Some time over night on November 24, I hit the coveted 2,000 follower mark on Mixer. I actually hadn’t been paying much attention to my follower count lately so I didn’t even know I was close. There wasn’t much buildup but my mind was still blown the next morning.
I dabbled in streaming in various places for a bit before committing to Mixer in 2017 and I’ve also been running a YouTube channel since 2013. When I started making content, I didn’t really know what I wanted to come from it. I just looked at a bunch of other creators I enjoyed and went “I want to say things these guys aren’t saying and I’ve always wanted to learn video editing so, why not?” My YouTube channel never had notable success (7 years on and it’s barely bigger than my Mixer channel) but I kept working at it because I enjoyed doing it but also, my small audience was devoted and engaged, to the point where indie devs started taking notice and offering me press codes. That continues to amaze me.
For many different reasons, I’ve always been shy, awkward and introverted. I’ve had friends, jobs and romantic relationships but none of them came to me as easy as for others. As I kept making more stuff, people started to notice a change in me outside of that. They started to say that I felt more confident, especially when speaking to groups or to people with authority. I never noticed this in myself before but I knew I had the content I made to thank for it. Even if it’s through a camera, you still talk to a crowd when you make stuff like this. This has only continued through my time as a streamer and even people who have only known me for that time, tell me I’m like a different person from when they first met me. Last week, I had to deliver an improv presentation to my entire company about a new initiative and several told me I nailed it. I have streaming and YouTube and all of you to thank for that.
Why is 2,000 a magic number on Mixer? Regulars will know that I now meet the minimum requirements to apply for partnership. So, is that my plan? Yes, but not right now. Not to rain on my own parade but a lot of the 2,000 (like 700+ of them) are the result of two contests I ran where following got you entries. 99.5% of those people have never tuned into a single stream and likely never will. The expectation when you get followers through a contest like that is that most are “zombies.” That skews the stats somewhat and Mixer will see the two abnormal spikes with the relatively stagnant concurrent viewer count and probably think that’s not a good fit. I wouldn’t blame them for that either. Even the biggest channels only have a fraction of their followers show up to most streams so this isn’t uncommon, even if the ratio’s a bit further off in my case. I have work to do to get more organic growth and while that’s happening slowly, it is happening and I would rather grow a great community slowly than a mediocre one quickly.
To my goals, partnership is about access. Even though tons of developers and PR firms are willing to work with small fish like me, many of them (even some smaller ones) won’t even give you a second glance if you don’t have “Partner” in your title. I don’t like it but it’s the way the business works. Getting partnership opens doors to more cool stuff and opportunities I can share with people but if I get it, I want to get it legit, through hard work, not through running contests and bribing people to give me their fleeting loyalty. I’ve said before that if I attain partnership, any money I raise with either get reinvested or more often, donated to charity. This isn’t about fame or money to me and never has been.
What I’ve also realized is that obtaining this organic growth isn’t going to happen by doing things the same way I have since 2017. I’ve always said that if I can’t grow playing what I want, then there’s no point in doing this. I’m not going to fake a smile and pretend to enjoy Fortnite just to juice my numbers, get partnership and have that audience vanish when I stop playing it. I pride myself on honesty and I’ll never change that. Growing as a variety creator is bloody hard, especially when you can’t stream during the day and while I’ve often seemed publicly discouraged and regularly have crises of confidence, it’s a challenge I’m still up for. However, I think I can do a better job at choosing what I stream out of the crazy variety of things I like.
I enjoy a lot of AAA games but streaming the new shiny doesn’t help you as a small channel. Most people go to the big dogs for that stuff. I have a burning passion for indie games and believe showcasing those are important but I can’t stream those all the time either as people often want to see a name they recognize when they’re browsing the channel list.
You may have seen me tease a couple of new initiatives I’ve been trying to launch for several months. I kept delaying these because other things largely unrelated to streaming kept getting in the way, then it was Extra Life time. I’m really hoping I can get these launched in December or January at the latest but rather than keep teasing them, I’m just going to explain them now.
