Anyone who has tried streaming before knows just how difficult it can be to maintain a significant viewer base. Interacting with chat, playing a game well, being generally entertaining, all of these skills must work together to provide an engaging experience for the viewers. Generally speaking, improving on any one of these skills will be a significant help to improving your stream. However, one often overlooked aspect to a streamer’s popularity is the games they choose to play.
When you think about it, the streamer’s game of choice is absolutely crucial for stream quality. It dictates the majority of the topics that will be talked about during the stream. This does not necessarily mean it has to be a good game, sometimes bad games are the most entertaining. For the most part, it is safest to go with high viewer categories found at the top of Twitch. It’s not the only choice, however, as other categories of games can provide alternate strategies to growing a streaming community. In this article, we’ll break down three distinct categories of games people can stream and how they can be helpful for growth, with three games in each category. They include:
Trendy Games (November 2021)
Trendy games are anything that is new and likely not going to stay around, or at least the top of the viewer charts, for very long. The general strategy when playing games like this is to continue hopping from new game to new game as the trends come and go. This allows for a lot of variety which lets the streamer’s personality shine through the differing gameplay. Getting into a trend first is also a great way to skyrocket viewers if you happen to be able to take over a category early or even just remain towards the top. The main drawback to this strategy is the lack of a reliable game to play on dull days. There is not always a massively popular trending game for streamers to play, so having an ol’ reliable may be a good idea, even if just for backup.
Phasmophobia is what all entertaining streamers love in a new game. The gameplay is relatively short, the experience in game is entertaining for the viewers, and the ambience it creates makes for a perfect stream. Everyone loves to watch their favorite streamers scream in terror, in fact it is what Pewdiepie’s success can be attributed to (among many other things as well). The teamwork aspect to Phasmophobia also makes it much easier for streamers to play together which is a great strategy for reaching new viewers in the other streamers’ chats.
Another up and coming game in the streaming community is Super Auto Pets. In my eyes, the best part about streaming this game is being able to show the intelligence of the streamer through strategic gameplay while also being able to heavily interact with the chat. There are no timers (unless you play versus mode) meaning that you can stop and talk to chat for as long as you would like to. It’s also free to play making it perfect for new streamers who do not have a budget to buy the new and trendy games. If you are looking for a more in-depth review of Super Auto Pets, check out Super Auto Pets: Steam’s Cutest Auto Battler!
Crab Game is the newest big game modeled after the popular Netflix series Squid Game. Essentially, it is a battle royale style game in which a bunch of participants compete in childhood-esque games such as hide and seek or games modeled after ones from the Netflix series like glass jumps. It is an extremely entertaining game to stream due to the wonky physics and addition of in game voice chat. In fact, we have been streaming it over on the Esteemed Steam Games Twitch channel, which you should definitely go check on and even hang out for a while!
Safe picks are basically the largest games on Twitch as they tend to have the most viewers within that category. There are a number of different major games not included on this list such as League of Legends, but that is simply because they are not available on Steam. The general reasoning behind making these one of your main games to stream, or even just one that you stream often, is that there are already a ton of people out there that love the game itself (hence the popularity of the game). Streaming games like this will certainly establish your stream’s longevity if, and this is a big if, you are able to climb out of the bottom ranks of the category to make it easier for new viewers to find you (as they do not have to scroll as far down).
Apex Legends is a team-based battle royale in which teams of three people choose a legend and drop in on whatever map their lobby happens to be playing. The mechanics of the game are smooth and refined with quality gunplay to match. This allows players who are good at FPS style games to show off their skills and impress their viewers. Remember, you do not have to be a perfect streamer in every category (skill, funny, attractive, etc.). For some, being extremely talented at a game is all you need. I mean, just look at how large Shroud’s viewer base is based almost entirely on how good he is at competitive shooters.
Grand Theft Auto V is the perfect game for the more theatrical style of streamer. The roleplay section, which is by far the biggest section of streamers in GTA, allows the streamer to immerse themselves in an entirely new world. This gives the viewers a completely unique experience that would only make sense to happen in the world of GTA. It is perfect for those who are great at improvisational comedy or are just generally charismatic streamers. The gameplay is not too mechanically intensive meaning the most entertaining people will likely dominate this category.
By this point, I’m sure just about everyone has heard of CS:GO. Similar to Apex Legends, it is a game all about mechanical and strategic skills. It is a place where talented FPS players get to show off their aim and movement. I would not recommend this as a main game for someone to stream if they have never played it, but it is a great way to go for skilled players.
Niche games is my way of saying less popular games that tend to form tight-knit communities around the love for the game itself. Many of these games are often successful in their own rights (like on Steam, for example), but are not too popular on Twitch for whatever reason. This means that they are quality games that people actually enjoy, they may just not be the most entertaining compared to the major categories. You may not get as many viewers playing one of these games, but the viewers you do get will likely be much more faithful than ones you would get from the trendy game category.
The Binding of Isaac is one of those games where the streamer has to be passionate about the game itself or it will be immediately noticeable to the viewers (unless you are new to the game, in which case they would probably help you). It is one of those games where the community for the game itself (and rogue-likes in general) are so tight-knit that there is a ton of community interaction. This is great for new streamers as it helps them find a category they feel like they belong in. The only requirement for this game is that you have to actually like the category to ensure the viewers will want to stick around!
DayZ used to be extremely popular about seven years ago as one of the first modern open-world survival games to hit the market. The development team, unfortunately, did not capitalize too well on this and lost a ton of their player base due to a lack of updates and bug fixes. Over the last year or so, the game has begun to reach the same peak player base numbers they have almost a decade ago. DayZ is perfect for the more hardcore gamers who like to stream longer hours as I would not consider it to be a fast-paced game by any means.
Similar to GTA V roleplay, VRChat popularity for streamers depends purely on their ability to be entertaining. VRChat itself is merely an alternate reality where players can meet up in virtual locations (using a VR headset) and interact with each other. It is very similar to the Just Chatting or IRL categories, except in a virtual world. If you think that you are able to be entertaining solely off of charisma alone, this may be the game for you!
Look, streaming is not a job you can just ‘try out’ and expect to find success. It takes many hours of dedication to grow a community. For some, they simply may not be cut out for entertaining other people, and that’s okay. If you are however, using some of these general marketing strategies for the game of your choice just may take your stream to the next level!
Heading image courtesy of progameguides.com