July 8, 2020

Capability

Ability is not Capability!

Are you streaming on Twitch but struggling to get anywhere? Then ask yourself. You have the ability to stream but do you have the capability?
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By Badger Nimahson

Regular readers of Stoffel Presents will probably be aware that we live stream on Twitch 6 days a week. We do this for multiple reasons that I will go into later in this article but most importantly we do not stream to make money! We measured up our ability against our capability. I hope this article helps you do the same.

I have seen a massive increase in gamers joining Facebook Twitch groups, sharing their channel, asking for followers or help with making affiliate. all of them with dreams of being the next Pewdiepie or Jacksepticeye…I’m sorry but I have some sobering and bad news for you. and it all comes down to capability

Ability to stream on Twitch

Everybody has the ability to stream on Twitch. It has been made a lot easier with the addition of the Share button on PS4. No need for any extra equipment. No need for a powerful PC just link up your Twitch account, start up a game and hit that share button.

Obviously a microphone and a camera helps but if you have a gaming headset and a PSVR camera then you are good to go. This ease of access is brilliant. It means anyone and everyone has the ability to share their voice and skills with the world. But just because you have the ability doesn’t mean you have the capability. There is a lot more to streaming than just playing games. I have seen so many people begin streaming to get incredibly frustrated and even depressed within a few weeks and months.

Capability to Stream on Twitch

Ability and Capability are two extremley different things. Everyone has the ability to stream but a select few are capable. For the record, I do not class myself in that select few…I am not even close.

Successful streamers are those who take the time and effort to engage with their viewers. Build, foster and nurture a community. They understand that to achieve this they need to invest time, emotion and dedication.

The problem with the Twitch streaming community (and society at large) is we have developed an instant gratification culture. We see Pewdiepie with 100 million followers and think “I can do that”. “I’m funny/more entertaining than him” “I can start a YouTube/Twitch channel and be a superstar.

The Reality of the Situation

The actual reality is that you only ever see the end result. Quite often I stream games before release on the Stoffel Presents Twitch channel. Now as a viewer you see me playing before release and get to ask questions about the game etc.

What you don’t see is the 18 months of emails building a relationship with that PR company, reviewing countless smaller titles as we build up the trust that enables PR companies to give us AAA titles to review before release.

Over on our YouTube channel, we have three videos of gameplay footage from the upcoming Codemasters title Grid. Again, all you see there is a total of about 11 minutes of video.

You don’t see the 10 hours of travel time from Leeds to London. Setting off at 2 am in the morning to return home a 1 am. Now please don’t for a second think I am complaining. I love what I have created at Stoffel Presents. I love the friends I have made in the industry, I love that I get to visit places like Codemasters, Nintendo, 2K, Gamescom and more to bring footage and reviews to our audience. I do this because I have a passion for it. That brings me to my next point.

The Passion Eternal

I don’t want this article to come across as I am discouraging people from streaming. The intent of this article is, in fact, the opposite. I want you to read this article and be better equipped for the journey ahead.

A lot of new streamers I meet online talk about how passionate they are about games and how they want to share that passion with the world. Brilliant!. That’s a good place to start from but that passion needs to be eternal.

It is easy to talk passionately about a game you love and engage with your audience when a stream is going well. It is how you prepare yourself and handle those streams with no viewers or those streams with 3 viewers but no one talking. That is when you need to keep that flame burning inside. When the long hard grind starts to take its toll you need your passion eternal to keep you on track.

Your Streaming Motive

At the very beginning, I declared that whilst we stream 6 days a week we are not streaming to make money. I genuinely enjoy streaming, I love meeting and talking to new people but most importantly we stream to promote Stoffel Presents.

Stoffel Presents is this website, our Facebook community, our YouTube channel, Our Discord server and now our Twitch Channel.

We didn’t begin streaming to become superstars and make money. We did it simply because it gave us an opportunity to show games before release and engage with our audience in real-time and in a more personal way.

When you start up on your Twitch Streamer adventure ask yourself deep down why are you doing this? What do you hope to achieve from it? What is going to drive and motivate you through the long hard grind?

