Twitch is a phenomenon few people saw coming. At the outset, in 2011, it seemed strange that people would be willing to pay good money to watch, rather than play, games. After all, why watch other people do what you could be doing yourself? But fast forward a few years, and any doubt surrounding the format has dispersed.
Amazon bought the company in 2014 for just under a billion dollars, and since then it’s gone from strength to strength. Twitch is a big deal, and it’s brought the international gaming community close together. The content found on the platform can be educational, exciting, even comedic – it all depends on which streamers you’re following.
There are millions of channels broadcast each month, but the platform makes it easy to narrow down the content to the stuff that you’re interested in. We have our own opinion on which UK gamers on Twitch that are worth investigating, though – let’s check out a few of them.
Fremily is a husband-and-wife team who’ve been streaming since the early days of Twitch. Based in London, they play a range of games, including Call of Duty, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and a whole lot more besides.
As well as their actual content, they’re also active in building the Twitch community and have hosted the London meet-up for two years now. The actual meet-up actually started as a Tweet asking whether anyone fancied a drink at the local pub, but since 600 people expressed an interest, the demand for something a little more formal was unmistakable. With the help of a few determined collaborators, these two have made it their mission to meet that demand!
These days, of course, there’s not much opportunity for the Twitch community to meet in real life – but you can be sure that Fremily and other UK gamers will be spearheading the recovery once the Covid-19 lockdown measures are finally relaxed.
2. Two Angry Gamers
Games have the power to make us laugh, cry, and even punch the air in glee. But they also have the power to provoke bellows of exasperation and rage. And rage, when enjoyed vicariously, can be intensely enjoyable. Just look at the success of James Rolfe, Joe Vargas, and…Yosemite Sam.
Duo Adam and Tommy, (or Two Angry Gamers, as they’re better known), have been creating video content of this sort since 2014. Their output encompasses a broad range of genres, including Battlefield on Tuesday nights, indie horror on Wednesday nights, and playing with the eggs (that is, the adoring Twitch fanbase) on Sundays. Last year, they secured themselves an Intel sponsorship, which was marked by a frank and illuminating interview on the manufacturer’s website.
Their career has been festooned with profanity-laden episodes, among the more memorable of which involved Bongeh (that’s Adam) hurling his control pad through a glass window in a fit of Halo-inspired chagrin. Suffice to say, this is compulsive viewing for those who enjoy grown men taking exception to digital media.
Sacriel is another British streamer specialising in strategic combat games. His commentary is more on the wry analytical side, making it great for those looking to get better at games (and learn a few interesting things). The focus ranges from the more cerebral kinds of first-person shooter, like Escape from Tarkov, to more frenetic titles like Doom Eternal and ones that occupy the middle ground like Call of Duty.
Like TAG, Sacriel is sponsored by Intel. He’s recently featured on a behind-the-scenes video on the manufacturer’s YouTube channel, in which he emphasises the need to take time away from the relentless intensity of life on camera. Of course, the need to unplug is easily overlooked, especially when the entertainment in front of us is designed to make us want to come back for more, so this is a reminder we could probably all do with.
Mark ‘Valkia‘ Purdy is best known for his association with Overwatch, and in particular for his prowess with Pharah and McCree. He actually began streaming with the game immediately following its release in 2016, but he had considerable experience with other first-person shooters before getting into it.
For fans of Blizzard’s astonishingly-popular team-based shooter, he’s a must-watch. He’s made an explicit commitment to focusing on a limited range of games, claiming that doing so allows a streamer to build a more dedicated follower base. Having said that, he does also occasionally dabble with other games, like Riot Game’s Valorant.
Minecraft is among the most popular games ever devised. Among its more interesting features is a Hardcore mode in which death is permanent. This forces the player to start from square one after every death. Among the most famous practitioner of this form of masochism is Philza, who was launched into megastardom last year when his five-year(!) hardcore run was brought to an ignominious end by a spider and a zombie baby.
The incident (can we call it a tragedy?) even captured the attention of the national press and forced newspapers to publish sentences like ‘Gutted Phil Watson, 31, was killed by a zombie baby-wearing enchanted armor and then eaten by a spider’ (much to the befuddlement of most readers, who are largely unfamiliar with the incomparable strangeness of Minecraft).
Nowadays, Phil is still playing Minecraft in Hardcore mode – but there are far, far more people watching his progress. Who knows? Perhaps he’ll manage to break his own record.
OK, so how do I start streaming myself?
While many streamers at the very top of the profession like to use multiple PCs (one for playing games and another for capturing and broadcasting them), it’s perfectly possible to get everything done using a single system. Indeed, many of the people we’ve mentioned here do exactly this! You’ll find a range of Streaming PCs here on the Cyberpower Store. And if you’re not sure where to start, we’ve put together a guide to all the PC essentials you’ll need.