Categories
Gaming Streaming

STREAM.TV’s Thomas Rafelsberger on Game Streaming, Stream Assets, and More

There’s a lot that goes into building an impressive game streaming presentation. From a visual standpoint, your favorite streamer relies on a wealth of tools that power the notifications and other visual flourishes that viewers associate with their brand. After learning about all the different physical and digital goods that makes a game stream visually pleasing to appreciative fans, you’ll never take anyone’s streaming regiment for granted ever again. Thanks to companies like STREAM.TV, game streamers (where massively popular or relatively unknown) can acquire the assets needed to make their streaming showcases shine.

ONE37pm chatted with STREAM.TV’s Co-Founder and CEO Thomas Rafelsberger to get a better understanding of what his company specializes in, the streamers they’ve produced for, and more.

ONE37pm: Give us an overview of what STREAM.TV is all about and what kind of services it provides.

Thomas Rafelsberger: STREAM.TV and its products (own3d.tv, own3d.pro, streamheroes.gg, and more coming soon), is a supplier of digital and physical products for the game streaming community. We started with a one-stop-shop for stream designs three years ago and are now the #1 provider for digital assets for streamers, integrated in streamlabs, streamelements, tipeesstream, donationalerts, obs studio (all major streaming tools), and grew to a profitable team of 40-45 and will grow that to about 90 this year.

ONE37pm: How did the concept behind OWN3D come about? And what moves were made to turn it into a reality?

Rafelsberger: I have a background in Online Marketing and have always be a gamer. I followed the live/game streaming industry since the beginning and started own3d.tv when I met my founder colleagues Lukas and Andy in 2017/2018. The three of us just started to work on the project, 100% remote, we found two angels, got a small pre seed invest and were profitable a year after. Since then we are growing all projects out of our own pockets but will probably go for a series A in Autumn.

ONE37pm: Who are some notable streamers that have reached out to OWN3D in hopes of adding a bit more flair to their presentation?

Rafelsberger: We worked with more than 100 of the biggest creators out there (TheRealKnossi #1 German speaking Twitch streamer last year, Auronplay #1 in the spanish streaming community last year). But custom work has never been our focus – we served over 1,000,000 small to mid-sized streamers with our products already.

ONE37pm: In what ways do you educate new streamers on what it takes to succeed in their newfound hobby/profession?

Rafelsberger: Right now we do cooperate with most of the “educational streaming youtubers” out there and offer some tutorials/videos on our own. Later this year we will launch our streaming academy, which will be a free solution for everyone who wants to get into streaming.

ONE37pm: What are some of the more interesting trends you’ve come across within the video game live streaming space?

Rafelsberger: I think it is game and live-streaming itself. It is already huge, but I still see a lot of growth the next years in game streaming and even more growth in IRL/Just Chatting/Hobbies/Travel/Beauty streaming and Social Commerce.

ONE37pm: What goals and aspirations do you hope to see OWN3D attain in the near future?

Rafelsberger: STREAM.TV started in the category of live streaming in just a small niche (stream designs). Our vision is to make STREAM.TV the category leader in all its verticals within the next three years.

Categories
Gaming Streaming

Discord’s Clubhouse-Like Stage Channels Feature is Now Live

Discord has turned into the go-to virtual space for gamers to chat with their online squad while they game. And it’s made for an awesome gathering spot for professionals to share their ideas and casually engage in conversations via Facetime-like chat rooms. Discord is regularly championed as the best instant messaging and digital distribution platform on the market today for those reasons alone. And now it’s looking to give Clubhouse, the mega-popular invitation-only audio-chat app, a run for its money.

A new feature that’s similar in concept to Clubhouse and Twitter’s new Space integration is now available on Discord – Stage Channels. This newly implemented feature gives speakers the ability to speak to a virtual room full of listeners, which lends itself to a virtual town hall format. Discord is known for already allowing its users to communicate with each other in voice channels and talk freely amongst themselves – Stage Channels will take a different approach by only allowing Community servers to create those special rooms and give its speakers the floor to say whatever’s on their mind while others listen in.

Discord

As soon as you join a Stage Channel, you’ll automatically be put on mute while the speaker(s)…well, speaks. Virtual audience members can press a button if they feel the need to get in a few words of their own, which gives the Stage Channel’s moderator the power to fulfill that audience member’s request. Stage Channel moderators also have the ability to mute a speaker and even kick them out of the room altogether should they prove to be too disruptive. With all that being said, it’s quite evident that crowd control and enlightening conversations seem to be at the heart of this new Discord feature.

Unlike Clubhouse, Discord’s Stage Channels make it a lot easier for PC users to participate in the new growing trend of social audio rooms. The usage of Twitter Spaces isn’t widely available to its users just yet (everyone will get to try them out come April), plus they can only be created through the social media app’s iOS and Android versions. And as for Clubhouse, it still only exists as an iOS-powered app (an Android version is currently in development, however). So for those looking for a Clubhouse-like experience that works on both mobile devices and PC, Discord’s Stage Channels should fit the bill.

Discord, Clubhouse, and Twitter aren’t the only apps looking to win the social audio room race. LinkedIn is creating a similar feature of its own, plus Mark Cuban has released something in the same manner that’s currently in its beta phase called Fireside. Facebook, Slack, and Spotify are also looking to join in on the social audio room trend as well. Factor in other Clubhouse competitors, such as Stereo, Toodeep, Cozyroom, and it’s clear that folks are going to have more new ways to engage in intellectual conversations across the web.

Categories
Gaming Streaming

What is Valorant? A Beginner’s Guide to the Tactical Shooter

What is Valorant?

