By Zach Mosca
Over the past decade, video game-related content on the internet has become more widespread. Students at Youngstown State University have joined the fun by broadcasting gameplay live on the livestreaming website Twitch.
Twitch started in 2011 as a platform for gamers to broadcast gameplay live to people around the world. Over the years, the website has grown in popularity, becoming the primary source for watching esports tournaments or simply for people to watch others play their favorite games.
One of the streamers on this site is junior computer science major Dante Davis. Davis runs the Twitch channel zEnViOuSz and is a Twitch affiliate. Davis described the process of reaching this status and what it entails for streamers.
“You have to stream for a consecutive amount of days in a 30-day period. So, you have to stream for however many days and however many hours total streamed, and then you have to be able to average at least three viewers,” Davis said. “Once you get that, you get an email from Twitch, and then on your Twitch channel there is an affiliate tab that ends up appearing that you’re able to then further go into Twitch and set up [subscribers].”
Subscribing on Twitch is not the same as on websites such as YouTube. YouTube subscriptions are free and allow users to get updates in their feeds from their favorite channels, whereas Twitch subscriptions cost $4.99 per month and will get users exclusive emotes from the channel to use in chat rooms as well as other potential perks.
Some users have private chat rooms on sites like Discord exclusively for subscribers, and others host game nights where subscribers can play games with them. Luke Frye, a former computer science major at YSU, operates the Twitch channel TheSuperBetic. He plans to implement more perks for his subscribers soon without alienating those who aren’t subscribed.
“We’re actually in the works of doing [subscriber]-only nights, but I usually just have an open night. If people are going to sub, they’re going to sub if they want to … If you sub, you get the emotes, you get a cool badge and we can hang out more in Discord probably, but it’s not anything separate from what you do just for following or being a part of a community,” Frye said.
Twitch is a very diverse platform for streaming — not only for the amount of games people play, but for the styles of content people produce. For example, Davis describes himself as a “variety streamer” who aims to attract various audiences based on what game he is playing.
“I don’t like to just play one game all the time, because I just believe that obviously a lot of people absolutely love watching a person just for one specific game. I want to be a person that you like to come watch for multiple different reasons, not for just one game,” Davis said.
However, other streamers prefer to stick to one game or a series. Senior computer science major Sarah Hunt streams the Fire Emblem series. Hunt participates in a type of challenge called “draft racing.”
“It’s a speedrun of a Fire Emblem game … but it’s not just a speedrun, it’s a speedrun where you can only use specific units. You and your opponents are randomly assigned an order in which you’ll pick your units and you take turns picking your units that you do the race with,” Hunt said.
Developing a community of fans takes time, but users such as Davis have advice for aspiring steamers struggling to gain viewers.
“Don’t get discouraged about it. You want to embrace it, and you want to stay consistent … You don’t have to stream every day, but what I will tell you is you want to make a schedule and stick to that schedule,” Davis said.