Imagine playing a video game as a full-time job. Creating funny, insightful or just awesome gameplay and broadcasting it to all corners of the world.
Twitch regular Riley Barker, who goes by BarksAU and live-streams role-playing games, says the platform brought people together in dark times.
“During a time like this, where a lot of us have felt so disconnected, Twitch allows people to feel like they belong and are valued,” he says.
The platform allows gamers – or anyone enthusiastic in broadcasting topics such as food or music – to stream their activity and have others view it in real time.
Viewership doubled in about one year, according to Streamlabs’s QI 2021 industry report, going from 3.1 billion hours in the first quarter of 2020 to 6.3 billion hours in the first quarter of 2021.
“Twitch was next in line to explode and become really popular,” Riley says. “When you look at the stats it just took off.”
But connection is the key.
“It’s crazy the stuff you see as trending on Twitch. Just Chatting is a really popular category and it is honestly just people talking to people,” Riley says.
The Just Chatting channel had almost two billion hours watched in 2020, according to a report from global marketing intelligence company WARC.
Riley says it became popular during people’s down time.
“Most definitely people still had work, school and other things to do. During the day I would be quiet with Australian audiences, but then come night my Australian viewers would come and join me for hours at a time,” he says.
The interaction between viewers and streamers is one of the big reasons for its success, he says.
“I have had people from all over the world join my streams and it even makes my day to know that people watching me like my content,” he says.
Streams can run anywhere from a minute to more than eight hours. A stream can be found by looking through a range of categories, including specific games. You can subscribe to a streamer’s channel and receive activity updates and alerts if you find something you like.
Riley says a tip for upcoming or want-to-be streamers is to stay true to yourself.
“Don’t put on a persona or another personality. Just be yourself and sooner rather than later people will start to like you for being you.”