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Best Games to Stream [2020 Cheat Sheet]

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With thousands of games to stream on Twitch, it can be difficult to narrow down what you should play. This guide will cover 10 good options as well as give you strategies in looking at other games.

Best Games to Stream 2020

  1. JackBox
  2. Minecraft
  3. Poker
  4. Dead by Daylight
  5. Old School Runescape
  6. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  7. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  8. Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
  9. Marbles on Stream
  10. StarCraft 2

If you want to learn how to pick the best game specifically for your channel check out our recent video for detailed recommendations.

1. Jackbox

Jackbox Games are a group of party games that can be played by a group of people even if they are not in the same room. This means that streamers can play with their viewers. Many of the games even have Twitch integration, allowing the streamer to play it without having to worry about Twitch trolls

Jackbox streamers get a lot of organic traffic from viewers specifically searching the category. This means it’s a great game pick for building a few core viewers who might enjoy your content/ personality enough. Jackbox is fast-paced and generates a huge amount of content so while this creates pressure to keep up the pace it also helps solve a common new streamer issue of dead airtime. 

2. Minecraft

Since its release in 2009, Minecraft has become the top selling game of all time. Gamers have become enthralled with the sandbox game. Minecraft is good for community interaction where people can relax in the game’s nostalgia. 

Minecraft is one of the few games where viewers can play alongside streamers. Getting viewers playing and involved in projects generates a huge vested interest. 

3. Poker

Poker is not as immersive as other games and can be played at a casual slower pace allowing for a lot more time interacting with chat. High-risk high reward which leads to entertaining clips and content. 

The Poker category is known for having a higher viewer to streamer ratio. If you have an engaging personality and a solid understanding of Poker, you can easily grow a following very quickly in this category. 

4. Dead by Daylight

Smaller niche game with a loyal fanbase. Suspense helps with retention as viewers want to see how the round ends. Will the streamer be gruesomely murdered? 

You can also play the game with your viewers, as long as you remain the murderer searching them out (otherwise, they are able to track you down). This will let other viewers wonder if you will be able to find their community members. If you have multiple people wanting to play with you, you can use a randomized generator or limit the players to subs. 

5. Old School Runescape

Runescape was originally released in 2001 and was immediately embraced by an adoring fanbase. While a younger crowd still plays the current version of Runescape, many of the original players prefer playing and watching OSRS (Old School Runescape) for nostalgia. 

There are many different niches and skills you can hone to create a niche for yourself and keep it interesting for your viewers. Player-owned houses and guilds also present the opportunity to hang out with your viewers. 

The viewer of OSRS is an older fanbase, who are now typically between the ages of 25-35 years old. Many of them are employed and have a little extra cash they are willing to use on donations and subs. It’s also very common for community members to gift in game items and currency.

6. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing is a new game and one of the biggest of the year. It has a huge following and people want to see what others are up to. It is a very feel-good game that’s very inclusive. You don’t need a high skill cap to do well and have fun. Make sure to weigh in your thoughts about the peach tree vs pear tree controversy. 

7. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

The first of the Zelda franchise that was released in 3D, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was releases in 1998 and has a huge amount of nostalgia surrounding it. All you need to do is visit any “Song of Storms” cover on YouTube to see how much people still love the game and story decades after it was released. 

The story-telling aspect of Zelda games, in general, makes for a simple way to play through a game while still being able to interact with your viewers. Like OSRS, these viewers will likely be between 25-35 years old. Many will be there to “re-experience” the game through someone else’s eyes. 

8. Gwent: The Witcher Card Game

Gwent: The Witcher Card Game generally has a great streamer to viewer ratio. Witcher 3 is one of the stand out games of the last decade but sometimes suffers from being oversaturated with streamers. 

If you want to start building a following in the Witcher niche, Gwent is a mini game that has a following in its own right. After you build up a bit of a following, you can play through the Witcher game with a Gwent focus, and grow your Witcher following further. Gwent is also a great game for streamers who love to roleplay and cosplay on Twitch.

9. Marbles on Stream  

Great way to start a stream. Very popular for streamers to do 10-30 minutes of marbles while the stream picks up the regular viewers. Gives them something fun to play and mess around in. The game works well if played before a story driven game that regular viewers won’t want to miss. 

The time spent on marbles works as a buffer. Also really good if you need to take a toilet break or make some food. A game of marbles takes 2-3 minutes and gives viewers something to watch in the meantime. Optionally, you can set the game up to allow players to bet channel points from Streamlabs with each other on if a particular marble will come in first. 

10. StarCraft 2

StarCraft 2 is one of the most popular if not the most popular RTS games of all time. It has a huge viewer base even today and a great pick if you are skilled at RTS. You can pull in viewers and retain them with impressive strategy and micro.