That All Coveted Affiliate Status

Building an audience on Twitch is a long hard grind indeed. It takes a hell of a lot of work, dedication and commitment. The first reward on your journey is reaching Affiliate status on Twitch.

Reaching affiliate does indeed make you feel great and helps to reinforce that what you are doing has value to people.

It unlocks a plethora of new functions on the platform, most importantly the ability to receive subs and tips. You can now begin to earn money doing what you love.

It is for this reason that many people covet that affiliate status and this is where things begin to go wrong for most new streamers. They become so focused on reaching affiliate that it becomes all-consuming. In their streams, in their Facebook posts etc.

The result of this is that they become so determined to reach affiliate they forget their audience, they stop doing the things that drew viewers to them in the first place.

You can find these people in any Twitch facebook group. Offering follow for follow and host for host. When you fall into this trap I am sorry to say but this is the beginning of the end for your Twitch channel.

Yes, you now have 2,000 followers and have 100 channels hosting you but you know what you forgot to get? People watching, engaging viewers who talk in chat and a community of like-minded gamers interacting with each other because you brought them together.

I even know of a few people you created new accounts on mobile phones, tablets etc to achieve that 3 views per stream average. That baffles me! Yes, you just ticked all the boxes and made affiliate but for who? Yes, you can receive bits and subs but from who? no one is watching!

Your Twitch channel that you worked so hard to build and grow is now an empty space with you talking into the void of online emptiness.

Use Your Ability to Promote Your Capability

Going back to the start of this article, because this has become quite a long-winded piece now, Recognise the difference between ability and capability.

I have the ability to run a marathon, I don’t have the capability to compete with Mo Farah.

I have the ability to play football, I don’t have the capability of playing in the premier league.

Ability is being able to enter the X factor auditions, Capability is getting signed to a music label.

Even the things you do well need to be looked at in the cold hard light of day. I have and continue to, interview people on camera. Over the last 15 years, I have interviewed footballers, politicians, game developers and more.

I love interviewing people and strongly believe that I am good at it. However, I don’t believe that I will be replacing Graham Norton or Jonathan Ross anytime soon.

This doesn’t discourage me from continuing to set up interviews. I love talking to people and bringing information to a hungry audience. I continue because I love it.

Back to streaming, I am far from being a pro gamer. What I am is a gamer of 30+ years with a self-deprecating sense of humour. You don’t need to pop up in my chat and tell me I am rubbish. I probably said so already. In fact, it is a core part of my stream and something I use to get my audience to engage.

Don’t go it Alone

It is so easy to set up and begin streaming. You have a plan, you have a dream and you have the ambition to achieve it. that is a great place to start from but to build an audience on Twitch you quite simply cannot do it alone.

I founded Stoffel Presents but there is no way I would have lasted six months if it wasn’t for the support of my friends. They review games for Stoffel Presents. They join in on streams. They attend expos and media trips either with me or on their own.

Their support is invaluable. Especially on those empty nights when your passion and drive begin to wane. They are there to listen and support me and I would be lost without them.

There are so many people starting out on Twitch that are in the same situation as you. befriend them, talk to them, collaborate and stream together. Jump into their streams and talk to them.

Twitch is a scary and lonely place. There is no need to go alone. Take friends. Trust me, you will enjoy the experience much more.

To Long Didn’t Read

I appreciate this is a long read and thank you for getting this far. I didn’t mean this article to be so long but once I got started I just couldn’t stop. There is so much more I want to say and maybe I will follow this article up in a few weeks.

The condensed version of what I am trying to say is ask yourself why you are streaming. I mean deep down take stock of why you are doing it and what you want to achieve from it.

Twitch is full of thousands if not millions of people wanting to be the next big thing and make millions. If you want to go swim in that pool then know you will never get anywhere.

Weigh your ability against your capability, find your niche and your voice then go forth and enjoy. Put in the hard work and when you receive those well-deserved rewards please, oh please, don’t get distracted by them.

Do you have a Twitch channel and agree or disagree with what Badger said? Did you find this helpful? as always please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.