The Rise of Singaporean Live-Streamers on Twitch
Twitch is one of the fastest-growing platforms on the internet right now and Singaporeans are flocking to board the hype train.
Twitch is a live-streaming website that allows users to broadcast to others. Although Twitch has a large gaming community, the popularity of the platform has attracted users outside of it. The live-streaming platform has become very diverse, with different genres appealing to a wide range of audiences. From art, music, or even baking, the possibilities on Twitch are seemingly endless. We explore the Twitch hype here in Singapore and showcase a few streamers you should definitely check out.
The Twitch Hype
In the midst of a global pandemic, schools closed and workers stayed home. As technology became our greatest aid, naturally people also took advantage of this to find ways to entertain themselves at home and socialise with one another. Singaporeans are no exception of course, especially since we had one of the strictest lockdowns in the world. Social gatherings have only recently resumed and even so they are limited in size. Without social spaces like bars or clubs, Twitch was one of the platforms that helped give people the entertainment and interaction they craved. Streamers were able to reach out to others from the comfort of their homes and audiences could tune in from any device — it was the perfect combination.
The growth of live-streaming on Twitch coincides with the rise of personal computer (PC) customisation and building during the pandemic. Those in the tech community naturally have interests connected to streaming and their chase for the best computer specifications allow them to very seamlessly transition into setting up a stream. With such a high level of accessibility, it is only to be expected that the idea of streaming has crossed the mind of anyone with a decent computer.
Twitch allows their streamers to earn a profit through subscriptions, bits, and donations. Subscriptions are a monthly fee that viewers pay for special perks, while bits are a type of virtual currency on Twitch where viewers can make one-off payments of an amount of their choosing. Many streamers also include a donation button on their profile which allows viewers to leave them tips directly through PayPal.
Both subscriptions and bits are only available to Twitch Affiliates, a programme that streamers can apply to once they hit certain checkpoints. One level above that would be the Twitch Partner programme which calls for even more demanding achievements but offers streamers a wider range of customisation options on their streams.
Singapore has produced a huge community of both streamers and viewers. The increasingly saturated streaming scene makes it extremely competitive, but up-and-coming streamers are constantly surpassing new milestones and raising the bar.
Several big names in Singapore have become successful enough to turn streaming into their full-time career, and even newbies on the scene have risen through the ranks within the span of months. In this list, we cast the spotlight on seven Singaporean streamers from different genres of streaming.
Live-streaming on Twitch was a natural progression from radio for 987FM DJ Joakim Gomez. Known for his love of gaming and sports, Joakim now shares his passions with nearly 3,000 followers on Twitch.
Some of the games you might see on his channel include FIFA, Mortal Kombat 11, God of War, and of course, some of the Twitch classics such as Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout and Among Us. With many of these games, Joakim allows his viewers to play together or against him, which adds a layer of interactivity that connects him to his viewers.
When asked about the appeal of playing with or against a streamer, Joakim says, “You can boast to your pals about beating a certain streamer, [and] there is also a sense of engagement just to get noticed and to have fun with it.”
Samuel Toh, or better known by his online alias TohVahKiin is a lecturer by day, Twitch streamer by night. For all you Japanophiles, TohVahKiin’s channel is sure to tickle your fancy. Some of his most-streamed games include Monster Hunter Rise and Genshin Impact. His streams also have lots of cool features, including unique alerts and pop-ups. Viewers can even control the music he plays in the background using bot commands in the chat.
TohVahKiin is a Game Design and Development lecturer at a local college, which goes hand-in-hand with streaming video games. “Teaching game design involves exposing myself to various software and tools. Not all of them function the same way, but most of them share the same logic,” he tells us.
He began streaming at the start of the pandemic when the June holidays were brought forward and schools shifted to home-based learning. Although he does not promote his live-streaming antics to his students, he says some stumble upon his channel by accident, leading to surprised reactions. But the feedback has been positive, he says, “It makes me more relatable and cool as opposed to the other lecturers, which certainly comes in handy in the classroom!”
