Reasons why Twitch might NOT be the place to start your streaming career
It’s the end of April 2021 and the world is still under a pandemic. During lockdown times like these, outdoor activities are mostly prohibited and we’re super bored. So a lot of people play video games to pass their lockdown time. New players joined the scene, old players came back. One career path shines brightly as a cause of this migration in the gaming scene, and that path is video game streaming.
When talking about streaming, Twitch is one of the first names that comes to people’s minds. Twitch.tv is a website that mainly made for people to stream their gameplay and share their experiences with their communities. You can also do something other than gaming content like Just chatting which is the biggest and fastest-growing category on the platform. But the part that lures gamers into the streaming scene is none other than the fact that you can make money while just sitting around, playing video games for people online to watch. Ludwig, the biggest Twitch streamer on the platform in April 2021, made more than a million dollars in one month. But as good as this might sound, it takes a lot to get to that point, and I still wouldn’t recommend you to start your streaming career on twitch. Here’s why.
The most subscribed Twitch streamer of all time
Why growing on Twitch is not the best way to “grow” on Twitch
If you think of any social media platform, you’ll notice that there are always some kind of algorithm that can recommend the content you might like. For example, Youtube’s recommendation system nailed its job most of the time, resulting in us being super addicted to it and spending time on the platform for hours upon hours. Twitch, on the other hand, has none of that. The way Twitch works is that they will display the channel with the highest concurrent viewers to the lowest in the same category. That means new streamers that are freshly entering the platform will never ever be able to be discovered no matter how good of content they could provide. This really breaks my heart since I know that you all have the potential but it would never be noticed on Twitch. But that’s not the only way, though. Most top streamers find it important to grow their channel on the other platform. I’m talking about Youtube. You can upload your content on Youtube to let their amazing algorithm find the audience you deserve and convert them to your stream viewers. This method can actually get you into the game and it’s been confirmed by many Twitch streamers like Ludwig, SmallAnt, 39Daph, and many more!
Twitch’s way of handling DMCA strikes.
The second thing I wanted to add is their irresponsible way of handling DMCA strikes upon their users. Let’s talk laws for a second: what is DMCA? DMCA or Digital Millennium Copyright Act basically is an American copyright law that will strike the platform for misuse of copyrighted music online. If you use a piece of copyrighted media on your stream, the platform, in this case, Twitch will be responsible for the strike since the content has been published live on stream. Of course, Twitch wants none of that since the amount of money and time that has to be spent in the court will not be worth it. So Twitch set up a rule that will put a permanent “strike” on your channel per time of copyrighted content used, 3 strikes will result in a permanent ban on your account. Seems fair, right? I mean using a copyrighted track without permission is a crime after all.
But here’s the catch, Twitch has a system called “clipping” which is a system that lets anyone that is watching the stream create a short 5 – 60 seconds clip of the stream, and the clips will be kept indefinitely until the channel owner deletes it. Twitch also has another system that will save your stream footage for 15 – 60 days after you stopped that stream, and will also censor any part of the video automatically if there were any copyrighted sections in the footage. But apparently, the censorship system doesn’t work for clips, and streamers are being filed strikes upon strikes from these clips from the past streams they did. And the method of filing DMCA strikes is, of course, to use an AI that detects the DMCA-able content and flag it, which is prone to have inaccuracies. For example, an IRL streamer, jakenbakeLIVE, was streaming outside almost 3 years ago, and some nearby store was playing Kanye West music that accidentally got into the stream which granted him a DMCA strike two and a half years later in which he didn’t deserve at all.
Twitch, as a platform, responded by developing a system that will let you delete all your clips and stream footages within one click. This sounds like a simple fix to the problem at hand, but it shows that Twitch values it’s own well-being of their platform enough to just lazily tell people to delete hours of their hard work and memories created with their community instead of trying to find a way to compromise. Unlike Twitch, it’s opponents like Youtube that has had a system that will warn you when your content has copyrighted part even before your video has been posted, or Facebook Gaming that have a system that can detect DMCA-able tracks that are being played on the stream, and immediately warn people that their stream will be shut off within minutes if they continue playing the music. Your experiences and memories are safe with Youtube or Facebook, not with Twitch.
Share 50% of your money with the richest man on earth.
If you only want to stream to pass your time on Twitch, this third aspect wouldn’t be that big of a problem to you. But for those who want to stream for their profit, you might want to hear about this. Let’s talk splits. There are different split rates on each platform and splits determine the percentage of the revenue you can receive after being shared with the platform. Devin Nash, ex-chief executive officer of one of the most famous esports organizations, Counter Logic Gaming, made a video that shows all the splits across popular social media platforms. The lowest split percentage goes for Patreon with only 5-12% of the revenue going into the platform, and the rest go straight into your pocket. One of Twitch’s main competitors, Youtube, has a 45% split on the advertising revenue, 30% on the Membership (users pay the amount of money set by the channel owner monthly for channel perks, exclusive emotes/content, and more), and 30% on SuperChats (same as Twitch’s donation system). Facebook Gaming, on the other hand, takes 30% off of Supporters (similar programme as Youtube’s Membership), and a beautiful 0% of Stars (1 star = $1.40 for donating to Facebook Gaming streamers. What about our main character, Twitch? Well, say goodbye to 50% of your hard earned income because Jeff Bezos will take literally half of your Subscriptions revenue ($5 per month for channel perks similar to Youtube’s Membership), 30% of Bits donation (1 bit = $0.01 for donating to Twitch’s streamers), and a whopping 90% of all ad revenue. That’s a lot of percentage being shared with one of the wealthiest people in the world!
Behind the “go live” button.
The last thing is probably not Twitch’s fault, but streaming in general is a grueling task that is not for the faint of hearts. If you want to make it your career, you have to treat it like one. During this period of time that people start to stream more, the most important question that new and upcoming streamers and online content creators fail to answer is “What is the reason that people should watch your content.”. I’ve been streaming for almost 2 years on my Twitch channel, and I still can’t answer that question myself. It feels like a slap in the face, but it is the reality. There are more people joining the scene than ever and you have to make yourself different from the crowd and shine brighter than them to come out on top. You can’t just think of streaming as just to play video games for 6 hours straight while wishing to make a lot of money at the same time. You have to come up with a goal, a strategy, a content plan, a work schedule, a way to communicate and engage your community, fragment your content to different platforms, create redundancy and make your likeliness stick to people’s mind. I could list things that streamers could do to become more successful all day long but there’s no formula to the success in this career path. It’s not easy in practice, and it’s not easy on your mental state. It is you, just you, versus the world.
But things have to start from somewhere, right? You’d never know what it’s like until you try it. And I have to say, streaming is one of the most fun, exciting, and memorable things I’ve ever done in my entire life. Don’t forget to be yourself, and have fun while doing it. I believe in you. Happy streaming!