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Gaming Interviews

Get Familiar With Hover, The TikTok for Twitch Streamers

It can become quite the chore to break through to the Twitch home page as an up-and-coming streamer. Getting more eyes on the content you worked so hard to create is also a tough feat that many have yet to accomplish. But Hover, an app that caters to sharing game clips from a long list of game streaming platforms, is making it easier for Twitch’s ever-growing lineup of creators to get discovered by a much wider audience.

ONE37pm had a conversation with Hover COO James Purell, who gave us some info on how the app was put into motion by founders Jake Aronow and Zander, the cool concept behind “Clip Challenges,” how he acquired his position within the company, and so much more.

Hover

ONE37pm: Give us an overview of everything Hover.gg entails.

James Purell: Hover is a social media platform that allows users to easily pull, edit and create clips from Xbox, Playstation, Twitch, and Twitter. Our users share these moments and Hover matches them with the perfect audience most likely to watch it and jump into their live stream.

Jake Aronow
Zander

ONE37pm: How did the founders of Hover.gg (Jake Aronow and Zander) come up with the concept behind their clip-sharing platform?

Purell: Jake and Zander were playing Fortnite one night and unlike Zander, Jake did not often get kills. So when he did, he wanted a platform to share his moments. They started researching and found that a lot of Twitch users had hundreds of clips, but nowhere to share them. Within this research, they noted a lot of people on Twitch were streaming to a small audience and they quickly realized that there was no way for these creators to get discovered. Hover was something we worked on part-time, but then the pandemic hit, and we thought if we were ever going to go all-in on our idea, now would be the time.

ONE37pm: How is Hover.gg tackling the issue of lack of player discoverability on Twitch?

Purell: There is a range of ways Hover is tackling the lack of discoverability on Twitch. Every single moment posted by a user has a “visit on Twitch” button – making it a one-click feature to quickly be able to get to someone’s profile if you enjoy their short-form content. When a user is live on Twitch, a red “live circle” will appear on every single clip, elevating the need to post “going live” posts – this appears on every single clip posted. So regardless of a viewer’s discovery experience, if you are live they will know you are live with the ability to press one button and jump straight in. 

We also have three feeds, our “live,” “discover,” and our “feed.” The feed is simply everyone you follow, the discover feed is new creators sprinkled with people you follow, and the live feed is every one that is currently live on Twitch. If your favorite creators aren’t currently live, you can browse the live section, find some short-form content you like and jump straight in – similar to how Netflix recommends new series to you.

On top of the features we have on the app, we also showcase creators weekly through our clip competitions. These competitions can quite literally be anything, from “chubby bunny” challenges, to fails, epic moments, wholesome – we’ve even had a pet flex challenge. We have three of these challenges a week, with the top four taking home cash prizes. We have thousands of entries and 16 are showcased. The 16 will not be notified in advance, with hundreds of viewers tuning in to see if they’ve made it. 

When we have shown the clips, the Twitch chat will vote for who they want to see progress through to the finals and be the eventual winners. Further to these weekly shows, we also hold a quarterly event, “Next Top Streamer” (NTS). This is similar to if X-Factor and America’s Got Talent combined & did a show on Twitch.

Entrants will enter a 60-second audition onto the app, showcasing themselves and their content – 32 will be picked for our “Top 32 reveal” where they will go head to head to make it through to our live stages. The live stages see us have multiple guest judges come on to the show and watch 20-minute auditions of the 16 during a week-long event – with the eventual winners taking home huge prize pools but most importantly, a new audience. Our last two previous winners have gone from averaging 15 and 40 CCV to over the required Twitch partner numbers and successfully getting Twitch Partner.

ONE37pm: Are there any viewing trends you’ve noticed on the platform thus far? Like, games with the most-watched clips and most popular streamers?

Purell: The viewing trends we are noticing are typically around the most popular games in the given week (recently Elden Ring and Lost Ark), coupled with what challenges for the week are. As we are adapting our challenges to make the creators “do” something (opposed to them already having the content), we are finding them being more and more creative, in turn improving their content and making the viewing experience even more enjoyable.

ONE37pm: What are some future improvements and updates you’d like to see Hover.gg implement?

Purell: Right now, we’re a small team, bootstrapping ourselves every step of the way with the primary goal of making sure we have a polished product in terms of performance. When you’re part of the journey early on, you take for granted all the things the huge apps provide that our developers have been working on relentlessly to bring to Hover. Think about videos loading quickly, the buttons consistently working, etc. Now that we are growing and building a bigger team, I’m looking forward to more editing features, an improved web experience, and hopefully a full integration with YouTube.

ONE37pm: Clip Challenges is one of the cooler concepts that Hover.gg utilizes. What was the thought process that went into making that feature a reality?

Purell: Early on during the alpha, we wanted to come up with something that was fun, different, and unique for our users to keep excited about the project. We thought it would be cool to try and have this tournament-style clip contest where all our alpha users could come together and watch other content whilst discovering other creators. After a couple of weeks of great results, we felt like we were on to something and wanted to make this a staple for our community.

ONE37pm: How did you acquire the position of COO as a part of Hover.gg?

Purell: I personally came on to the app with a sub of 2000 users. A friend recommended me to the app and its challenges – I entered one and came 2nd. I personally feel I was robbed and it was a fantastic Valorant Ace – but the chat knows what they want to vote for! After entering a few challenges, the original host of the show was moving on as he had been offered a new exciting job. So the team was advertising for a new host. I submitted an audition with a short background of experience I had and I was lucky enough to land the position.

As well as being the host of the shows, I took a great interest in the direction of the app and how it all worked, the team behind it was passionate, and I loved the direction they were going. After a few months of being host, I suggested the first-ever NTS – after a few meetings of persuasion, I managed to get the team to say yes to giving it a try. During the first NTS, we had around 5000 users. During the launch of NTS (at the time it was 2 weeks), we had 7000 sign-ups! 

After the event, I said I wanted to help as much as I could. A couple of months afterward, I handed in my notice to the British Army so that I could give Hover as much of my time as possible. During the next few months, we had several different events, collaborating with brands on events, such as SteelSeries – hosting another two NTS events and really embedding myself in the community. In January of 2022, Jake and Zander approached me and offered me the position of COO – I was honored to take the position and strive to make a huge impact on the company and its direction throughout 2022!

ONE37pm: Give us your thoughts on the current state of game streaming and what hopes you have for it in the future.

Purell: Even though streaming boomed during the height of the pandemic, I still think we’re in the early stages of it all – especially as we transition to a web 3/metaverse world. To me, I see consumers wanting more out of their favorite influencers and streaming through its para-social relationship. It gives them what they are looking for. 

In a few years, more and more consumers will break away from watching football, sports, the news, TV shows, and music concerts. But run to watch their favorite streamers showcase these events. Furthermore, as we move into an AR/VR world, users are going to be searching for friends and communities. We strongly believe that 60-second shorts on Hover are going to be where you start your journey.

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