New Games Mean New Viewers!
Launch night is the first chance gamers get to see extended gameplay of a new title they are interested in. With the rise of Twitch, many gamers hold off on making their purchase until they see what other gamers think about new titles. YouTube content creators have been taking advantage of this method for years. Now with Twitch, you get a completely different angle. Instead of just passively listening to someone talk about the game, viewers now get the chance to ask questions and really figure out what makes the game great or unfortunately bad.
Due to this quest for knowledge on new games, launch game streams have helped many streamers grow from a smaller audience to a much bigger audience overnight. With people interested in checking out new games, they will also be willing to check out streams they have never seen before. With more people looking to watch a new game, viewers help push that new game way up on the gaming directory. When people see a game in the directory that’s not League of Legends, CS:GO, or Hearthstone, it catches their eye. I myself have watched many streams that I never thought I’d check out simply because they were playing a new title, and I was interested in how the game plays.
If you haven’t researched everything about a new game before it comes out, you’re falling behind those who do. New viewers are going to want to know about the game when they come to your stream. They are going to ask you a lot of questions pertaining to the game and you’ll want to have answers. If new viewers come to your stream on launch day and you really don’t have much to say about the game, they’ll gladly find someone else who does. Be an expert on your game when it comes out and be ready to talk about it!
This one is pretty simple. If you can’t even get your current viewers excited about a game that’s coming out soon, how are you ever supposed to attract and keep new viewers that will be coming to your stream on the day of launch? This means you have to be talking about the stream well ahead of launch, and if you’ve already done your research you can facilitate conversation with your current audience as well. Tell your viewers about your schedule for the night of the launch and make sure they are completely informed on why they should be there. Having a solid audience already in place when the game comes out will make you easier to find in the game directory.
Step # 3 Stand Out!
So now that you’ve figured out everything you and your viewers need to know about your launch game, find ways to make your stream attractive in a special way. I think many streamers overlook this step when they are planning for one of these streams. So many streamers think that simply playing the game when it comes out will attract and keep viewers. The reality is there are going to be many other streamers going live at launch, so you need something that makes viewers want to choose your stream!
Whether it’s coming out with special challenges within the game or a challenge you impose on yourself, do something that makes people want to stick around. When Super Mario Maker came out, I put together my own little challenge for the Expert 100 Man Mode. I put in my title “Expert Runs w/ a Twist.” Every five minutes I had new viewers that I had never seen ask what the twist was! This was the ticket to attracting them, and then I let my personality and gameplay do the rest.
Step #4 Plan for the Long Haul
With so many streamers playing games as soon as they launch, the likelihood of your stream being found the moment the night starts is very small. But the beauty of Twitch is streamers are human. Many of the big streamers already have very dedicated audiences, so a lot of them won’t stream beyond their regular hours. As they cut streams, those viewers will be looking for other streams to watch and one of those streams could be yours! I know many friends who had much smaller audiences for games like Super Mario Maker, but because they kept streaming and were very entertaining, they were able to see their numbers grow fast! You have to realize that the window to make a big impression for most launch games is very small. If you wait too long to stream a game when it launches, the momentum for that game might be gone by then.
Step #5 – Stream Something Beforehand
I find this step to be incredibly important. Every viewer helps when it comes to being seen in the directory. If you plan a 2-3 hour stream that bleeds into the launch, you’ll be way more prepared than someone who has the same size stream as you but starts their stream up as the game comes out. I did a long 4 hour stream of a game that a lot of my viewers enjoyed and went straight to Super Mario Maker once the game came out. It allowed me to position myself into the top 3 streams of the game on launch night, and that momentum has carried me very far within the Super Mario Maker community!
But Wait, There’s More!
There is so much information when it comes to launch night/day streams, but I don’t want to overhaul you with too much information at once! In Part 2, I want to cover how not all launch games are created equal and break down why some games work and others don’t using specific examples from these Nintendo games - Splatoon & Super Mario Maker. I’ll also discuss my own personal launch game stories where I experienced great success as well as some failure.
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