What’s up gamers?! A lot of people who play video games have heard of or play ‘Valorant’. However, if you’re a console player or a PC gamer not familiar with the game, this article will highlight some of the key aspects of Riot’s most popular tactical-shooter.  Keep in mind, Valorant is a PC-only game that is played on mouse and keyboard.

Valorant is a team-based first person shooter. As a player, you are assigned to either the attacking or defending team, which is made up of 5 players per team. Prior to the match beginning, each player selects an ‘Agent.’ We’ll go into more detail below.

Objectives

The objective of the attacking team is to take the bomb, which is known as the ‘spike’, and plant the spike in the defending team’s territory. Once the attacking team has planted the spike, they must defend the spike from the defending team’s counter-attack; the goal is to defuse the spike before the timer runs out. The spike detonates 45 seconds after the plant, in which case the attacking team has won the round. If the defending team defuses the spike within 45 seconds, the defending team has won the round.  Additionally, rounds can be won by eliminating all 5 opposing players.  

After 12 rounds, the attacking team flips to defense and vice versa.  The first to 13 rounds win the match, but the catch is that you must win by a minimum of 2 rounds. If the score of the match is 12-12 after 24 rounds, overtime ensues. Each team gets one round on attacking and defending.  If the overtime rounds are split, players are able to vote to draw or continue the match. This continues until players decide to draw or one team wins both overtime rounds.

Agents

There are 15 different agents to choose from in Valorant: Brimstone, Phoenix, Sage, Sova, Viper, Cypher, Reyna, Killjoy, Breach, Omen, Jett, Raze, Skye, Yoru and Astra.

Riot Games

Each agent is equipped with four unique abilities. One of the abilities is free each round, two must be purchased using in-game currency (discussed more below), and one ability is an ‘ultimate’.  Abilities can vary in what they do. Some of the most basic utilities of these abilities are to flash/blind, stun and smoke.  For example, the attacking team may ‘flash’ onto site, therefore blinding defenders in order to take control and plant the spike. Smokes may be used to block off entry points to limit the opposing team from gaining information on location of agents.

The ultimate ability can only be gained by accumulating skill points. The most common ways to get skill points are by getting a kill, grabbing orbs around the map and planting/defusing the spike.

There are four different classes that agents can fall into: Duelist, Initiator, Sentinel and Controller.  

Duelists are essentially the front-line agents. They lead attacks and are critical to gaining entry onto a site. The current Duelists in Valorant are Phoenix, Reyna, Jett, Raze and Yoru.

Initiator’s main role is to gather information for their teammates. The current Initators in Valorant are Breach, Sova and Skye.  

Sentinels are primarily defenders. Their abilities allow them to lock down sites and help repel enemy attacks. The current Sentinels in Valorant are Sage, Cypher and Killjoy.

Controllers look to block off entry ways and line of sight for the opposing team. The smokes that they can provide are extremely useful on both attacking and defending sides of the match. The current Controllers are Omen, Viper, Brimstone and Astra.

Riot Games

Strategy / Tips

If you are new to mouse and keyboard games, I suggest spending some time using Aimlabs or Kovaaks to improve your aim.  Valorant was the first mouse and keyboard game I had ever played, and the time I put into these aim training programs early on in my experience has paid dividends and allowed me to compete in higher ranked lobbies.  

One of the most important things to know in Valorant is that you should generally be walking. The game auto-binds walking to your Shift key, however, I have adjusted my keybinds to set walking as my default and I run when holding down the shift key. I suggest beginner’s try out this type of setting if they aren’t already comfortable with their current binds.

When shooting, it is important to stand still. This may be a tough lesson to learn if you’re coming from a game like Fortnite or Call of Duty. Your bullet spray/pattern gets increasingly wider if you are moving while shooting, making it very unlikely you’ll be able to hit your shots.

Abilities are just as important as good aim. Train in custom matches to learn how to use abilities properly. (Keep an eye out for future Valorant content where I highlight how to use each Agent and the best Agent’s for each map.)

Always keep your crosshair in line with where an enemy’s head would be. Headshots do significantly more damage, so it is important that your first shot is always at the enemy’s head. This was something that took me a little while to get used to when I first started, but is key to winning your 1 v 1s.

Communication is key. One of the main aspects new players struggle with is learning location names. Studying map location names / nicknames is critical to helping your team win the round and relay information.  

Coordinate “full-buy” rounds with your teammates. You only are given a certain amount of money to spend each round on weapons and abilities. If a team is not in-sync with their buys, they will struggle against an enemy that is coordinating their buys. Be aware of how much spending you and your teammates are doing each round.

Learn to crouch after your first shot. This is a more advanced piece of Valorant gameplay but is critical for a couple reasons. First off, weapon recoil generally will drift up.  This means, after your first bullet, by crouching you increase your chances of landing more shots on an enemy if your crosshair drops to their midsection. In addition, enemies are generally aiming for your head.  By crouching, you are occasionally able to dodge enemy shots, giving you a higher percentage chance of winning the fight.

Riot Games

Play Valorant!

I hope that this information excites you about one of the hottest shooters in the gaming industry! Valorant is just getting started and I look forward to seeing some of you climbing the ranks on your way to Radiant—the highest rank in the game.  

Good luck and get out there and play some Valorant!

Categories
Gaming Streaming

The 20 Best Twitch Streamers to Watch in 2021

If you don’t know what Twitch is by now, then allow us to bring you up to speed – the Amazon-owned video live streaming service is a major hub for video game streamers. 

