“274! Oh my God. » Half-euphoric, half-stunned, the amateur videographer at the controls of the Twitch channel xXen_os counts the people who are watching him play live, Thursday August 4. The young man in his twenties who was then active in video games Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is not used to such an audience: “I have always made five or six viewers [spectateurs], and often friends. So it wasn’t the same. I’m shaking here! » he exclaims in a joking tone.
This anonymous found himself by surprise in the spotlight thanks to PetitStream.com. This site broadcasts live content from French-speaking Twitch channels with fewer than five viewers. For ten minutes, the users of the site (up to 400 or 500 people at the height of the day) arrive, all at the same time, on a channel chosen completely at random. They are invited to watch the channel, to comment on it, to discuss with the videographer, who is generally unaccustomed to arousing so much interest. Before all disappearing at the end of the countdown, collectively zapping towards the next small channel selected by Petit Stream. In short, a 2022 version of the famous “Warholian quarter of an hour”.
The unequal distribution of views on Twitch
The objective of Petit Stream is to encourage these videographers with confidential audiences, while introducing the public to new channels, explains to the World Jean-Philippe, its creator. The idea germinated in the mind of this 33-year-old Twitch fan after reading an article from the World released in 2021 and entitled “In the recesses of Twitch, the world touching spectatorless streamers”. One stat struck him: 95% of streamers produce content for five people or less.
He laments the chasm that separates a gondola-headed minority on the Amazon-owned platform and the invisible majority that powers it. “Some are not lucky enough to be promoted when they are already very professional. They have designed skins and are very comfortable in front of the camera”, details the autoentrepreneur who developed the project in his spare time. A project that he explains does not wish to monetize.
Launched on the sly on July 30 and shared without fanfare on r/france, the main French-language page of the very popular Reddit discussion forum, the site immediately arouses enthusiasm. To the point that, on the Discord online messaging system, the server dedicated to Petit Stream attracts 1,600 people in less than a week.
“What is your favorite salad? »
The dynamism of the fans is obvious in the chat of the Twitch pages displayed on Petit Stream. Asked by curious and enthusiastic spectators, questions to streamers are pouring in: what games do they recommend? How old are they ? Where do they live ? Or, more unexpectedly, “What is your favorite salad? “. A recurring subject, first launched as a joke, which today fuels great discussions.
Spectators are also responsible for explaining to disconcerted streamers what is happening to them. “We come to spend ten minutes with you and we are not robots! » warns a message published on Friday August 5 in the chat. Indeed, some incredulous streamers imagine that the unexpected increase in views is due to “bots” (robots) which generate false views on Twitch, and can be annoyed by them. Sometimes phlegmatic when they try to stay focused despite the influx of spectators, often flabbergasted to be the object of such attention, the streamers (for a large part) are above all always very moved to benefit, even the time of ten minutes , with a popularity usually only enjoyed by their own idols.
And then, at the end of the ten-minute countdown, Petit Stream zaps. That’s the game ! Its audience is then automatically redirected to another account. But these few minutes are enough for some streamers to seduce their short-lived audience, which sometimes lingers or even subscribes. “With luck, I will reach the fifty [abonnés] », hope xXen_os. Mission accomplished at the end of its passage under the spotlights. He is also delighted to see that out of the more than 270 people connected, about sixty have chosen to stay on his channel to listen to him talk about his overflowing passion for Japanese role-playing games.