What Do You Look For In A Stream?

Image: Kotaku/Mike Fahey

For this week's Tell Us Dammit, we're going to talk about streaming. Specifically, what viewers want.

As someone who grew up with regular TV, but also the internet from an early age, it's been fun seeing people transition from one medium to another. And it's been interesting to see what tricks have been pulled over from regular broadcasting, and what ones haven't.

When it comes to individual streams, however, I find I tend to work by a process of elimination rather than seeking something specific out. Streams with obtuse, gargantuan overlays are a huge red flag. Hugely dickish personalities aren't my type either - I spent enough time playing with people like that in Counter-Strike.

Technical issues I don't mind, but I don't want pixels the size of dinner plates. In general, I'd rather have most of the in-game overlay visible, although there are plenty of streams that integrate chat well (but it doesn't work for all games).

But what about yourselves - what do you look for in a stream? Do you search for particular games, and filter down from there, look for Aussie streamers only, or gravitate towards particular personalities?


    I don't watch streams, but I do watch "Let's Play" style videos.

    For me... I like seeing two people on screen. Seeing two people on screen is much more entertaining than one, because the pair can bounce off each other and have a conversation about the game. A sense of humour is the next most important thing, especially a sense of humour I can relate to. Finally, I only watch "Let's Play" videos about games I like, or am interested to see. Even if a Let's Play pair I enjoy watching makes a video about a game I'm not interested in, well, then I just won't watch it.

      Pikalew on twitch was streaming with a mate in the same room last night with both of their screens on the stream - i thought it looked great! I've not really seen many streams or lets plays with 2 hosts but ill keep an eye out as it seems there may be more i dont know about!!!

    Has everything that I'm after.

    This is actually a really interesting article and I'd love to see some of the responses. I've just started streaming a lot of my gameplay a few months ago because I play such a wide variety of random stuff and people seem to like it.

    I see big streamers out there with overlays all over the screen and I feel like i need to work to that but the more I talk to people it seems they're more into chilled out kind of streams as opposed to big personalities with overlays everywhere lol!

      Same boat mate, I stream on Youtube because thats where the majority of my followers are, but then i get hit with the dreaded yellow dolla sign...... might be because i use the word S#!t.... hmmmm lol

        Yeah that old yeller - I appeal most of mine even though I dont have 1000 views on them and they get overturned half the time back to green so i can collect my hard earned CENTS from them still haha

        UFC 2 is completely out of the question though... they see violence more than the game and its a bit sad really!! Too bad i still cant stop playing it! Loving your channel dude just cant watch much while im at work - will be watching a few of your updates on the bus on the way home!!!

          i have a mate who streams friday the 13th all the time, never gets it apparently. But he has like 1000 subs. Id go to twitch, but thats a huge ocean. Mixer is an alternative, but only for pc and xbox.

            Haha Friday 13th! Such a fun game to stream too! I have considered Twitch but I'm a little put off with the kind of comments which are the norm around there! I feel like Youtube has a bit more of a friendly vibe within the community but maybe that's just me and what i've seen of twitch! lol

              As i do most of my streaming from PS4 and Xbox. I did try the 'going live' option from the PC that didn't connect the the ps4. So that was kinda annoying

      I can attest to this somewhat. I started streaming toward the end of August and have had relatively very rapid growth - totally flattered by this fact.
      Streaming only Warframe at this stage (it's all I really play at the moment) I have in this time made it to what is normally the top 5 streams for Warframe at any given time.
      I say this not to brag but to provide some insights as to what my viewers like about my stream and why it's caught on. (Disclaimer: someone quite close to me has a very solid following and their hosts got me off to a solid start - I want to speak to more of my continued retention of viewers in this post) I have received a lot of feedback from my viewers and at the core, they all say 'your stream is chill'.

      Looking at most of the streams of Warframe, they are full of overlay-heavy loud streams with high energy electronic music, heavy bot activity in the chat - those kinds of vibes. My stream is simply me with a green screen, the game on fairly low volume and light jazz/lounge in the background - the only popups on the screen are for new followers and subscriptions. This is not to discredit the other streamers that have unique and interesting personalities, incredibly awesome followings and a great sense of community, but I feel I have been able to distinguish myself by dialling back the 'crazy' a notch. There is obviously no 'one size fits all' approach, but there is certainly a large number of people out there that want a relaxed stream on their second monitor as they play their own games.