Ever since it evolved as a spinoff from video broadcasting site Justin.tv in 2011, Twitch has morphed into a mega juggernaut that’s spread its wings to include live streaming of sports games, concerts, DJ sets, and so much more. But at the end of the day, Twitch will always be the home for streamers who want to simultaneously game and entertain. We’ve spent countless hours watching a myriad of gaming personalities that have made us laugh, cry, and feel a whole bunch of other emotions during their hours-long play sessions. So now we’re fully prepared to showcase the very best ones you definitely need to catch up on. 

Oh, and by the way, this list will get updated over time as we become aware of some additional Twitch streamers worth following.

1. TimTheTatman

TimTheTatman is the lovable leader of the #tatmanarmy. And after watching him in action, you’ll quickly get caught up in all the hype and join his fellow streaming soldiers. This massively popular variety streamer dibbles and dabbles in all sorts of games, but his main genre of choice is first-person shooters. Watching him put in work across titles such as Call of Duty: Warzone, Overwatch, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is always an exciting endeavor. Plus the man’s an avid Dragon Ball Z and Attack on Titan fan, so he gets extra brownie points for that in our book.

2. NICKMERCS

A lot of streamers place their eggs into the Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone baskets. But NICKMERCS is definitely one of the more standout content creators/streamers that plays both games religiously. NICKMERCS has origins as a pro-Halo and Gears of War player, so he knows a thing or two about bodying the competition in real-time and making it look as good as possible. If you want to follow a streamer that’s nasty on the sticks in competitive shooters, then be sure to give NICKMERCS a follow.

3. tommyinnit

Minecraft has etched its spot in history as one of the most influential and most played games of all time. And one of the biggest Twitch personalities we know goes hand in hand with that genre-defining experience. The streamer we’re alluding to is the young king known as tommyinnit, who’s most known for playing Minecraft with his buds. The entertainment value for tommyinnit increases once he adds in a few mods and banters with his fellow Minecraft explorers during their rambunctious adventures.

4. shroud

Simply put, shroud is a problem. The man seems to master every game he decides to devote his attention to and usually places in the high rankings during his tournament runs. When it comes to games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Valorant, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, shroud rules the battlefield in the most masterful ways possible while keeping his viewers entertained all the while. Tuning into a shroud stream means you’ll be treated to some of the most impressive pro play the gaming world has to offer.

5. Qwavii

Like her bio clearly states, Qwavii just be vibin’. Her super chill demeanor and sense of humor are two factors that make her streams worth watching from start to finish. Qwavii plays a nice assortment of games – Apex Legends, Overcooked!, Call of Duty, and Rainbow Six Siege are among the titles she spends her time enjoying the most. And while you’re watching her catch some dubs, you might want to take a few notes on her strong sense of fashion and penchant for dancing every now and then.

6. Krystalogy

Queen Krystalogy is not only a huge player in the cosplay space, she’s also one of the better variety streamers out there. Her super cheery personality and penchant for engaging with the chat more than you’d expect deems her as mandatory Twitch viewing. As a variety streamer, Krystalogy always looks comfortable playing anything she gets her hands on. Thankfully, her positive vibes make it hard to stay away from live gameplay sessions.

7. Maximilian_DOOD

“LET’S GO!” Maximilian_DOOD is a force to be reckoned with in the fighting game space thanks to his unbridled passion for the genre and his expert knowledge of the publishers/developers that push out the games he holds so dear. Whenever he’s on, you can look forward to watching him speak in great detail about fighters, Final Fantasy VII, and a huge assortment of Japanese gaming giants. And once it’s time to game, Maximilian_DOOD entertains during his online fighting game beatdowns and his exploration of all sorts of worthwhile games.

8. Draynilla

ALL HAIL THE BOOTY PRESIDENT! Draynilla lives by that moniker quite proudly and we can’t help but respect his much-sought-after position. This pick on our list tends to put in work anytime Apex Legends is a part of the equation. But when he’s not coming out on top in the uber-popular battle royale FPS, Draynilla can be seen testing his mettle in a nice variety of other games (especially first-person shooters). The dude’s pretty hilarious, too, which is always a plus.

9. IFCYipeS

THE FGC legend known as IFCYipeS is a beast on the mic as a commentator, which made his transition to live streaming an easy one. The NYC-bred Marvel vs. Capcom 2 warrior knows how to capture everyone’s attention thanks to his slang-filled commentary and hilarious callouts. When he’s not playing in/hosting super hype MVC2 tourneys and hopping into some Street Fighter V sets, IFCYipeS can usually be seen tearing it up in Call of Duty: Warzone. We’ll always live by this man’s triumphant catchphrase – MAHVEL BAYBEE!

10. PaladinAmber

Trolls take heed – you will get roasted beyond belief if you try to test PaladinAmber. Half of the entertainment we derive from this streamer comes from her brutal takedowns of those in the chat that make their thirst for her public. The other half of her live streaming value comes from her playthroughs of games like Rainbow Six Siege and Portal 2. And just listening to her chat about random topics (prepare to be enraptured as she reviews Amazon reviews) is worth sitting down in front of your screen for.

11. Myth

Myth was definitely a problem during his days spent as a Fortnite pro. He could always be seen performing amazing feats alongside his teammates during hotly contested matches in the battle royale blockbuster. Nowadays, Myth’s expert-level play is regularly displayed through his dedication to Valorant. If you’re a huge fan of Riot Games’ team-based FPS and are looking for a streamer that’s one of the games’ top-tier players, then Myth should join your watchlist.

