You've heard it all before:
"Don't stream saturated titles."
"Play what you want to play."
Or any of the other conflicting gibberish out there in the universe that seems to be crippling your sense of logic. If you have a voice resonating in the back of your head saying, "There's gotta be a better way to pick a game than guessing and hoping people come visit."
There totally is. And nobody knows it. So... interested in finding out?
Who this Method is Designed For
This method is designed for people who are looking to meet new people, and are open to playing several games in several genres.
If you're all about playing one game, or you're the kind of person who's obsessed with that ONE thing that they really want to play, STOP READING NOW. This guide will not help you, and will probably make things more confusing. It's okay to love one main title! Don't worry! There are other guides you'll find useful here.
There is zero need to clutter your thought processes with alternatives if you've already made up your mind. I'm not here to convince you my way is right. I'm only here to share what I've learned, and what I know works. I don't want to dissuade you from playing something you truly love.
SO! If you're still reading that's awesome. It means you're like me and fairly open to many games, and also looking to meet new people to kick start your stream! And for the budding small streamer, game choice is one of the most effective things you can learn out of the gate to get the ball rolling.
The GOAT Method
The GOAT (Greatest of All-Time) method, is the method I would use to pick games if I were going to start a new channel. It centers around the use of sales data to estimate the size of a game's potential audience. The goal of the method is to identify a game with a low SUPPLY of streamers playing it, but that also has a high number of people DEMANDING to watch it... to vaguely reference economic terminology.
Again, that's Low Supply, High Demand.
The theory is that if you're the only streamer playing a viewer's favorite game, then your paths will inevitably cross - and you'll already have something in common. And let me tell you - whether you're just starting, or you're already partnered this method is still quite useful and effective.
- Google "Top Selling X Console" titles
- Find the Wikipedia entry listing the sales figures (sample link here)
- Cross off Sports, Racing, and Fighting titles
- Start writing down the ones you LIKE!
- Play them
- Optional: Do this for all consoles!
Sound easy? It is! But reading all this stuff is too much for a lot of people. Like... a LOT of people. MOST people. And that's one of the reasons it works so well. There's not many people doing it.
When it comes to streaming you'll find a lot of people have no issue grinding twelve hours a day on a game and becoming frustrated at lack of growth... while refusing to read a twelve minute internet article that could have unf***ed that situation. Better do that 24 hour Fortnite stream, Chad. Because the solution is just to DO THE DUMB THING HARDER... (it's not, please don't do this).
A cool detail about this method is that when you read through the title lists, a lot of them should resonate with you. If we look at the original Playstation sales chart as an example, there's some of my favorite streaming gems on there:
- Metal Gear Solid
- Final Fantasy 7
- Crash Bandicoot
- Resident Evil
- Silent Hill
- Final Fantasy Tactics
Some of these are so great that their respective studios have remastered or remade them as well. And they wouldn't have spent cold hard cash on that effort if they didn't KNOW that there was demand for it. This is also why I've dubbed this method the GOAT method. The games that rise to the top of the sales lists tend to be really great, or have massive cult followings of millions of people. I'm a Metal Gear fanboy myself and I saw a ton of growth streaming the series during my first year on Twitch.
Cool Stuff about the GOAT Method
It works even for new games. With the PS4, God of War, Marvel's Spider-Man, The Last of Us Remastered... all pop to the top. And they're all relevant, even for partnered streamers.
Even for the big streamers, communities can still connect deeper with streamers who share their interests. Playing these games is a decent way to more deeply explore some varied interests, and can make a great break from the day-to-day fare if you main a single game - without worrying you're alienating your community by playing something no one has heard of.
Learning the GOAT method teaches you that streamers are partly a function of the games they play and that games' success, popularity, or notoriety is reflected in its sales numbers. It gives you a concrete metric to understand and use when picking titles to play.
Once you make the list you never have to make it again. Write it down, spreadsheet it, file it, put it on a sticky note, or whatever. You can go back to it at any time.
Things to Look Out For (Pitfalls)
Watch out for speed runners dominating a directory. For example, if you follow instruction #6 above, you'll eventually add the Legend of Zelda and Mario titles to the list for Nintendo 64. If you inspect these directories on Twitch itself, you'll typically find a bunch of speed runners. If that's your thing, then cool. You'll be right at home.
However, if you're intending to do a casual run of the game, do be aware that the competition for streaming the game will be greater (generally you want to aim for the top row of a directory). Also, viewers will probably backseat the hell out of you and ask why you're not using whatever speed running strategy they've seen on other channels. If you can tolerate this, great. I myself tend to shy away from speed running directories.
Steam has been notoriously tight lipped regarding PC sales, so making a list for PC has proven a bit difficult.
Indies almost never make these top selling lists, which sucks because there are a lot of cool indies out there that fall away into obscurity.
The retro directory can be a challenge. There are a lot of titles there, but people tend to surf that directory differently (looking for titles they really like). The number of streamers there matters less than the game you choose to stream, so don't worry about that portion. The harder question is "Do I stream Donkey Kong Country under Retro... or do I stream it under Donkey Kong Country?" There's no magic tool that will say which one will be more successful here, so use your best judgment on this. The older the game is, the more likely it belongs in Retro.
I would use this method if I were going to start all over and pick up my first 2-30 concurrent viewers. It works. I believe in it as much as I believe in anything in streaming. The reason I don't prescribe a final list of games here is because for everyone that uses the method, their list will be different. Remember, instruction #4 asks you to write down the games you LIKE, and the most common misconception about my methods is "I dUn WanNa pLaY jUsT foR vIeWs". You're not, dumbass. If you don't LIKE any of the titles you find this way, you can go back to camping bushes in Fortnite, Chad.
But if you were Chads, you wouldn't have made it this far. Thanks for reading this and let me know how you do with it, ya boneheads. Oh, and if you want to compare lists shoot me a DM over on Discord and ask. I don't mind sharing, but I don't want to prescribe anyone a game. I wrote this to teach a method that will evolve over time, not to make you dependent on these guides!