Not writing shop, this time. Not even parenting shop. I want to talk about my other creative outlet, of late. Sharing video games.
Let’s put aside the question of whether or not playing video games and sharing the experience even is creative, and assume for the moment that it’s been answered in the positive. Let’s talk about hosting and sharing platforms. Let’s talk about monetization. Let’s talk about audience availability.
I’ve been uploading my gaming videos to YouTube because that’s where my vlog went. Everybody knows YouTube, and every social media, blogging, mobile, and console platform bends over backwards to make sure videos play and play well. They’re huge, and despite their roots in small-time producers, they’ve shifted focus to their subscription service (YouTube Red) and their live TV service (YouTube TV). This has, by necessity, changed their attitude toward advertising.
I’d only heard of Twitch in passing, and had considered it a place for more hardcore gamers than I’d ever be. I started watching when a friend (more so since I started watching, to be honest) returned to streaming as a job, and discovered that I’d been really wrong. Twitch has streamers that are at all experience and intensity levels. They have competitive communities, communities surrounding fandom, and non-toxic communities, just to name a few. The only things they lacked were video archiving for viewing later, and an app that was anything other than frustrating. But I had YouTube for that, so I started live-streaming to Twitch, and exporting to YouTube for non-live viewing. And it was working great! I was even bringing in some pennies from ads on my more popular videos.
And then I logged in to YouTube’s Creator Studio and got a banner notification that my monetization had been revoked. They had removed it from all creators with less than 10,000 total views. This would have happened earlier, but there had been a bug and I’d slipped through the cracks. That was all the communication I received.
No grandfathering in of current creators, no heads-up emails, no appeal. Now, this is entirely within YouTube’s rights, and makes sense with the business pivot I noted above. That didn’t make it any less irritating.
So I started looking for alternative platforms, with no luck. Until I took a look at my past videos on Twitch. Some that I’d thought deleted were back, all the way to August. There was a new option for collections, which is their implementation of playlists. The decision came down to this – was I ok with the trade-off of a less well-known platform and a problematic non-browser viewing experience for great communities and a business model focused on sharing gameplay?
Yes, I was.
Let’s see how this goes!