12. TheBlackHokage

The glow up from ModernWarNegro to TheBlackHokage has been amazing to see. This variety streamer has grown into a young man that’s full of useful advice when it comes to navigating life, obtaining funds, and being the best version of you. TheBlackHokage’s streams usually have cool little nuggets of wisdom strewn throughout them and gameplay sessions that cover a wide swath of titles. His Apex Legends streams are always a blast, plus we can’t get enough of his infamous troll roasts.

13. Aniemal

We got another Valorant expert on our list. And she always goes out of her way to catch W’s thanks to her affinity for strong team synergy. Besides her masterful Valorant play, Aniemal also goes extra hard in other shooters such as Fortnite and Apex Legends. Aniemal is the ultimate clutch player, so get used to watching her eke out a win in an impressive fashion on a regular basis. Kudos to her for her sniper expertise, too.

14. Samora

“be you to the fullest, be YOU the FULL, BEAUTIFUL.” Samora’s Twitch quote always warms our hearts whenever we read it to ourselves in the mirror every morning. You can’t help but get caught up in the chill vibes that Samora exudes every time she’s on stream. She tends to show a lot of love for Nintendo games and Apex Legends, plus she makes sure to give her awesome cat some shine from time to time.

15. mmmkhayyy

Miss mmmkhayyy loves to live out her digital life in The Sims 4. But she doesn’t just regulate herself to the addictive life simulator – she hops across a huge variety of games that keep her streams fresh during every viewing. She’s played everything from the lighthearted Mario Kart 8 Deluxe to something far more serious in the form of Red Dead Redemption 2. mmmkhayyy is another one of our preferred variety streamers thanks to her bubbly personality and affinity for playing a wide range of games.

16. AvoidingThePuddle

If you’re a diehard Tekken player, then you must have a clue as to who this bearded gentleman is. If you’re not in the know, then we’re here to remedy that for you – AvoidingThePuddle (who doesn’t look like Hagrid, by the way) loves him some Resident Evil and Tekken 7. But he’s also big on playing a bunch of other games that may prove to be too challenging for some. Tuning in to his streams is always worth it since his viewpoints on a wide range of topics always prove to be hilarious. You can’t fault AvoidingThePuddle for keeping it 100% at all times. 

17. smugdabeasttv

“Acting like you won’t get command grabbed!” Whenever SMUG gets into Street Fighter V mode, he gets his rocks off by landing slick command grabs with his top-tier G play. And we simply can’t get enough of it. This streamer is one of the best SFV players on the tournament scene – he always knows how to bring the laughs while simultaneously playing at a high level that never seems to falter. SMUG’s G and Balrog play has to be seen to be believed.

18. Punkdagod

Punk is one of those fighting game players that can seemingly be good with any character he devotes just a slither of his time and effort to. Watching him choose a character on a whim during his Street Fighter V streams and going on to establish a crazy winning streak is always awe-inspiring. Punk’s durag rocking alter-ego always gets a laugh out of us during those same SFV dedicated streams as well. We always enjoy watching Punk tear up his opponents across the fighting games he spends time mastering.

19. jwonggg

The Wong Factor is actually a real thing. Justin Wong always seems to come back from the throes of defeat and overcome his foes when the chips are down. Whenever he’s streaming, you’ll get to see the Wong Factor emerge firsthand. Justin tends to stream himself destroying most of the opposition in some popular and even lesser-known fighters. You can always catch him putting in work in games such as Super Street Fighter II, Street Fighter II: 3rd Strike, Breakers Revenge, etc.

20. DaGamer2323

The variety streamer with the unmistakable laugh that we love to watch so much is DaGamer2323. You’ve most likely watched his hilarious PS4 unboxing vid countless times, but you should also dedicate your time towards watching him stream every now and then. DaGamer2323 is willing to give any game a chance, but it’s always fun to watch him chat about some random topics while he’s casually beasting in a game of Halo. DaGamer2323 is really big on talking to his followers on stream about some serious topics, which makes him one of our go-to streamers for positive mental health discussions and more.

Categories
Gaming Streaming

The 14 Best Twitch Extensions

When the pandemic hit the world in a big way just over a year ago, people had more time on their hands than they knew what to do with. People started trying new things like cooking for the first time and even investing in the stock market. While many things suffered as a result of COVID-19, one thing that most certainly started booming was Twitch, and streaming in general.

Streamers who were already on the platform started upping their daily streaming hours, people jumped on it to start streaming for the first time, and people found pleasure in watching other people stream. It was a cycle that kept lending itself to growth.

There’s no shame in being new to streaming and though the best time to start was yesterday, the second-best time is today, as they say. If you do intend to start streaming on Twitch sometime soon, you’ll need to know which Twitch extensions are right for you.

What are Twitch extensions?

Developed by third parties and introduced just a few years ago, Twitch extensions are essentially apps that you can download and apply to your stream to enhance your viewers’ experience. There are three kinds of extensions: panel extensions, overlay extensions, and component extensions. Panel extensions get displayed in a box under your stream, and overlay extensions get displayed over the top of the whole stream, and component extensions pop up on the stream, taking up a small portion of the screen.

The best kinds of extensions make it so that you can customize your stream, providing people with a unique experience on a large platform. Some of the other benefits of the better extensions are that they make the stream easier to navigate through and engage with and expand your growth as a streamer.

There are extensions that let people get updated on your social media posts in real time, extensions that let people request what music is played in the background, extensions that help streamers provide viewers with useful reminders about their stream and many, many more.

You can only use 6 extensions (3-panel extensions, 1 overlay extension, and 2 component extensions) at one time, so you’ve got to choose wisely. To make that choice a little easier, we’ve compiled a list of 14 of the best Twitch extensions available right now. In alphabetical order, here they are.

