Finding a Community in an Unexpected Place
About a month before the pandemic hit in North America, my husband started a new side gig. He began streaming his video game play on Twitch TV. When he first started this, I was definitely not on board. I didn’t understand what exactly he was doing and I thought it was a waste of time. My husband has been playing videos games since he was a teen, and he’s really good at them. He had tried this ‘streaming’ thing before and it had been a major point of contention in our relationship. I didn’t want to lose my husband to online gaming.
Turns out, I was wrong. I had no idea what he was building and creating while playing a video game. My husband plays a game called Borderlands 3. That’s important to note, because unlike many other games that are played online, this game promotes cooperative play versus competitive play. And I believe that’s one of the reasons the community is incredibly supportive of one another.
We also purchased the game to play on our PS4. It’s interesting to note that when my husband and I first started dating, we used to play the first Borderlands game on our PS3. It’s tough for me to admit this – but I love to play (certain) video games. I’ve had to hold myself back from spending too much time gaming because I thought they were a waste of time.
A few months after my husband started his streaming, I decided that it might be fun to watch and hang out with the community on chat. And I started to notice how much fun everyone was having! The vibe in the community is positive and built on kindness and GRATITUDE. That’s right, my husband builds his gaming community on GRATITUDE! I wonder who inspired him to do that?
We decided to invest in building him a private office/streaming room so that he could really have fun and get hyped without bothering the rest of the family. Once he had a private space, his community grew even more and his income started to grow as well. I watched with pride as I saw him leaning into his passion more and more.
Then one night, I somehow ended up playing the game on his live stream. Not really sure who suggested it or why I said yes, but I did it. And it was hilarious! I didn’t know how to play with a keyboard and mouse (I use a controller on the PS4) and my hubby didn’t bother to give me many instructions. I played with a few friends and they carried me through a challenge and I HAD SO MUCH FUN!!! It was the highlight of that week, maybe even the month.
I started to want to be a guest more often. This being my husband’s stream, he started to be little annoyed that I wanted to take over. I don’t blame him! As I spent more and more time hanging out with the community in chat, I was encouraged to trying streaming myself. Let me be clear, I never, ever, thought I would want to stream video games on the internet. Yet, I had so much fun the few times that I played on my husband’s stream. What to do?
We decided to figure out how to stream directly from our PS4. I set up everything I could without using a capture card and decided to go for it! Our community stepped up from the first day I went live with so much support! There are certain goals you have to meet in order to become an affiliate with Twitch and thanks to our community, I got there in my first week. My first time streaming as an affiliate was a celebration!
Now, I’m streaming 4-5 times a week for about 2 ½ hours. What I enjoy most is playing the game with friends. We can play with up to four players at a time, and usually we are also chatting via voice while playing. The rest of the community connects via the Twitch app and chat option. It’s something I look forward to and I miss on the days I’m not going live. I also spend time hanging out when others are streaming on their channels and chatting. We have created a warm and welcoming environment where we support one another with love, kindness and gratitude.
I’m proud to admit that I am a gamer! I never expected to find a community online in this way. It has been a source of comfort during these really crazy and uncertain times. Not only do we connect on stream, we also have a community on Twitter. It’s great to see positivity and support on Twitter. I love my BL3 community and am so glad I found you!
To watch my husband or myself play live, download the Twitch app (also available on your computer):
We also recorded a podcast together: bit.ly/GrowYourOnlineCommunityWithGratitude (Apple)