As always around this time I drop my “predictions” for the year to come. I put them inside of quotation marks because they’re not truly predictions they’re observations. These observations of course don’t come from nowhere. They’re come from talking with streamers, business and other people behind the scenes. I did explain a bit further in the newsletter on why I have a high success rate in my “predictions”.
2017 will be the year where dynamic overlays takes another step into our lives. At the tail end of 2016 even smaller streamers wanted it. It’s been a matter of investment so far. At the same time there’s projects out there (including my own) are working to solve that issue (more on that later).
Dynamic overlays IS NOT a way for you to stand out from the rest. While it’s possible it shouldn’t be the end goal. If you feel like investing a lot of money into something that’s not going to truly benefit your process that’s your choice. The importance of a dynamic overlay is to help your process and make streaming easier for you.
The other side of it is the design of things. Design isn’t about making things only look good. It’s all about the user experience and making that the best possible. There will be a lot of confusion at the start (there already is) where people are looking to “look better” and there’s those that will provide that. Do keep in mind that it’s not what you need for your Twitch community. What you need are solutions to problems and those being solved through design.
There’s already a bunch of talk from larger streamers (with and without teams) that are looking to move away from static overlays over into the dynamic overlays. There will be a period of time where it will seem as if nothing is happening but behind the scenes a lot of things will be happening.
The professional worker
While we’ve seen a bunch of (as I predicted last year) a lot of people stepping into various positions surrounding both streamers and companies that hire people to handle Twitch streamers or streaming in general.
There’s however a gap between someone that does something and someone that does it professionally. There’s actually such a big gap that the non-professionals (it’s more than a title) aren’t even able to make a living even if they want to. 2017 is more than ever going to show the difference.
It’s easy to see when you inbox is filled with “I finally found someone that’s professional”. That’s not only smaller streamer but even some of the largest out there. There’s a difference between working with a professional and working with someone that’s not. It’s all about the process, experience and the results.
In 2017 we will start to see even more people that start seeing that there’s actually a viable profession behind the scene. That there’s no need to be an A-player but rather an A-player in the B-team. This won’t happen for everyone and is more about those that are able to adjust to the reality of things. You’re however easier than ever before be able to differentiate the two.
Better tools and pragmatic solutions
While I actually don’t think it’s going to be the biggest thing in 2017. It will be something that’s going to be better this year. There’s already tools out there that have started to adjust to the reality of things.
As you might know I’m already working on one of these tools. It’s all about solving issues that have existed for several years. It’s not about trying to ride a wave but rather it’s going to be about solid ideas and structures that will last. That however leaves us in a very weird situation since we saw a lot of companies and tools go away in 2016.
The problems are easy to see. The main one is money. These are free services often driven by passion or a minimal way to cover it. I’ve seen services that want to keep going based on donations and that’s the opposite of professional. It’s not about failure our success it’s about being able to survive so it can be keep being worked on. It’s not viable to allocate resources to an area that’s not generating any income, even if it’s driven by passion that passion can’t pay rent or food. Often these smaller startups are created to be sold and when that dosen’t happen they go away.
As mentioned before this will change in 2017. Free tools will exist but you’re going to see tools and companies formed with a long-term plan. While that’s going to mean that streamer will have to pay to get the service. It’s for the benefit of the streamers that it will have to start happening. Otherwise we’re going to keep see people stop working on tools and leave you without any future updates. In the end all it does is to stagnate your brand that’s always evolving.
The question becomes what are streamers willing to pay to have access to? Music library that’s more diverse? Better design tools? What benefits their channel the most? We’ll have to wait and see.
While I don’t think it will be the biggest hit right away. I think we’re going to start seeing photography of the streamer take a larger stage in the scene. The reason? It’s all about the streamer and their community (more on that later). The streamer is literally the face of their channel. While we’ve often seen avatars being used in different ways. While that works they’re a far cry from being as flexible as a regular photo.
It’s reasonable when looking at the whole picture to see that the one thing that viewers see the most of is your face. The camera is on you about 99% of the time while your avatar is shown how often?
At some point there’ll have to be a trade-off. Will it be for everyone? Probably not. It will however be something that a lot of larger streamers could benefit from. The more flexible a brand can be the more things you can do with it.
The community and benefit to the overall community
It’s no secret that the criteria on Twitch on website for partnership is correct. It’s not about having a high viewer count. It’s about a few different things. What I want to talk about here is the benefit to the community.
I’ll tell you right now that while being big in one obscure game will land you attention. That shouldn’t equate to you getting partnership. The reason for this is the value to the community. That’s why someone with a lower viewership might get partnership before you.
Value to the community can come in many different ways. One of the ways is to show Twitch that you and your community could fit into the echo system that is Twitch. For instance if you’re in position to help, educate or even help discovery of the game you’re in a much better position than someone that “only” plays the game. As I said there’s a bunch more way but at the center of it all is the community for the game, Twitch and you.
It’s evident that Twitch switched focus in terms of wording on their website. They switched User to Community when a user’s account is removed/closed. They’ve put the word community in blog posts and the main website. The same way you do when you write your CV (you know when you look at the ad and their website to copy the wording etc.) the same goes for Twitch. You can look at where they want to be headed with their community and to an extent how the will proceed with partnership.
2017 is here! I wrote on Twitter that 2015 was the best year ever and that 2016 was the best year ever. Let’s make sure that 2017 is the best year ever as well.
How do I know what will happen on Twitch in 2017? You should check out my Twitch branding services and you’ll see why. Not convinced? Check out the box below for a little for information on me.