How to Choose Which Games to Stream

There are many things that could influence you on what you should stream on Twitch. Ultimately, you should focus on these overall tips:

  • Play something you genuinely enjoy. If you aren’t having fun, people will be able to tell and they will be less interested in watching your stream. 
  • Make sure you can keep up with your chat. If a game prevents you from watching your chat and engaging with your viewers, you may need to re-evaluate what you play, at least while you are still growing your channel. 
  • Play a game where you will be found through searches or can build a community from people you encounter elsewhere online. 

You can also do some research into specific games to figure out the best times to stream certain games that interest you. Here are two great tools that can help you:

How to Use TwitchStrike

You can use TwitchStrike to find out what games are currently trending in your current hour. Here is how it works:

Step 1: Visit the site’s section about “What to stream this hour”

Step 2: Browse the list of games, taking note of the number of channels currently streaming, the average viewer count, and the percentage of viewers that the top 5% of that game’s category owns. 

Step 3: Double check current trends on Twitch as TwitchStrike isn’t always accurate and doesn’t always update accordingly

Step 4: Set up your stream. 

How to Use SullyGnome

While TwitchStrike’s information isn’t always accurate, they do sort games and categories in a different way than SullyGnome. You can use the sites in tandem to learn about game trends. Used on its own, here is one way you can use SullyGnome:

Step 1: Make a list of a few games you are interested in streaming.

Step 2: Visit SullyGnome and look up each of those games. 

Step 3: Look at the viewer ratio chart to see if there are any peak times that stand out.

Step 4: Compare these times with the top 5 streamers in that category to see how much overlap there is. While you are looking at the top 5 streamers, note the times they typically stream. 

Step 5: Work out a strategy on when you can play the game. If the top 5 streamers take most of the viewers during the viewer peaks, you may want to start streaming 30 minutes before they stop streaming to possibly pick up some of their viewers when they end (you could even possibly be raided!)

If the top 5 streamers don’t take most of the viewers during the peak time, try streaming during the peak viewership time to pick up viewers who are browsing channels. If they like your content, they may become part of your community. 

Step 6: Try a few streams surrounding a couple different strategies you found during your research. When you find something that works for your channel, expand accordingly.  

Best Games to Stream for New Streamers

Party games! Based on our findings, when you are just starting out, playing games that include viewers are very popular and will attract attention. To maximize this potential, try to have the following:

  • 5-6 active viewers when you play party games. People are less likely to jump into a party game server where there are only 1-2 viewers. You need at least a few people to have a good time playing party games. 
  • Announce your community night in advance and ask people to come support your stream. 
  • Keep things active and fun. 

Eljayem_ picks up a few new regulars during his community night streams. Even though they joined for the party, several end up visiting on days where he plays other games because they want to catch up with other members of the community. Using this practice, he was able to grow his channel to more than 10 concurrent viewers less than a month after he began to stream. To learn more how to grow your own viewers, visit his stream when he is live and ask him any questions you have. 

Best Games to Stream for New Streamers

We created our best games to stream list using the following reasoning: 

  1. Slower paced games offer more time for viewer interaction
  2. Games that are easy to learn are more immersive for new viewers.
  3. Games where viewers can help make choices build more interest and generate an audience that will come back for future streams

Warning! Our Tip is to avoid first-person shooters if you are new to streaming. They are notoriously difficult for building a viewer base due to oversaturation. 

Play New Releases to Get more Viewers

Playing newly released games are a great way to pull in new viewers who want to see other aspects of the game to learn themselves. 

Mount and Blade – Bannerlord

The first Mount and Blade games had a cult following. Mount and Blade – Bannerlord entered into development in 2012, but wasn’t released until 2020. The release was rushed to aid efforts to help keep people at home during the Covid-19 crisis.

It’s fanbase has been waiting nearly a decade for the game and people are eagerly playing it and watching others play it using their own strategies. The game is very RP-friendly as it is a sandbox, allowing players to explore many different avenues. 

Minecraft Dungeons 

Minecraft Dungeons will be an action-adventure game released by Mojang and based on the popular game Minecraft. It is likely to have a large following as people want to gauge the hype and find out what’s new from their favorite franchise. 

Explore as much of the game as you can and look into creating YouTube tutorials on how to play the game to grow your following from another medium. 

New World

New World will be released in August 2020. This highly anticipated game will be released by Amazon. While other MMOs will be released in 2020, as New World is owned by Twitch’s parent company, we expect that they will do a lot to promote it, as well as promote streamers who broadcast it. 

Try to find your way to end-game content fairly quickly to let those who are playing more casually see what is ahead of them. 

About the Author

Chris

Chris is a digital marketer with a strong background in influencer branding. He applies his knowledge of content and promotional strategies to design actionable advice for new and intermediate streamers.

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