        Yeah - I agree on dialling back that crazy that's the norm out there!!! Glad to hear you're off to a cracking start and it's great you've been enjoying it by the sounds of things too! Streaming has actually made my gaming more enjoyable because of that feeling of community! I stream all sorts because that's my schtick (i play everything) so I have good streams and some quiet ones but all in all I feel like ive had a good start without a leg up ;)

        I'd love to check out your channel sometime because i love to support streamers who are doing it more "chill" as you say man! Bravo keep it up!

          Hundred percent. I've had a lot more fun playing WF on stream than if I had gone it alone.

          And of course dude, sounds good! Twitch username is Punabii. Shoot me a whisper on and I can check yours out in turn.

    A pale straw colour, clarity, absence of inclusions, no blood.

      Ignore anomalies after having eaten Asparagus.

    I don't really watch streams but I do watch Let's Play type videos on YouTube. If you haven't checked them out try Neebs Gaming. these guys got popular with the Battlefield Friends animated series (great if you're a BF fan or even if not). Now they do a range of games like GTAV, Ark, Subnautica and some other one offs here and there. They are really creative and funny, often integrating storylines into their vids. Watch them every week, check em out!

    I'm all in on the Bajo stream. Which... theoretically isn't my thing at all - quite in your face. But his personality carries the thing. And more to the point, there's an overall genuine positivity to it, and a super non-toxic community around it.

    I graduated from youtube replays to livestreams this year, still lurking mainly though so it's all about the personality of the streamer for me. I'd much rather watch someone having fun than an ex-pro who just focuses on what they're playing. That being said there's a delicate balance between engaging discussion and incessant vacuous narration (the older dude from eurogamer springs to mind).

    Also Bajo is officially the best thing on twitch. Well worth checking out if you were a fan of good game.

    I also don't like the massive overlays, the gameplay interface being covered up, people that are rude or abrupt to other players or viewers. I look for personality. Someone just sitting there playing a game and not interacting with the people watching is a big turn off for me. I also like the streams that have good sense of community.

    My favourite streamers right now are Bajo and Crayator. They both spend a lot of time in their stream interacting with their viewers - answering questions, discussing the game, having fun. Bajo in particular has a great community. It makes it feel like you are spending time with friends instead of just passively watching someone play.

    https://www.twitch.tv/bajostream - variety of games, cooking, random fun
    https://www.twitch.tv/crayator - overwatch and pubg

      I always liked Bajo on GG but I wasn't really a fan when i tuned into his twitch stream last week... Might have to give it another go!!!

        It's in-jokes galore, and probably pretty baffling if you're only on there for a bit. Definitely rewarding with repeated viewing. Easy for my partner and I at the moment because we're at home with a new baby... long stream sessions are just the thing!

        He's not always gaming though... as a self-described "variety person" he's often trying to cook or doing straight up "admin streams" where he's predominantly interacting with fans.

        If you were of his GG antics, his stream feels like he's just been completely unshackled and let his wildness loose. Maybe takes some adjusting, but well worth it!

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      Yeah I tend to agree with you.
      On the odd occasion I watch a stream, this is what I like:
      1. Streamer who says interesting things and doesnt resort to making stupid voices and noises.
      2. Streamer who doesn't try to be the cool bro dude and constantly use stupid buzz words.
      3. A point to the stream, whether it be a speed run, a technical demonstration, some insights into the game being played. Just watching someone play a game all the way through is dull as fuck.

        Same boat. I really on ever watch one let's play type person, he's a good comedian and they're not play throughs just the best/funniest bits.

    I've started watching a lot of streams this year 'cause my 'net speed has improved somewhat so I'm not stuck in that infernal hell of constant buffering and slideshows.

    My favourite streamers tend not to have the huge overlays, but they do have the popups when they get bits/donations and when someone subs.

    I enjoy watching Cryaotic (on sundays he does his "late night" [for us it's early arvo] with his friends and it's never dull), Crendor (he joins forces with his mates sometimes playing PUBG or LoL), Shaboozey (Jesse Cox from youtube) and Lomadia (Yogscast Hannah).

    What's even better about Jesse Cox on stream, I think he's the only person on twitch now that only asks for a one time only sub fee, not monthly, and you get loads of emotes. Plus, yes, he's highly entertaining.
    He's done a few 24 hour streams now when his favourite JRPGs have hit milestone anniversaries.

