The Biggest Secret In Growing Your Stream Community. Small Streamers and Gaming Servers.

Small Streamers and Gaming Servers

After years of experience with various gaming server providers, we have decided to share our story.  The story of a small streamer who has always played games that has required a server of some sort.   Since the beginning of survival games, through PC, and now even through the console (Xbox or PS4), we’ve dealt with various companies and have even hosted various games ourselves through our own PC and console.   That’s right, for years we hosted our own Ark servers through an extra Xbox we purchased for that exact reason.  It was the only way to host an Xbox server when Ark was first released on console.  And some of us wanted everything but the official server experience.

minecraft gaming serversLet’s start from the beginning…

First there was Minecraft.  Although we didn’t have a large community to play with, Minecraft was getting popular and this was the game that partnered endless streamers on Twitch, and created stars on YouTube.  Everyone and their little brother was playing Minecraft.  At the time we weren’t involved in streaming, so we played the game just to play it.  We do not have any experience with using a 3rd party gaming server provider with Minecraft.  From the beginning, we played Minecraft on Xbox (which gave us a hosting option).  And when we did finally play Minecraft on PC, we had all the tutorials we needed to set up our own host.  And since we had a very large group of friends that played together each night, we really didn’t look for any outsiders (although these outsiders would have beeen the key to a thriving new small stream).  So one of us set up our own server and each night about 12 of us would log in and do various things in Minecraft.  We did learn then that if the power went out or our friends PC crashed, gaming for the night was pretty much over.  This was the downside to hosting our own server, but at the time we wouldn’t have paid for any other experience.

And then came Rust.  For us, Rust was a whole different experience.  The official servers were all about KOS (Killing on Sight).  We loved the idea of the game, but really wanted a PvE server.  This wasn’t even an option.  Not only was this not an option, at the time we were members of the official forums of Facepunch (the creators of Rust) and anyone interested in PvE with this game was a very tiny and “attacked” minority.  Even in discussions, we were killed on sight.

We ignored the majority and reached into our pockets to deal with a 3rd party server and set up our own rules.  Since at the time there were no PvE options, we had to make our own by scripting mods and creating ways to punish players for KOSing.

This was my first experience with a 3rd Party server.    Although we liked the benefit of always having our server online, the company we used was awful.  Now defunct, and probably ran from some guys basement, it was just a horrible experience.  Truthfully, we could have actually just done it better on our own, because we were pretty much on our own with this company.  However, we did learn that we could find people that weren’t already our friends, host games publicly, leave the server up 24 hours a day (on this provider, it was more like 18 hours a day because we had so many issues), and mod the game.  We were able to mod files, create various new loot options, and even add a prison system to lock up players killing on sight.  Believe it or not, we had our server at full capacity.  At the time, we operated the only PvE server that existed, and although there was a tiny minority of people wanting this, there was enough to create a large community on our server.  We even had to create a queue line.   From people that wanted to troll and kill everyone, to people truly trying to turn Rust into a PvE experience.

In hindsight, Rust was never a great PvE game for us.  Had we actually streamed during these days it would have probably been extremely successful.  Because, now listen closely…gaming servers create communities.

gaming serversAnd then came ARK:  Survival Evolved

Originally we played this game on PC and didn’t really enjoy it.  We were caught up in our Rust community and was trying to turn our coal mine into a diamond field.  I say that with all due respect.  But in reality, Rust really was a KOS type of game.  Collect materials, build a base, make bullets, shoot.  But since it was all we knew, we stuck with it and overlooked what ARK offered.

However, once ARK came to Xbox, we decided to give it another try.  We didn’t decide because the game interested us, we decided because family share and someone bought it for me.  The original group of folks we played Minecraft with were all Xbox players, so they wanted to get us back on Xbox.  For those that hate console gaming, we get it.  However, there is also a group of people that really don’t care what you use to game.  Console, PC, or board games.  They just want to sit back on their couch, turn on their TV, touch their controller, and play a few rounds of Call of Duty.  They do not care about a 120Hz display, 4K, fps, or whatever else is thrown around regarding console gaming being an awful experience.  Not wanting to sit with their hands 10 and 2 like they are driving a vehicle, back hurting from having perfect posture for 12 hours straight, and tapping handfuls keyboard keys for the night.  We needed our hands free hands to…well, play till 4:20 AM to PM.   Your fps will never replace our ability to simply hitting a power button on our controller while slouching on the couch, nuts hanging, eating Cheetos, and playing a few rounds of Call of Duty… at 4:20.

