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Streamer Guide Ep.1 - Choosing a Platform

Welcome to the GETREKT ™ Labs Stream Setup & Troubleshooting Guide. We’ve split this guide into basic and advanced sections to cover as much relevant information for everyone and will be building out a full resource over the coming weeks.


Whether you are a partnered streamer or you've been freshly inspired to start your streaming career, this guide will be your most valuable resource in technical setup and troubleshooting.

CHOOSING YOUR PLATFORM So you’ve just been inspired to stream, and you think you have what it takes to start building your audience, but have no clue where to start with all the technical stuff. First things first, and that’s to choose what streaming platform you want to stream on.


Although streaming on multiple platforms is an option, as there are now 3rd party websites that allow you to stream onto all the platforms at the same time, it’s best to stick with one and focus on building your community on that 1 platform. Not only will this ensure that you can consistently engage with your audience, but once you reach partner status terms and conditions will dictate you can only stream from one place so take some time with your decision!


Each platform has its own pros and cons, so it’s best to pick where you want to stream early and develop your brand around the community you choose. There is no 100% correct pick, as everyone is different, but hopefully the comparison below will help you to choose which is best for you.


TWITCH


Undoubtedly the dominating force in game streaming. Twitch has around 2.2-3.2 million broadcasters a month, around 15 million active users a day, and with 72% of total hours watched (compared to the top 4 platforms), it officially makes it the most popular platform available.


PROS


- Twitch is the easiest platform to stream to and with Twitch apps on most console marketplaces it makes it a versatile and simple platform to work with.


-Twitch has the best and most diverse channel dashboard & analytics so you can dig into the data and really see what's making your channel tick and set realistic goals.


- Amazon Prime members can subscribe to a channel for free every month which gives you a low friction entry into earning revenue with your content.


- Twitch has huge potential for growth and financial stability due to the sheer vastness of the audience you can potentially engage with. It's a long journey but Twitch certainly has the highest ceiling.


- With a simple affiliate process you can start earning revenue earlier, and with changes to the way ads work in motion earning potential for new streamers has never been higher.

- VOD Tools make it easy to highlight past broadcasts for future viewing making it easier for your viewers to look back at existing content and for you to grab your broadcasts for additional content such as YouTube highlights.


- Large non-gaming, IRL, off topic communities if you don’t stream games or want to add some variety, giving opportunities to diversify your content and audience. IRL and just chatting streams give you access to a much broader spectrum of people to engage with so don't sleep on them!


CONS


- 3/4 of the market watch the top 5000 channels making it difficult to get noticed as a new content creator. Discoverability is a known area of weakness for Twitch.


- RTMP only streams, means there will be a delay for the viewer unlike some other platforms. This means you'll often be ahead of your chat and if you're looking for reactive advice or engagement Twitch doesn't make it easy for you.


-Slow support time due to the high population means that if you're reporting any issues it's unlikely you'll see quick results. You'll see wait times with approval of emote uploads too and when you've ticked all the boxes to apply for partnership status don't expect an immediate response! Patience is key, remember they are part of Amazon and are a small team in a big machine.


- Squad streaming and transcoding is currently only available to Twitch Partners limiting options for stream teams and growing communities.



YOUTUBE GAMING


Youtube is a content creation POWERHOUSE. The Google owned media site released their competition to Twitch in 2015. It was a no-brainer, as their gaming categories were booming, and Twitch had the majority share in the market. With the infrastructure for media already in their arsenal, you can expect the best options with Youtube; 4k60fps up to 50mbps bitrate, unrivaled by any of the other platforms.


With 19.5% of total hours watched, it certainly has it’s hand in the market. The extra revenue gains from the instant VoD’s make YouTube a viable option for any YouTuber wanting to stream, or content creator wanting to do both with more ease. Diversifying and maximising where your content is surfaced is hugely important to sustainable success.


PROS


- Instant VODs mean it’s easier to make YouTube content alongside your streams giving you a quick way of resurfacing your content.


- Highest quality streams up to 4K 60fps ~50mbps bitrate mean your viewers will have the best quality experience here out of all of the platforms in terms of stream fidelity.

- Revenue options for Live streams and VoD’s give you a number of ways to earn from your content.


- The "Live Rewind" option gives your viewers (and you) a great way of revisiting any key missed moments.

- It's a great place to start if you already have a YouTube following and gives you a whole new way of engaging with your established audience.

CONS


- Very strict copyright rules and automated systems mean you may be limited in terms of what you're able to use to support your content.


- No native Xbox app. Capture card and PC required for Xbox users.


- Large platform means slow support similar to Twitch. When you're part of a big machine like Google parts move slowly!


- No live clip/highlight options for viewers means it's harder for your viewers to share and actively engage with your content.


- Streaming from mobile requires 1000 Subscribers to your channel.