    Facecam isn't essential, Cry doesn't use one at all and still hasn't done face reveal and I hope he never does, but they do need to interact with chat beyond just a "Thanks for x donation y person".
    When Cry does editing streams for videos he puts on youtube, it generally becomes a Q and A and he'll answer anything from "Do you like x game" to "is it true you'll suck cock for a dollar".

    From an event perspective I like watching streams that give good coverage of the gameplay and have knowledgeable commentary, especially since my interests are speedrunning and fighting games which have lots of technical details.

    From a more "personal" streaming perspective I go for the ones that:
    a) Interact with chat socially and don't treat them like open wallets.
    b) Don't brook any rubbish behaviour.
    c) Play a variety of games that I'm interested in or would be interested in. Not just because it means I stay interested but because I've also found a lot of good games to play this way.

    I tend to look for the streamers with the low number of viewers and maybe just starting out. I'm also trying to network a bit; maybe build a small semi community of my own.

    (1) Depending on the streamers and games they play; they can laid back, calm and relax or informative. Some ability to "play" along with the story based games (like minor role playing) or a way to casually examine the designs of a game.

    (2) High level of interactivity with viewers is not necessary.

    (3) No screamers and low amount of profanity, aggression and toilet humour.

    (4) Variety of games (this is not a must): able to play FPS one day, visual novel the next, point & click adventure on another day, RPG, management, arcade or casual the following days. They don't have to be good with any of those games.

    (5) I normally avoid the usual top 10 games on Twitch, especially the competitive ones.

    (6) Mostly solo streamers with low viewer counts.

    (7) Webcams not necessary.

    Last edited 06/10/17 12:08 am

    Face cams are not necessary for me. I primarily try to catch the streams of Vinesauce's Vinny, Joel and Rev. The former two have been in the game for many years now and have amassed relatively large followings, and despite this they haven't let it get to their heads. All three of them are very polite, which is nice.

    For me a good stream needs to be not so popular. Vinny can get around 4000 viewers on average, which makes the chat slow enough that he can still reply to questions easy (though a lot get missed). H3H3 on the other hand, I love their videos but their steams are so popular, even on sub only and slow mode chat moves way too fast. I don't really think H3H3 are good at streaming, either. They haven't quite got the hang yet.

    So to answer the headline: politeness, sense of humour, not insanely fast chat, audience interaction, variety of games is good, Webcam not necessary.

    This thread has some very interesting discussions in it especially as I myself started streaming a few short months ago.

    What I personally enjoy in a streamer is obviously the look and set up, if its just a borderless camera I get turned off pretty quick, personality is important and treating people with respect but I really like when people are informative as they play in either technical knowledge of the game or in vocalising their thought process if they are playing a game they are unfamiliar with.

    Now I am a tiny channel (2 subs woowoo) and am playing a game that most people view as past it's use-by date for streaming (WoW) however I approached it with a specific mentality. I want my stream to show the upper mid card of Mythic progression raiding in WoW when a guild has to fight and battle to complete the tier but I also focus on delivering what I enjoy watching which is informative discussion on the game, game design mechanics, strategy and thought processes mid fight.

    As a I would call myself a minority or niche gamer in the sense that the kinds of games I want to see played don't really any more just more streamers or content in my area would be good.

    I guess I am pretty nostalgic so I go to youtube for these kind of streamers and gameplay videos but once in a while I get to see an older game I get super happy. As for the type of streamer it depends, I see value in all or most. I like the comedic ones or the innocent ones that keep making playful mistakes but ultimately the best ones are the ones for me that showcase the game as the highlight of the stream and not their conversation.

    I watch streams mainly to vicariously enjoy the game through them since I don't have a machine atm just an android tablet so good quality streams have great interfaces that don't block the game view too much and don't distract from gameplay at all. My ideal stream has game first commentary second but with great interaction with the viewers. Streamers that just kind of do their own thing are either really good or really bad but from my personal experience really bad.

    The best streams I can have good interesting dialogue with the streamer while also enjoying the game.

    Metal_Kat was really good at this and also Djarii and for me because he is in my region AutoKorrect. They all played the game but also interacted frequently with the viewers to me that was heaven.

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