Contrary to popular belief, Twitch is not all PC and console gaming. If you’re interested in card games, Umehara Keiji, also known as umeandhara, has got your back. Keiji is known for his extensive Pokémon card collection and he is always on the hunt for more. He does live-streams unboxing new card packs and discussing the trading cards with his viewers.
Keiji first started creating content on YouTube where he has 77,800 subscribers, and like many, he decided to have a go at Twitch during the Circuit Breaker period in May 2020.
Despite having a head start through his YouTube audience, many of Keiji’s viewers credit his growth on Twitch to his passion for streaming — which shines through. The Pokémon trading card community also has very dedicated fans who have helped keep the game going even on newer platforms like Twitch.
Beyond gaming live-streams, Twitch is an incredibly versatile platform that also hosts other genres of live-streams. Minimal_art, or Min for short, is a digital artist and virtual YouTuber (VTuber).
VTubers are a very new concept that has also become popular recently. The trend originated in Japan and uses a virtual avatar to represent the streamer. The avatars are often capable of tracking the streamer’s movements and expressions, which allow the avatar to move rather than remain static.
Min uses a pink-haired, bespectacled avatar in a magical girl outfit to represent herself and she can even zoom in on her avatar or add effects for entertainment. She live-streams her digital drawing process while chatting to viewers over a mellow, lo-fi playlist in the background, creating a homely atmosphere with chill vibes. Min’s streams are perfect for a relaxing afternoon or a wind-down in the evening.
Omglili delves into a very unique side of Twitch — baking live-streams! Lili describes her routine as “baking in the day and streaming at night”. She and her sisters have even launched their own home-based bakery called Peco Bakery. In a recent live-stream she baked a mille crepe cake for her bakery and took her viewers through the entire process — from preparing the ingredients to cooking the crepes and putting the crepe cake together.
Apart from baking, Lili also does IRL streaming (“IRL” stands for “in real life”). IRL streaming has been on the rise and as the name suggests, it involves the streamer live-streaming themselves when they are out and about. There is usually no specific theme or topic in these streams. Instead, streamers will go out to eat, meet friends, or go somewhere fun like the beach.
Lili labels herself as a variety streamer and often tries different genres of live-streaming — she even recently did a live-stream where she tried assembling a puzzle. Similar to Min’s streams, Lili creates a calming atmosphere for viewers which is great for breezy interaction or to simply leave in the background while doing work or studying.
Denise, or better known as supercatkei, is a streamer of many talents, but her music streams stood out to us the most. Armed with her trusty guitar or a backing track, Denise puts on a show for viewers and takes song requests too. Her singing is soothing and serenading, and her viewers love hearing her covers of their favourite songs.
Although she does not always do music streams, Denise will also sing during other streams such as when she is playing games. Watching her focus on singing and playing a game of Tetris at the same time is extremely entertaining and hilarious.
Denise is perhaps one of the fastest-growing streamers in Singapore and is now a full-time streamer. Despite her large following, she is extremely humble and takes time to interact with her chat. Apart from being a great singer, Denise also has a very smooth voice that could narrate audiobooks or read us a bedtime story any day.
Founded in 2017, the Singapore Community Radio (SGCR) has always been a platform for local music. In the midst of the pandemic, SGCR took their initiatives online by live-streaming on Twitch. SGCR hosts various programmes from Tuesday to Saturday with different musicians and creators to give a voice to these creatives and help grow the arts scene in Singapore. Some of their recent features include DJ Itch, Yung Raja, Kim Wong, and A/K/A Sounds.
SGCR is tapping into the huge potential that Twitch holds and using the existing audience on the platform to reach out to people about the arts. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many in the arts industry and forced them to adapt. SGCR is no exception.
There are few or no other initiatives on Twitch quite like them, which truly makes them stand out. The work that they do adds colour to our community and brings vibrancy to a platform that can often feel oversaturated with content centred around gaming. Supporting local creatives has never been more important and SGCR is a great initiative that deserves more love and attention!
For the latest updates on SGCR, including details on their weekly programming, follow their Facebook page here.