There will always be a place for the console.

With ARK, we learned that there was a way to host a server (implemented a few months after it was released), but you had to have another Xbox.  That’s right, you could host games if you have a second Xbox.  So we did.  And we created a great community in the process.  Because why?   Because gaming servers create communities.

After dealing with what seemed like years of crashing, internet hiccups, requests from players to reboot the server because they couldn’t join.  I literally spent my lunch break driving home, 20 minutes away, rebooting the xbox, loading the game, loading the server, then driving back to work.  That was how we operated our server.  And every night at about 1 A.M., worknight or not, I would get messages to reboot the server because for whatever reason my internet had a small hiccup at that time each night.  I would get up, get out of bed, reset the server, load the game and load the server.  Like clockwork.

Or at least it was until I found Nitrado.   I believe the first and only company at the time that was going to have the ability to host Xbox servers.  Finally!  I never realized how bad I needed a 3rd party server until I had to deal with hosting a community for years.  And I’m cheap!

I know this seems like an ad, but it isn’t.  More like me showing the proper appreciation for a company that really saved my butt when I was ready to give up.  Maybe for some people, they can deal with the headaches of hosting communities and dealing with all the complaints.  But that wasn’t how I wanted to spend my day.  I needed a reliable 3rd party gaming server that could host my Xbox community.  In fact, I think Ark (maybe Minecraft), may be the first game that allowed a 3rd party to host games through PCs.   

Why Does A Small Streamer Need A 3rd Party Gaming Server?

If you are just a gamer, you may never need a 3rd party server.  As far as I know, each game that I enjoy has released their server exe files so you can set up a server from your home.  Or you can do it through the game itself.  7 Days to Die, Ark (if you have the game installed on PC or a second Xbox, or even your Xbox App on Windows 10), Rust, etc.  This is great if you just want an experience where you and a few friends play a game while you are online, and at the end of the night turn off your server.  If you do have the capabilities to leave your server running 24 hours a day, be prepared to deal with power outages, computer crashes, internet hiccups (yes, your server disconnects when your internet has slight hiccups), and complaining players/upset viewers.  We lived it.  Trust me, this is the reality of running your own server.

Most viewers that watch you play games, want to also play the games they are watching you play.  If you can provide them with a great server, it’s much like a grass roots movement.  They will  invite their friends.  And during a game, they will mention that the admin is also a streamer.  And guess what?  That friend becomes a viewer too.   This isn’t hard to figure out why having a server with the games you love to play, is imperative for your new streaming hobby.  They go hand and hand.  And although this is not talked about much, this is one of the biggest secrets of streaming.  From all your popular role play servers, to the streamers you love the most.  Join their communities and discords and you will quickly learn, they have Minecraft servers, Rust servers, and various gaming servers set up that they provide their community.  They do this on purpose.  And as a growing streamer, what better what to create loyal viewers than to invest in them.  A lot of people take donations and subscribers with promises of “improving my stream quality”.  I can confirm, a few months of streaming pays for all the “quality” improvements any streamer would ever need.  Except if they are just over kill and want every piece of technology ever made.  Either way, one of the things you should do, is put your money your community has given you, back into your community.   Invest in a server to provide to your viewers.  Preferably games you enjoy to play on and off stream.

Gaming Servers – What Does This All Mean?

Through my experience, as a small streamer, you may not need a gaming service provider.  And that’s just the truth.  However, if you are looking to develop your community, grow as a streamer, you would be robbing yourself of the greatest opportunity for growth by not finding a game you love, setting up a server, and playing with your viewers.  And if you can keep this server online 24/7, even better. This is the key to keeping viewers around.  Because in 2020, everyone streams.  Find something to set you apart.  Your gaming chair isn’t unique.  Your pink hair isn’t either.  Your low cut shirt?  Maybe that will work, lol.  But something else that works, providing them with a place to talk to others, play games, and enjoy your community.  And I don’t just mean a discord server.   And that’s just the truth.

So although we are sponsored by Nitrado, we are blogging this article because we have thoroughly enjoyed their service over the years.  We have also sent various streamers to their service and have never had any negative feedback.  From their around the clock discord support, friendly staff, and ease of use with Xbox and console players, I wouldn’t suggest anyone except Nitrado.   Especially if your goal is to start a community.