The Deep Backlog
I’ve played a lot of games but there are some glaring omissions that would make many a hardcore player’s jaw hit the floor. I not only want to stream myself filling those gaps but since some of these are considered classics, I think people might enjoy watching me play them for the first time.
This is the current and ever-evolving list of games for The Deep Backlog. I’ll be starting off with Super Mario 64 and Chrono Trigger but I’ve also developed a neat MixPlay system that will allow people with a certain channel level to spend sparks to vote up the game they’d like to see me tackle next. When I’m done the game I’m on, the one with the most votes is next. I’m not promising I’ll finish every game I start (especially if I end up not liking them) but since the community will help choose, you’ll hopefully be more interested in watching. I’m really excited about this!
More Gaming With the Community
This means community in all respects, my friends, theSHED and more. I like single player stuff and will still be playing a lot of it but in having less time to game these days and devoting a lot of that to streaming, I haven’t been able to play as much stuff with people as I’d like and they’d like. I want to make a point of doing that more, not just when I’m streaming but definitely then too because everything’s better with friends. Mudda Russia, our ridiculous co-op Spintires series is going to be making a return (I mean come on, they’re releasing a Chernobyl DLC), we’re looking into cool ways to use Steam’s new remote two player feature for all kinds of stuff, I’m going to try to do more things like theSHED’s Nintendo Monday, Cruise Night and way more besides.
Gaming with friends is something I really enjoy and which got lost in the shuffle of trying to grow a channel when I have an otherwise busy life and that’s not what I wanted and it’s something I think can be a part of this as well.
I still love indie games and get access to a lot of them but the live format Indie Showcase first impressions show wasn’t working. People weren’t interested and didn’t come out for it. A little while ago, I said I’d be taking the show to YouTube and it’s been doing alright there. I’m going to keep doing that but trying to up the show’s production quality a bit more. Certain big indie releases will still get their own streams and I have ideas for additional indie focused content I’d like to produce but that’s a ways down the road and I’ll talk about it then.
I’ve been terrible at promising timelines this year and not delivering on them so I won’t say exactly when these changes will happen but I am hoping to do it soon. Despite my slow growth and increasingly busy life, making content is still very important to me and it’s something I intend to keep finding time for.
More than anything though, I want to thank those of you who have believed in me and continue to do so. My incredible mods, the developers who have taken a chance on me, the amazing community at theSHED, the other streamers who have offered wisdom to me. But most of all, to those who show up for my streams time and time again, when you don’t know what I’ll be playing or if you’ll like it. Who watch my YouTube videos, listen to my fledgling podcast and engage me with thoughtful discussion on the topics I ramble about. Who keep offering encouragement and support when I’m down, frustrated and when my depression starts to get the better of me. Who have enabled me to raise over $17,100 and counting for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario through Extra Life over the last 9 years, an average of over $1,900 per year. Sharing cool things and experiences with my community and doing a little bit of good for the world are the driving factors behind why I make this stuff.
A content creator is nothing without their community and even if I had to give this all up tomorrow, the friendships and bonds this hobby has given me would make all the time, money and effort I’ve put into this worthwhile and then some. I don’t want a huge community, I want a good one and what we all share together is among the best things I could ask for. I may do the streams, make the videos, record the podcasts and whatever else but you’re the ones I do it all for and you are the ones helping me meet the goals I’m hardwired to be so focused on. I can’t properly express how much that means to me or how thankful I am.
Mixer is far from a perfect platform (more on that in a future post) and YouTube makes me want to rage quit it almost daily now but I don’t intend to jump ship on either and plan to keep on because you’ve shown me why it’s worth it and why it’s fulfilling in many aspects of my life. I started doing this stuff as a lark and the times I’ve thought of quitting, I see the void it would leave behind and how ingrained it’s become. You’ve all made that possible and I will be forever thankful for it.
There’s a lot to do and I’m not sure how to do it will yet but we keep pushing ahead and it’s onward and upward! Thank you for your support and stay tuned cause more cool things are coming.