surface level of games themselves.

These two were the face of gaming for young me.

The intersection of creating something artistic, engaging with people, playing and analyzing video games, and utilizing technology in unusual ways appealed to me massively. I started out by recording podcasts with my friend Jorge in the spare bedroom at my house. Eventually we did a video version for YouTube. Not long after that, I started live streaming, and I was hooked.

In the intervening three-plus years of my live streaming adventures, I’ve come to realize that, while not entirely sunshine and roses, live streaming is a very rewarding and enjoyable experience. I’d like to highlight some of the top parts of being a live streamer for those interested in becoming one themselves. I’ll be making a post on the flip-side of this shortly after this one releases to the masses, so please be sure to read both halves of this delicious streaming cookie before you embark on your own adventure (if you’re using this as some sort of pro-con weighing to decide if it’s something you’d like to do).

Community is its own reward (as are games, too)

Aside from the obvious monetary rewards of being a partnered streamer with a healthy community that loves to support the content, it’s been an amazing experience to make new friends. My community has grown rapidly in the past months, and I’m happy to say I’ve gotten to know some of the community fairly well. It’s sometimes isolating to work full-time and then stream on the weekends or evenings, so having friends to talk to while you game (or game with them) is so, so wonderful.

It’s also nice to get some of the games you play on-stream as part of a promotion for the game. It can save a lot of money off of a voracious gaming habit (which I have) when you don’t have to pay for games you were on the fence about shelling out the cash for.

It’s sometimes isolating to work full-time and then stream on the weekends or evenings, so having friends to talk to while you game (or game with them) is so, so wonderful.

An enjoyable prospect

Simply put, it’s fun. It’s rare that I have a stream that I don’t enjoy myself. In fact, it’s only happened once in the last couple years, and honestly I made the mistake of dragging the session out instead of just ending the stream and collecting myself before I came back next stream. I didn’t enjoy myself, the viewers didn’t enjoy themselves, and it wasn’t the best time.

Beyond that, every stream has been enjoyable. The games are fun, the company kept is great, and I find myself smiling more often than not. If you’re not having fun, don’t do it. Simple as that.

I enjoy gaming. // Photo by Jeff Hardi on Unsplash

Golden opportunities

I’ve had the good fortune to do some crazy adventuring with the support of my community. I’ve had the opportunity to do channel takeovers for game companies, feature on platform-run shows, and be front-and-center at events, all thanks to streaming and my friends.

I did a channel takeover of the Sleep Tight channel for 2 hours, featuring to over 2,300 concurrent viewers for the duration of the stream. I’ve been on Mixer’s Red Show. I’ve worked with my local Microsoft Store to show off Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Mixer’s capabilities.

I’ve had the good fortune to do some crazy adventuring with the support of my community.

I visited Minnesota to team up with content creator friends to run a 24-hour Extra Life charity fundraiser. We raised over $1,000 for sick kids.

I went to PAX West in Seattle, WA where I ran two panels on the Mixer main stage with fellow creators. I visited Microsoft Studio D and was on Tips and Tricks in the Mixer Studio. I made connections to game studios and my fellow creators.

I went to PAX South in San Antonio, TX and had the fortune to meet a small contingent of my amazing community. I got to spend time with friends and make new ones. I was able to shoutcast HypeZone Live, and stream from the Mixer booth.

I got the see the HQ of the company that made this controller.
Photo by Arturo Rey on Unsplash

This year I go to E3 in Los Angeles, CA to see the machinations of one of gaming’s biggest events. I’m going to have the opportunity to connect with new games and game companies, and hopefully make some new friends while I’m at it!

I say all this not to brag or rub in what a tiny bit of success can bring, but to highlight what can happen if you put in the effort and time to build a healthy community and enjoyable content. These never would’ve happened without my friends in the ICT community. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, and I’m excited to see where it takes me next.

Stay tuned, my next post will highlight the downsides of live streaming. I’ll try not to be as hyper-negative as this sounds, I promise!

Title photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash

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