How to Choose Which Game to Stream (on Twitch / YouTube / Facebook - 2023)
With ever-increasing competition in the live streaming industry, it is more important than ever to think carefully about which games you stream. Choosing a game without any strategy will only hold you back and prevent you from optimally building an audience and achieving your goals.
There are a number of considerations when choosing a game:
Your audience size
Viewer participation and engagement
There are also resources, such as https://twitchstrike.com or https://sullygnome.com/games that can help you analyze and decide what the best games to play are. These sites provide real time statistics about which games are being played and how popular they are / how many viewers there are. These sites offer a great starting point when deciding which game to stream, but a much more in-depth analysis is required to truly make the proper choice. Let's take a deeper look at the considerations listed above.
It is important to first list out your goals with streaming. If you are just looking to casually stream and have fun playing your favourite games with friends, then choose whatever game makes you happiest. No need to continue reading this article.
If, on the other hand, you wish to build an audience and grow your stream on a more professional level, then read on!
The platform you stream on plays a vital role in your decision as certain games are more popular on certain platforms. For example, if you are a League of Legends streamer, Twitch has the most viewers and can offer the most opportunities. So if you know what game you want to play, do some research to see if the game is popular on a specific platform.
Also, it is important to play to your strengths. Stream Scheme explains that Twitch is a great platform, with very high earnings potential, if you are good at networking and building your own audience. If, however, you are not so great at developing an audience, YouTube is a better choice for you, as their algorithm excels at matching your content with viewers who want to watch this type of content. As a result, for newer streamers, YouTube might be a better option.
Alternatives exist too. For example, a new streaming platform, Kick, just launched at the beginning of 2023 and is still in Beta. They've attracted quite some attention, with YouTuber David Dobrik regularly streaming. If this platform continues to grow in popularity, you can capitalize on this growth and look to build an audience on Kick. People are currently having success streaming Old School Runescape and casino-style games on this platform, with the meta constantly shifting as the platform grows.
You MUST play games that people want to watch. If the games you choose are too niche (or simply not popular) you will struggle to find viewers, especially if the game is obscure and nobody is searching for it. Do research by going on Twitch or YouTube and see what games people are playing, and be sure to look up all the games you are considering playing. It is infinitely easier to build your brand and audience if there is already a demand for the games you will be playing.
Check out our blog post on the most popular games to stream in 2023 on Twitch, YouTube, Facebook Gaming or new streaming platforms like Kick. The websites mentioned above (https://twitchstrike.com or https://sullygnome.com/games) can also assist you with research on game popularity.
That being said, which popular game you choose should depend on your average viewers and their engagement with your stream.
Your Audience Size
A lot of strategy revolves around your current audience size. The general rule is that if you have a smaller audience, you should stick to games / niches that are smaller and have less competition. This means you have more chance to stand out from the crowd and attract viewers (and therefore build your following). Otherwise, if you stream in a more competitive niche, you will find it hard to gain viewers, as there will be potentially hundreds of established streamers streaming the game already. For example, League of Legends always has dozens of live streams with thousands of viewers at any given time and hundreds more with 50+ viewers. If you only have 10-30 viewers in an average stream, you might find it hard to compete and attract viewers to your stream, as viewers have too many established options already available to them. Instead, look for games that have less streamers playing them, so you are not competing with thousands of other streamers. This way you compete with only a few dozen channels and have a better chance of standing out. If you eventually want to stream a more popular game, be sure to choose a game that is in a similar category. This way, as your audience size grows, you can transition into playing the more popular game and you know your audience will already like this type of game. Check out our detailed guide on the best games to stream for new and small streamers in 2023.
If you already have a large established (and loyal) audience, then game choice matters less, as you know your audience will be watching you stream regardless. So you can definitely stick to the games that have already brought you success. Or, if you want to branch out, consider other games in the same niche / category (such as FPS, RPG, horror, etc.) that are new and gaining popularity and consider streaming them. Browse through Twitch and YouTube to help with this research.
Viewer Participation and Engagement
How your viewers engage with the stream plays a role in your game choice strategy. If viewers like to participate with the stream or the game being played, consider choosing a more interactive style game. For example, on Twitch, many games (Marbles, Party Hard 2, One Troll Army, etc.) have integration with the platform, so users can participate in or influence the game.
If, on the other hand, your viewers are more passive, or do not demand as much engagement from you, skill-based games become more viable, as you will be able to spend more time focused on winning the game and less time engaging with chat.
Your skill in a particular game can also influence whether or not you should play the game or not. For some games or categories, skill level is the most important factor when viewers decide who they want to watch. For example, building upon our example from earlier, if you wish to play League of Legends, you better be amazing. There are dozens of pro level players streaming at any given time, and most streamers in this category have been playing the game for 5+ years. In this category, skill and number of viewers go hand in hand.
On the other hand, there are many categories of games where skill does not matter at all (or matters much less), such as party games, casual games such as Animal Crossing, or jump scare games.
If you are unable to compete on skill in a particular game, it is still possible to find success streaming this game, if you can find a particular sub-niche that appeals to viewers. For example, Fortnite is always known for its sweaty lobbies, making it hard for casual players to compete and build a following. But casual players have found a lot of success hosting custom games and tourneys in Fortnite's Creative Mode.
Putting some thought and research into which games to live stream can help you choose a game or category of games that will grow your following. This is different for everyone - there is no magic game that works for all streamers. By taking into account your goals, the platform you stream on, and the popularity of games you can get a general idea of the type of games you should stream. Analyzing your audience, their engagement, and your skill level will help you further hone in on which particular game to play.