Incremental progress and streaming into the void
Sunday July 22, 2018

All zero of you are probably wondering what the heck is going on. It's been just about a month since the first test show was completed, and there's been a couple more since and yet still no firm date on a proper show. I can practically hear the tumbleweed using its mighty heft on my front door, trying to move just a molecule or two.

Honestly, I (and you perhaps, too) know that my audience size is minuscule, which might cause you to wonder why I bother spending easily 30 minutes putting together these posts. I've occasionally wondered that myself. But not so much why I do it, but rather why others would, and more in the form of why people bother broadcasting themselves to an audience of zero for hours on end.

But before we get to that point, let's first tackle the show for which this non-existent audience clamors. In short, things have actually progressed really well, I am literally on the brink of setting a first show date. Then I started running into internet connectivity issues. You may, or may not, know that internet access in Australia is generally a bit dodgy at best. In fact, I'd say it's a rarity to have the type of connection I do - almost a kind privilege. Make no mistake, I do pay top dollar for it, and it's about high time that I put it to good use. So just as all the pieces were coming together, I started experiencing significant packet loss (~ 15-25%) to effectively all websites. It's been tricky to nail down the exact cause. While the issue persisted for over a week, it now seems to have evaporated. Only to return, and then disappear again over the course of another day. Given that I intend to announce my official comeback show with at least a weeks worth of warning, I'm wary of doing so before I've raised my confidence that the issues I experienced will not soon return.

So I'll be monitoring how my internet connection keeps up over the coming days. There's little else I can do at this stage other than possibly trying to provoke the issue to return which I am two minds about. Hopefully next week will yield some clarity. One positive side-effect to this frustrating intermittent internet outage is that it's encouraged me to pack in another feature into PlanMixPlay before it's proper first use. More on that, during the actual first show.

This brings us around to the second topic of this post, my lovely small audience. As previously linked, the verge recently put out an interesting article on the matter. The concept of streaming to an audience of nobody. While I believe that a significant amount of persistent streamers will eventually find some kindred spirits to join them as an audience member, the vast majority of streamers will never hit a critical mass enabling them to make a living off it. Attention is a finite resource and there are simply too many takers and not enough givers. Simple as that. Doesn't matter if this 'pioneering days'-like rush to get noticed will generally raise the bar on the quality that gets filtered through, the vast majority will still not get to a self-sustaining level.

But everybody starts somewhere. Yours truly included. Every indicator in my opinion points at this endeavor of mine remaining a personal hobby. It must also be regarded as such to certain extent in my opinion. I.e. a balance between work and pleasure must be kept. These past months I've been dedicating the vast majority of my free time to pushing the project forward, but I can generally say that I do derive pleasure from it. I've no doubt that it's a similar appeal to most streamers. Playing video-games itself is fun. Doing it to an audience is also quite pleasant. Put the two together and how could you lose? If it doesn't work out in the long run, you've still had fun along the way. Maybe.

That's the point I'm getting to. I've not streamed any sort of gaming content for any significant length of time, nor do I personally know anyone well who does. But I still think I'm more than capable of making a number of assumptions about it nonetheless. The general sentiment from all the articles I read emphasize the sheer grind necessary to claw your way out of the initial zero hole. It sounds daunting. I'm sure it is actually doubly so. So much that I'm certain fun is left far behind by the time most people hit 1, 5, 10, or god forbid even 100 concurrent viewers.

I'll admit, I have no idea where the magical threshold to self-sustaining streaming lies. One thousand viewers? Five thousand? The exact number doesn't really matter to be honest. What matters to me is that while the exact number remains a mystery, one thing I know for certain is that it lies far beyond the sign that clearly says, 'The fun stops here'.