MIXER


A newcomer in the world of streaming, and Microsoft’s answer to Twitch. Mixer has been growing rapidly since release, evermore so since they signed Ninja to stream on their platform. With around 30 million active monthly users, and only 3% of the total hours watched, it’s not the most popular of the platforms, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Mixplay allows in-game interaction between streamer and viewer, higher bitrate options than Twitch, and smaller more “tight-knit” communities.


PROS


- Mixplay allows viewer interaction with the streamers in certain games giving a whole new way for viewers to be actively involved. This alongside customised animations for almost any interaction you can think of mean it has by far the highest potential for customisation.


- FTL Streams create less delay between viewer and streamer meaning there is zero lag between what you see and chat and what your viewers see on stream. It really is lightning fast!


- 10mbps max bitrate, (higher than Twitch) means you can push the quality of your stream even higher.


- Smaller but growing communities make it easier to get noticed. Streamers switching platforms often see great early success as they benefit from the improved discoverability.


- Easiest platform to stream to from Xbox or Windows PC’s due to it being a Microsoft platform.


- Ninja announcement has brought in a lot of new viewers and has shone a light on the platform, but don't expect this to last forever we know how fickle gaming audiences can be! They'll need more big names to join the community by choice to create a consistent bump in overall viewer numbers.


- Squad streaming is available for everyone which is incredible for stream teams or those who often play in a group.


- Fast support due to lower streamer base means you'll get a more personalised experience from customer services and their community team


CONS


- No app available on PS4, a capture card & PC will be needed


- Small community means a longer road to financial stability as the ceiling is much lower than Twitch or YouTube. You'll need to get a bigger piece of the pie relatively speaking.


- Specific to gaming streams only so if you're looking to diversify your content with IRL or lifestyle streams you won't be able to do that here.


- No clipping feature for viewers reduces the sharability of your content which shouldn't be underestimated if you rely on social media (which you probably do) to drive additional traffic and new viewers to your channel.



FACEBOOK GAMING


The largest social media site online, boasting 2.2 billion users worldwide, but a relatively new addition to the world of game streaming. After gaining some steam after release, it now sits 3rd out of the top 4 websites with 5.3% of the total live hours watched. Streaming on Facebook gets its advantages from its massive international user-base, and with the release of their Level Up program, gaining revenue on the platform got a lot easier for their streamers.



PROS


- Access to Facebook's already established HUGE user base


- Beneficial if you already have a large Facebook following as you'll have an instant audience that you can build from


- The Level Up program makes easy access to revenue through the "stars system". Find out more at https://www.facebook.com/fbgaminghome/creators/levelup


- Recently got SLOBS integration for those relying on streamlabs OBS as their core broadcast software of choice.

- Clip feature for viewers means sharing your content is easy and fast which is important for a platform built on a foundation of social media.


- Transcoding is available for everyone


- You can boost viewership of your streams directly through Facebooks paid promotion systems. If you have a marketing budget "pay to win" becomes and option on Facebook but be wary of vanity metrics and how you measure success. Your views might go up but make sure you analyse how your audience is engaging with you for a true indicator.


CONS


-720p30 @4mbps bitrate only streams till your get accepted into the Level Up program mean it's a jarring experience for new users or those coming from other platforms.


-Creator Dashboard and editing tools are confusing and impractical


- Lowest quality streams out of the top 4


RESTREAM.IO


Restream allows you to stream on more than 1 platform at the same time, making it near seamless to build multiple communities on different platforms simultaneously. With access to a dashboard combining all chats, analytics and a video upload scheduler for up to 37 different platforms, it's a no-brainer for those that are multi-platform moguls looking for the biggest potential audience.



PROS


- Easily stream on multiple-platforms at the same time maximising your potential audience


- Free plan allows multi-platform streaming up to 30+ platforms providing huge potential for discoverability.


- Paid plan allows for more than 1 channel on the same platform allowing for additional opportunities to get noticed within each platform.


- Clean and simple dashboard for chat & analytics means you can see how impactful your content is across the different channels you've chosen to stream to. If you're looking for a way to make a decision on which platform to commit to, use Restream and measure which audiences you're making the biggest impression on!


- Video scheduler that will upload to 30+ media sites allowing you to spread your content across a massive range of platforms.


CONS


- Transcoding options are expensive


- Customising the experience for each platform becomes very difficult


- Individual platform quality is likely to decrease as you are spreading yourself thin across a multitude of platforms. Great for numbers but potentially damaging for engagement.



TO CONCLUDE


At the end of the day the choice is yours. If smaller communities interest you more, or you prefer more personal interaction with your viewers, then Facebook and Mixer are your go to and offer some technical benefits you won't see on Twitch. Interactivity within Mixer is a huge strong point and if you embrace it can provide the most engaging audience for your viewers.


If you think your content will stand out in the realm of Twitch, and popularity is your drive, then it offers a high ceiling and true potential to earn big money and have an impact on a bigger community. Consistency, networking, and solid, varied content will work on every platform the real decision you have to make is between immediate impact and rapid growth vs overall potential.


Article written by @et5ki, edited by @an00bisgaming



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