1. Amazon Blacksmith
Twitch

Formerly known as Gear on Amazon, Amazon Blacksmith is a helpful tool that gives your viewers a list of your favorite products that are on, you guessed it, Amazon. If anyone clicks on a product through your stream and purchases it, as long as you’re a part of the Amazon Associates Program, you’ll earn commission on it too. This one gives viewers a look into what kind of things you love, adding some personality to your stream and immediately making it stand out. What’s especially great is when you inevitably get asked what you use as part of your setup, you can just point people to your Amazon list.

2. Crowd Control
Twitch

If you play Dark Souls, Fall Guys, Minecraft, Pokémon Red, and Blue, or any of the other games on the list of supported games, Crowd Control will allow viewers to send bits and interact with the game in some interesting ways. Viewers can enable in-game effects like power-ups, extend or lessen your game time and even kill you instantly. Crowd Control takes just 20% of the bits you get.

3. Exclusive Content for Subscribers
Twitch

As the name suggests, this extension allows you to cater directly to your subscribers, giving people an incentive to subscribe to you and making subscribers feel valued. You can post members-only photos, videos, and posts. Every time you post something exclusive, subscribers get notified, and non-subscribers are constantly being reminded that they’re missing out on content as a result of not subscribing.

4. Latest Followers
Twitch

This one is a panel and overlay component that lists new followers’ names and profile pictures out as well as telling you and your viewers how many followers you gained that day. It updates in real-time, giving people an incentive to subscribe and see their name and picture on your stream. Plus, if you have a goal of gaining a certain amount of subscribers in a day, this helps you track it.

5. OWN3D Design Panels
OneTwoStream

If you’re starting your streaming adventure on Twitch soon and just want to get going, OWN3D Design Panels are going to be perfect for you. Instead of going out of your way to design your panel and making it its own creative endeavor, you can choose one of the templates offered here to make your stream look more eye-catching. As well as still graphics, you can get animated panels here too.

6. Prime Sub and Loot Reminder
Twitch

This is one of the simplest yet most important and effective extensions out there. The Prime Sub and Loot Reminder is an overly on the side of your stream that reminds viewers who have a free Prime subscription that they have a free Prime subscription. This could be the difference between just a little bit of growth and a lot of growth, whether you’re just getting started on Twitch or have been on it for years.

7. Quiz Kit
Quiz Kit

Quizzes are something that boosted in popularity a lot when the pandemic first hit, and people needed new, fun ways to communicate over video chat apps, so the Quiz Kit extension can come especially in handy nowadays. It allows streamers to either make their own quiz or pick from a bunch of ready-made ones and have viewers interact and compete with each other, with a scoreboard being kept. This one builds a sense of community really well.

8. Sound Alerts
Twitch

Sound Alerts is, without a doubt, one of the most essential extensions you can have on your stream. Streamers can apply certain sounds to certain buttons on their stream, and viewers can give bits to have them played. You can upload your own audio clips, so this can make for some pretty funny moments. More good news is that streamers get to keep 80% of the bits received, with 20% going to the extension developer, as per usual, for something of this nature.

9. Streamlabs Leaderboard
Twitch

The first of a couple of Streamlabs extensions on this list, Streamlabs Leaderboard essentially allows you to put your biggest supporters on a pedestal and express your gratitude for them by having a list of them in order from the top down. This could breed some friendly competition between viewers and get you more rewards as a streamer in the end.

10. Streamlabs Stream Schedule & Countdown
Gaming Careers

As long as you set a date and time for this extension, it will always notify people of when your next stream is scheduled to begin. You can also use it more short-term too. Having a long stream and need a short break? Put the Streamlabs Countdown on for 10 minutes to try to help retain some of your viewership while you power up for the next few hours.

11. StreamLegends
Next WZ

This one is a unique one and perhaps the most dynamic of the extensions of this list because it’s basically its own game that viewers can play. You probably don’t want viewers to feel like they’d rather be playing a game than watching your stream, but it’s a great alternative to leaving your stream empty while you’re AFK. The game is an RPG where players can level up their character, kill monsters and build a town together.

12. Spotify Recently Played
Twitch

Admittedly, this one is only useful for streamers who play music from Spotify in their streams, but if you do, then it’s especially useful. As the title implies, it allows viewers to see what music has been played on the stream as of late. This is a helpful tool because it saves you getting the “what song was that?” question over and over again, and it’s a conversational point if viewers have some of the same music taste as you.

13. Suggestion Box
Twitch

As great of a streamer, as you can be, there are always ways to improve and you can never please everyone. But a step towards helping to make your stream appeal to more people can be taking constructive criticism from viewers and that’s where the Suggestion Box extension comes in. Not only will you be able to see the suggestion, but other viewers can see them too and react to them with different emotes. If you get a suggestion and everyone agrees with it, implementing it is a no-brainer and can only be good for you moving forward.

14. Twitch AFK Arcade
Twitch

Like StreamLegends, this one provides your viewers with entertainment while you’re AFK. The Twitch AFK Arcade extension provides a selection of mini-games all designed by real game makers, so it’s a great way to retain viewership if anything pops up from you and you need to step away from your computer for a short while.

Categories
Gaming Streaming

So, What is Discord All About?

“Ay, hop on Discord!”

Chances are you’ve heard that phrase uttered countless times from your dedicated crew of gamer friends. If you’re not a gamer and have no clue what Discord is, however, don’t be embarrassed. Because there’s a good amount of folks out there who also aren’t in the know. Once we break down Discord’s importance and relevance to today’s virtual conference-focused approach to communications, you’ll want to get involved ASAP.

