Hey folks, So as some of you out there know, last year I started a Twitch stream called Retro Replay Live, as well as a YouTube channel called The Retro Review Show. I started off running the Twitch stream, and it ran steadily for quite a while, but at some point, the wheels started to come off the proverbial wagon, at which point I tried to pivot to YouTube, and then eventually, that kinda petered out as well. To explain what all happened, I figured I would write this blog post.
For starters, can I just say that I have the utmost respect for streamers. The work they put in is honestly no joke. It might seem on the outside that all these folks do is sit around and play video games, but honestly, there's so much more than that. To be successful on Twitch, or YouTube, or any content platform, you really do have to become a sort of entrepreneur; there is a serious business element to things. You have to learn how to build your brand, which means marketing, design, and advertising. You have to learn how to manage finances so that come tax time, you don't end up getting screwed. You really do have to wear a dozen different hats to be successful. And that's a ton of stress, which can easily burn you out. It can easily become a second job, and you (and those you care about) need to understand this, and you all need to be willing to compromise and make time for it.
With all that said, here's why I stopped:
It Was a Time Sink.
Twitch and YouTube were taking time away from the time I could be spending with my wife. I was spending hours locked in my little RGB-lit dungeon of an office, editing videos, tweaking motion graphics, streaming, etc. and while my wife, on the surface, said she was perfectly okay with it all, I personally was not. On top of taking time away from my wife, it was taking time away from my other hobbies, which I've recently found a renewed interest in (hence why this blog exists in the first place).
I Just Plain Didn't Have The Resources.
Twitch, specifically, stopped because of technical issues. My setup is a bit exotic and relies on using an external capture card with a MacBook Pro, because I don't have a gaming PC, nor do I have the money to spend on a gaming PC. Basically, I tried my best to use what I had, and what I had just wasn't good enough. See, I'd been using OBS as my streaming software since it's kind of the "industry standard". However, though there IS a version of OBS for macOS, support for it is, in a word, abysmal. Attempting to get support on any public forum will basically result in one of the following:
- You get laughed out of the room and told to "buy a PC."
- Radio Silence
- "I dunno, it works for me."
- "Have you tried <thing I've already tried a million times>"
- "Buy a better (Read: prohibitively expensive) X"
In short, if you are on macOS, and want to give streaming a try, I'm sorry to say that you'll need to put in a fair amount of money to do so. The streaming world was not made for folks like us.
It Was Affecting My Mental Health.
As I said previously, I took Twitch and YouTube pretty seriously because you need to, for it to really be worth spending time on. Every time my capture card would freeze up on a Twitch stream, every time I ended up with writer's block for a YouTube script, every time I looked at my subscriber count or my view counts and they weren't where I wanted them to be, my mental health took a hit. And it wasn't long before I realized that I needed to stop. I needed to take a break and stop taking this stuff so seriously.
"Other Extraneous Factors"
I don't want to go too far into detail on this, but suffice to say, there is one other major thing that led to my stopping the content creation train, and I'm not sure yet if I'm ready to talk about it. I don't want to sound mysterious or foreboding or anything, and there's nothing particularly scary about this other factor, but it is something I need to address, and it is personal, and yes, I'm alright, don't worry. With all that said, however. I promise, I'll be posting something here about this nebulous thing once I am able, as it kind of deserves its own post, and speaks partly to why I've started this blog.
So What Happens Next?
That's the million-dollar question I suppose. And the answer is, well, I'm not sure. For the time being, the RRC/RRL websites are still up, the Twitch account is still around (though I've put myself into "Vacation Mode" until 2025, lol), the YouTube channel is still up. I don't have any immediate plans to take those things down (though I may re-platform the websites to save a few bucks because Squarespace is EXPENSIVE).
I don't know what will happen with Twitch, ultimately; but I would, in the future, very much like to continue with YouTube. It would be nice if I had co-contributors (or perhaps people to help produce/edit the show) in that sense, I suppose, so that content could keep flowing onto the channel at a more regular pace. So I guess this is an open invitation: If you don't mind donating time (because I can't really pay you, sorry), I'd more than appreciate the help. But I'm not expecting anyone to say yes to this, naturally.
For now, I've considered turning the RRC website into a retrogaming news blog, at the very least, as there really is a lot of interesting things going on in the scene right now, things I'd like to document and share, outside the confines of social media.
In the meantime, there's this blog, plus my new little experiment with Spotify, "My Life in Music". Wherein every week, I attempt to catalogue all the songs that get stuck in my head throughout the course of that week.
For me, YouTube and Twitch started as kind of a lark. I didn't think it would go anywhere, but when it did, I took it way too seriously, to the detriment of my own mental health. Don't do what I did. Don't burn out. Pace yourself. Plan to spend the money necessary to make this stuff a reality.