Live Game Streaming 101 for India

Summary: Present below is my deepdive on live game streaming scene in India from early 2021. It covers a qualitative breakdown of game streaming, what makes a successful stream, monetization strategies and who are the streamers & viewers.
This is the 1st blog in the live streaming series and I will be shortly writing on entertainment and ecommerce based live streaming also.

Bottom Line: What makes Live successful?

what makes live streaming successful

Excite, engage & enable the audience to make a successful live.

There are three fundamental components that make a stream successful. These components are critical not only to attract new viewers but also to retain existing ones.

Firstly, a successful stream must be exciting and engaging enough to keep viewers coming back for more. This can be achieved by having an engaging and charismatic host, interesting content, and a lively chatroom. A stream that can evoke emotions, such as excitement (what comes next), joy, and laughter, is more likely to succeed in attracting and retaining viewers.

Secondly, a successful stream should engage with streamers in any way possible. This can be achieved by allowing viewer participation through interactive games, Q&A sessions, or simply responding to comments and suggestions. By engaging with the audience, the streamer can create a sense of community, which can further encourage viewers to keep coming back.

Lastly, a successful stream must enable viewers to participate and receive gratification. This can be achieved by allowing viewers to participate in polls, contests, giveaways, or simply by having a rewards system. Such participation can make viewers feel valued and appreciated, which can lead to increased loyalty and retention.

Types of Streaming 🎥

  • Game Streaming : A streamer plays a game and streams it online.
  • Entertainment/Lifestyle Streaming : A streamer entertains with people while just chatting or engages with audience with skill.
  • Ecommerce Streaming : A streamer talks about a product/service and sells it online and also entertains users while doing it.

Game Streaming 🎮

game streaming chair multiple screens

Basics & Platform

  • Two types of streamers – Professional streamers & Entertainers
  • Professional streamers who stream for educational purposes, to improve their gameplay, or to showcase their gaming skills in Esports etc.
  • Entertainers primarily stream or view content with the goal of entertaining and engaging their audience, as well as exploring new games.
  • Live game streaming is the most straightforward and accessible format, making it a great option for anyone looking to get started with streaming.
    • The game is engaging due to its graphics, multiple storylines, and constant delivery of dopamine.
    • Streamers can entertain with moderate skill, but attention is split between the game and the streamer.
  • YouTube and Facebook are popular in India for streaming, with YouTube being more widely used. Twitch is dominant internationally but not currently available in India.


  • Four avenues to generate revenue: Tips, Ads, Brand deals, and Subscriptions.
  • In India, Ads and Brand deals are the biggest sources of revenue.
  • 10-15% of streamers earn 80-85% of the fame and revenue. (brutual power law)
  • Streamers typically stream daily for at least 3-4 hours, during which they earn tips from viewers for their entertainment (viewer motives will be discussed later).
    • They also edit video clips of interesting moments from the game and upload them on YouTube to earn ad revenue.
    • Streamers can also secure brand deals or sponsorships with companies such as Intel and ASUS or with game companies themselves.
    • Additionally, viewers can subscribe on YouTube to gain access to private streams and receive digital freebies.
  • How much can they earn from tips?
    • Data below based on 14 streams I reviewed in early early 2021 on YouTube.
    • Scout is professional gamer (so less entertaining) and rest are mid sized gamers.Raka & Payal are very interactive.
different gamer youtube earnings

Lets Look at Tips

  • Tips or Superchats get special shoutout from streamers.
  • Shoutouts can range from a simple message to specific requests (such as wishing someone a happy birthday) or asking the streamer to perform a task in game. Generally, anything can be requested in exchange for tips.
  • Tanmay bhatts audience is largely college kids. Very active on discord.
superchats of different streamers

Who are the viewers & why tip?

  • The majority of viewers are between the ages of 16-25 and come from all parts of India.
  • The majority of Indian viewers watch live streams on their phones.
  • Viewers globally seek live streaming as a form of escapism and entertainment, desiring a sense of connection which Netflix does not provide.
  • Another need among viewers is recognition, which is where tipping comes in. Across platforms, tipping can result in special recognition and perks, such as a shoutout from the streamer.
  • Real-time feedback via chat creates a sense of connection with the streamer and helps in retention.
  • Important: viewers like to watch games which they can also play. Thus mobile based PubgG had the lions share of streaming market. After Pubg was banned numbers for streamers went down. 2nd biggest game people enjoy is Football, but Fifa doesn’t allow streaming.

The Streamer

game streamers of india female
  • Most of these streamers are young college graduates or in their final years of study.
    • Payal is in her final year while Xyaa graduated last year.
    • Raka was previously working in an MNC but streams full-time now.
  • Streaming in vernacular languages is quite popular and streamers who interact in native languages have a large following.
  • Streamers typically play both mobile and desktop games, but the streaming itself is done through a desktop with multiple screens.
  • The free tool OBS and a facecam are commonly used by streamers for their broadcasts.
  • Lots (lots lots) of streamers on youtube have less than 1000 viewers. (less than 100)
  • Streamers build audience on multiple platforms. This results in higher engagement for viewers who enjoy different aspects of the streamer’s life and persona on each platform.
    • YouTube is the primary choice for game streaming, offering memberships, tips and other features for gamification.
    • Discord allows for direct connections with the community and also a very high degree of intra community interaction, missing in other platforms.
    • Twitter and Instagram are used for sharing intellectual and visual content.

Questions To Ponder

  • Existing distribution is a clear moat here and thus Youtube is 800 pound gorilla. Does that explain why Twitch failed in India?
  • Extending above, does India specific platform make sense? What problems will it solve which youtube doesn’t solve?
  • Is tipping revenue so low (as pointed by Cathy in the image), anecdotally doesn’t feel so. China has a huge tipping market. Can tipping be big in India?
  • Doest mobile based streaming make sense? On Desktop, with multiple screens streamer can play as well as engage. Not sure if this multi-tasking is possible on mobile.
  • What are the issues faced by viewers or the community?

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