Discord is categorized as a VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol), instant messaging, and digital distribution platform. All of those communication features are mainly used to build a wide variety of communities that reach far beyond the realm of gaming. Users can hop into those communities (which are referred to as “servers”) and perform all sorts of communication functions, such as jotting out written messages, participating in voice/video calls, and sharing media and files. Discord is a global community that provides English, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, etc. speakers with an online hub to commune, plus it runs on a wide variety of operating systems – Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, iPadOS, Android, and most web browsers. It’s safe to say that Discord’s influence reaches far and wide.

Even though Discord is a great communication tool for career-focused individuals and just everyone in general, it’s become the go-to chatroom for gamers. Console/PC players usually hop onto Discord during group play to maintain a bigger pool of chat room participants. MMORPG players that are looking to tackle massive raids with a loyal collective that works like a well-oiled machine will most likely commune on Discord, for example. Even though non-Nintendo console owners can also utilize their hardware’s party chat features if they so choose, Nintendo Switch owners don’t have that same luxury. But thanks to Discord, a whole party of players that want to talk spicy to each other during a hotly contested Mario Kart 8 Deluxe session can do so. Discord’s also pretty essential for gamers as it gives certain games and streamers their own servers for users to engage in.

Discord’s numbers are quite impressive, to say the least. VentureBeat reported that the company regularly brings in 140 million monthly users, plus it recently raised $100 million at a $7 billion valuation. Plus The Wall Street Journal noted that Discord generated $130 million in revenue in March 2020, which is up from nearly $45 million in 2019. Those gargantuan stats go hand in hand with the big rumor circulating about Microsoft having an interest in purchasing Discord for over $10 billion. If that deal goes through, then Microsoft’s communication infrastructure will get even stronger if it merges Discord and its Xbox Live services together.

It goes without saying that Discord is a pretty major deal. Gamers and non-gamers alike can rely on it to build new friendships, share concepts/ideas, and generally stay in touch with folks from all walks of life. But if you’d rather just use Discord to hop on for some trash talk during an hours-long Team Slayer session in Halo, then that’s totally fine too.

Categories
Gaming Streaming

The Best Drink to Pair With Your Favorite Game

I stream on Twitch (Sammoman) on a regular basis. One of my favorite things to do is combine two of my biggest passions: video games and the beverage industry. I’m always drinking something different and always around to answer questions! I prefer different drinks for different games. You have to keep things interesting. So here are my picks for best drinks that go with the games I love to play. 

1. Apex Legends

This fast paced Battle Royale gives little time in between the big moments to actually enjoy your drink. That’s why I steer toward a whiskey cocktail. A well made Old Fashion is perfect. It’s a drink that you can make and come back to and take small sips as you try to survive. This classic is one of my favorite cocktails, so don’t be surprised if you catch me sippin’ on something a little stronger when playing games that don’t give me much time to drink! 

Classic Old Fashion:

½ teaspoon sugar

3 dashes Angostura bitters

1 teaspoon water

Smash all these ingredients in the bottom of a rocks glass.

Add 2oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon

Garnish with Orange peel

2. Minecraft

There aren’t many games that have a slow grind to success like Minecraft. Hours and hours of time spent to create beautiful creations in a world of blocks. This is a perfect opportunity to drink wine. Wine goes through a slow evolution in the glass, so it will be different from the time you open the bottle to the last sip.  It’s a perfect complement as I grind away to create my masterpiece. Try a bottle of 2018 Domaine Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape, it is one of my favorite wines from this region! 

3. PGA TOUR 2K21

Right now this is easily my favorite video game, and if you check out my channel, you’ll see that it’s the game I play the most. This is the best golf game I have ever played and is the closest thing to a video game simulation of the actual sport. While I’m playing my TGC Tour Rounds or catching up on my Jack Wagon Society rounds, you will always find me drinking an ice cold beer,  just as if I was out on the course. There is nothing better than a crisp, hoppy, unfiltered hazy IPA when playing golf. Drink at your own pace, and unlike the last two recommendations, you can have more then one and still play the game well. Anything from Toppling Goliath right now is hitting the spot, especially their King Sue Double IPA. Beer and golf just feels right.

4. Rocket League

I have been playing Rocket League for years. For some reason though, it has become a meeting point for a group of my closest friends during the pandemic. We call it Fish Tank Friday, a place where we all meet up, play rounds in the Aqua Dome (underwater themed arena), and drink our favorite drinks. Some people Zoom Call during the pandemic; we take it to the next level. While we all have our preferences, this is a time for me to relax and have fun. A light beer does the trick as it’s something that takes zero focus from the time spent catching up with friends. 

So next time you are looking for something to enjoy while playing your favorite video game, hit me up. Food isn’t the only thing that a good drink pairs well with. 

Categories
Gaming Streaming

These 10 Black Twitch Streamers are Definitely Worth a Watch

It’s easy to get caught up in a vortex full of Twitch streamers that happen to play the games you love to watch. Catching up on highlights and live streams from your favorites eventually becomes a regular occurrence. And over time, you’ll come to sing the praises of the streamers that entertain you the most. 

Twitch’s streamer landscape stretches far and wide to include a nice variety of ages, races, genders, sexual orientations, etc. The personalities we’ve listed below represent the very best of the popular streaming platform. Each one comes with their own discernible personality, signature approach to chat interaction, and a gamut of games they love to play when it’s time to hop on camera. But most importantly, these 10 streamers proudly represent the immense community of Black gamers that can be seen in all corners of the thriving hobby. They not only come with their own voice that speaks to the Blerd experience, but they also provide the type of quality content that puts them right next to the current titans of game streaming.

