Twitch Streamers Don't Play Video Games for a Living. They Talk.

Game streaming was never about the action. It's about a conversation.

Nicholas Bashore

You’ve heard of Twitch, the video game streaming site acquired by Amazon in August of 2014 for nearly $1 billion, but you probably — just the balance of probabilities, folks — haven’t heard of LegendofLorie. Lorie, who prefers to keep her alter ego out of it, is growing a massive audience on the platform one sword fight at a time.

As anyone who was ever twelve could tell you, watching a friend play video games is boring. Watching a friend play video games with another friend is not. This is what would-be Twitchers need to keep in mind. It’s all about entertainment and community. Good isn’t really good enough — or even that relevant.

“It’s a brand that incorporates The Legend of Zelda and something everyone can relate to,” Lorie says of her name and presence on Twitch. “Anyone can be Link, starting as a kid, working hard and developing their own legend. I carry that message into my own channel, teaching my viewers that everybody can be a legend in their own way.”

But communities don’t simply congeal. Lorie had to invent one and she decided to have it orbit the idea of a “Legend Club.” She made sure to make her broadcasts chatty and became hyper interactive. She talks to people at outrageous speed.

“Always be talking,” says Lorie. “Get used to talking, even with no viewers. If someone comes into your channel and you’re dead quiet? They’ll leave to look for someone else…. When I first started, it was me, my bot, and my husband talking. It takes some time, but if it’s something you really want to do and pursue — you need to work on it.”

Lorie is about energy because that’s what she’s like, what works for her. But being super outgoing is not a prerequisite for success. Just ask Hotsammysliz, otherwise known as Samuel, who started building a following all the way back on Twitch’s parent site, Justin.tv.

“My friends would come by and watch because we couldn’t hang out in person,” said Samuel. “We were laid back, chatting about whatever while we played games. You know, just hanging out.”

Samuel just has more friends now.

“I guess one of the best ways I could try to describe my community is that we are all hanging out on the couch playing games,” says Samuel, who now sits at the center of a community that comes together six days a week to watch Samuel play Monster Hunter and other games on his PC, WiiU, and Nintendo 3DS.

Both Lorie and Samuel are just two of thousands who broadcast daily on Twitch. They are more successful than most, but they got there earlier than most. Still, it’s not too late to start playing video games all day as long as you remember that you’re not playing for a living. You’re talking.