It’s about time we showed love to 10 of our favorite Black Twitch streamers.

1. TheBlackHokage

The man who once went by the moniker of ModernWarNegro has morphed into one of the most enjoyable streamers on the gaming scene. TheBlackHokage has ascended to new levels of success and has done so thanks to his dedicated streaming efforts and podcast conversations that regularly drop gems. His streams are full of variety – one minute, he can be seen catching W’s in intense Apex Legends matches. And then there are moments where you can catch him making his way through an open-world adventure such as Immortals: Fenyx Rising. The BlackHokage’s raw sense of humor is one of his strongest traits, plus his penchant for delivering life lessons and quality stories on stream adds even more to his magnetic presentation.

2. DaGamer2323

Chances are you probably recognize this dude from his hilarious PS4 unboxing. DaGamer2323’s outlandish skits and unmistakable laugh are hard to ignore, which is why you should watch him in his natural streaming habitat. Besides being gut-bustlingly funny, DaGamer2323 is also in tune with his mental health and makes sure to spend a stream or two listening to his viewers express their everyday struggles. When it comes time to hop on the sticks, he plays anything and everything that comes his way. You’ll find yourself staying through a full DaGamer2323 stream as he debates with his chat about all sorts of fun topics while he chips away at an epic RPG or embarrasses the competition in some good old-fashioned Halo.

3. BarefootTasha

BarefootTasha can be outrageous most of the time. But that’s why we love her so much. Listening to her belt out some of the wildest comments anyone has ever heard is just a part of the fun. Just take a peek at the video “ExposingBareFootGypsy” to hear just how out of pocket (in a good way, of course) she can be. She’s adopted a new title these days but still remains as amusing as ever over on her Twitch platform. BarefootTasha’s streams delve into extended chats with her community, explosive bouts of Apex Legends, and tense sessions with whatever horror-based game she feels like freaking out over.

4. Krystalogy

Krystalogy is another variety streamer who’s built herself a nice fan following in recent years. That’s because it’s so easy to like her—she maintains a nice rapport with her viewers at all times. Krystalogy delves into games such as Apex Legends, Valorant, Assassin’s Creed, and a whole host of other recognizable titles. Besides her on-stream activities, Krystalogy is also known for showcasing her amazing cosplay fits and giving her two cents on her favorite films from time to time. Krystalogy’s warm personality and appreciation for all things geek-related deserve to be commended here.

5. smugdabeasttv

“With the greatest of ease.” That catchphrase perfectly encapsulates smugdabeasttv’s fighting game mastery. Whenever he hops into Street Fighter V to wash the competition, it’s simply riveting to watch him do it as either G or Balrog. The longtime FGC tourney player shows us how it’s done on a regular basis. And he always makes it look so easy. Smug’s all about providing visual guides on how to get better at SFV, answering a flood of fan DMs, and taking on all comers through his amusing streams. Always remember – acting like you won’t get command grabbed won’t get you very far with smug.

6. Qwavii

Qwavii is a whole vibe. Whenever she starts grooving to whatever tough tune she desires, you have no choice but to start doing the same. She’s not just a maestro of music, however—she also dibbles and dabs in a nice lineup of games when she’s up for some streaming. Qwavii’s known for enjoying extended playtime with some first-person shooters, fighters, and mega-popular attractions such as Minecraft and Among Us. Her streams cover a wide variety of worthwhile games and her love for lit tunes makes her stand out from the pack.

7. BigCheeseKIT

The proud leader of the “Cheesus Christ” community has been grinding at this whole gaming and content creation thing for a good while now. He first began gaining traction thanks to his viral music video parodies over on YouTube. Since his rise to internet fame, BigCheeseKIT has spread out his entertaining efforts to Twitch and set himself up as one of the funnier variety streamers on the platform. BigCheeseKIT has gotten a major co-sign from T-Pain, which says a lot about his visibility and appreciation from everyone that watches him. His streams are guaranteed to increase your hype levels and make you elicit a few laughs along the way.

8. Samora

Samora is a proud member of Team Kitty and also happens to be a Twitch ambassador, which means her credentials are super legit, just in case you were wondering. Samora’s love for gaming is placed front and center, of course. But she also makes her anime fandom just as known – her favorite Dragon Ball Z character is Vegeta, and she adores One Piece. Samora’s varied gaming tastes cover titles such as The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, The Outer Worlds, Apex Legends, and so much more. You just gotta love her and her kitty as a package deal.

9. KarimCheese

KarimCheese is not to be messed with once he’s ready to hand out a whole bag of L’s in Apex Legends. His streams usually put his mastery of the battle royale shooter on full display, but he’s also known to hop into some decidedly different games from time to time. The self-described anime and futbol fan was featured on Twitch gaming’s The Weekly, which says a lot about his growing presence on the streaming platform. KarimCheese is certainly going places, but he remains grounded enough to feed his audience some awesome streams on a regular basis. We gotta show props to the man’s sick signature mask design, too.

10. PikaChulita

We gotta hand it to sis—PikaChulita uses her platform to push the topic of diversity within gaming and reps extra hard for the communities she champions. What we have here is a personable streamer that covers a wide gamut of games whenever she goes live. She can be seen getting caught up in another wild Among Us session, taking it all the way back with something retro (Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards immediately comes to mind), and casually chopping it up with her friendly chat. Her gaming trigger finger’s a bit too itchy for our tastes (peep this clip for proof), but that trait is easy to forgive since it elicits so many laughs. Salute to you, Queen PikaChulita. And shout out to the rest of the blackgirlgamers crew.

Categories
Gaming Streaming

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Among Us’ Twitch Stream Was One For the Record Books

You may know Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) for her political work, but last night, the Congresswoman embraced a new hobby—streaming. 

That’s right, streaming. The representative “graced” the stage” for her Twitch debut playing the ever-popular Among Us (you may have heard of it) as a way to further encourage people (in particular young people) to vote.

What followed was complete mass hysteria, and a historic night as Congresswoman joined big named Twitch streamers Pokimane, Hasanabi, and more for the event. The live stream was already a highly anticipated event with 240,000 viewers tuned in before gameplay even started.

At its peak, the stream reached 435,000 viewers during the first match with that number eventually dropping to 350,000 viewers. These numbers make Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez’s stream one of the biggest broadcasts ever on the Twitch platform, putting her in the top five for the most concurrent views in history. If you choose to look at from an individual stream standpoint the total could be much higher.

According to stream tracking websites such as Twitchtracker, that 435,000 viewership number could potentially put her in the top ten all-time list. At the moment, streamer Ninja holds the individual streaming record for his 2018 Fortnite stream with Drake and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Not too shabby for someone who had never streamed before.

While the concept of politicians playing games might seem a bit “odd” to some, the reality is it’s becoming a more popular method of not only getting their message across but also reaching the younger demographic of voters.  Recently the Biden Campaign revealed their very own Animal Crossing island, and other politicians are tapping into the gaming world as well (Rep. Ilhan Omar joined the Twitch stream as too). While some of the focus is geared towards politics, the majority of it is just about having a good time and interacting with the audience. Last night’s stream showcased that when Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez was revealed as the ‘Impostor” on the first match of the night.

One thing is for sure, last night was definitely one for the Twitch books, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proved that she can definitely rock with the best of the best.

Categories
Gaming Streaming

How VTubing is Slowly Changing the Gaming World

Do you ever wish that sometimes you could be invisible? Invisible in the sense that people can hear you, but not necessarily see you. What if you could take it a step further and create an animated version of yourself on social platforms? Well, that’s exactly what Twitch streaming sensation Pokimane has decided to do.

The official word for that is called VTubing (short for Virtual YouTubing), and it’s something that we should all start becoming familiar with. VTubing is on the rise, and in the future we’ll be seeing more big names play and stream through their animated characters. So how exactly did VTubing come about?

VTubing first originated in Japan. The process of creating a VTube is actually quite similar to traditional YouTube and blogging with the only difference being the use of a virtual avatar. These avatars replicate every single body movement, facial expression, and human action you could possibly think of. At the moment, there are about 5,000 VTubers, and while most of them are still based in Japan, we are slowly starting to see the rise of VTubers in other countries like the United States. That leads us back to Pokimane.

In the last few years, Pokimane has become a phenom in the gaming world, but like every job that puts you in the public eye, there can be some negative elements as well. Gamers, in general, receive a lot of criticism, harsh insults, and backlash. That criticism can be especially difficult if you are a woman in gaming. 

At the end of the day, gamers are still human beings, and every human has their limitations of what they can or should have to put up with. Which is exactly why, Pokimane decided to take a small break from streaming. Her return, however, was a huge surprise to the people who had followed her for years.

Pokimane’s return to Twitch, saw viewers being introduced to the anime version of herself. While Pokimane called the live stream an “experiment,” it was very much deliberate in certain areas. When asked why she chose the VTube route for her return, Pokimane stated that some days she doesn’t feel like doing the “glitz and glamor” required for a live stream. The Twitch sensation also said VTubing is a way for her to not deal with the terrible comments she receives every stream. In addition to the creative element involved in VTubing, it’s also a form of protection (like a defense mechanism). While not a permanent change(at least for now), Pokimane intends to make her VTube character a regular part of her career. 

One could argue that Pokimane is already having that impact. Since the debut of her anime character, interest in VTubing has surged significantly, and more gamers are starting to at least consider the possibility of going that route.

While Pokimane has definitely brought attention to VTubing in recent weeks, the interest has actually been building over the last couple of years. VTubers such as Kaguya Luna and Mirai Akari have been making noise in the VTubing community since around 2017. Both Kaguya and Mirai, are slowly reaching the one million subscribers mark on their channels. Kizuna AI, the streamer responsible for the early VTubing interest, is currently at two million subscribers on her channel. Known for her feisty demeanor, Kizuna’s balance between her “innocent persona” and her “bad girl persona,” has kept viewers entertained for the last four years. These streamers have paved the way for newer streamers to make an impact in the VTubing world. Kizuna is now an ambassador for the Japan National Tourism Organization. Projekt Melody (the popular 3D anime streamer) partnered with Twitch earlier this year. 

While the idea of VTube has made some streamers hesitant (some argue that VTubing challenges the authenticity of gaming), gamers are now seeing it as a way to expand their presence in the gaming world while not being “limited to one lane. ”VTubing’s demand is now more dominant than ever. This past week has seen the debut of Vtubing newbie Watson Amelia. In this week alone, the streamer has released 12 videos with huge streaming numbers ranging from 100,000 to 500,000 views on YouTube.  

Meanwhile, more artists in gaming are starting to be hired for their artwork. For example, Pokimane commissioned artist Teru for her VTube debut. Creating more work in the gaming community is a win for everybody. Whether you’ve hopped on the VTube train or not, the tide is slowly turning. Be prepared to see a lot more of VTube in the future.