To stream on Steam or not to stream? That is the question posed on Twitter by Mike Rose of No More Robots.

Lots of devs seem to be including streams on Steam pages in their marketing campaigns. This is despite the fact that there’s hardly ever been any substantial extra traffic from streams. The general consensus is that “it helps at times you are likely to have high traffic. I.e. during publisher sales and launches.”

Typically, developers use live streams or prerecorded streams 24/7 around launch or update releases to improve visibility via Steam’s algorithms.

Erik Johnson, one of the developers of Life Goes On: Done to Death, explains: “If a game can crack the top 6 in viewers, then showing up on the front page gives a lot of visibility that can be otherwise hard to get.” So with viewership numbers high enough, streaming might be a way to promote a game on the front page.

Gergo Vas, PR manager at Hungary’s NeocoreGames, adds that for streams to have any effect, they should last at least 4-5 hours.

Others believe streaming on Steam doesn’t make the traffic grow, but leads to better conversion. Still others, like developers at EXOR Studios, just use streams to give a talking point to their Discord community.

However, as Mike Rose points out, whatever positive impact of streaming developers report, it’s usually when sales are higher anyway because it’s around launch day or some other key dates. Or when the game is on sale. So it’s difficult to see if it’s streaming specifically that drives sales vs other things that studios are doing to promote the game.

What folks at No More Robots are going to do is try streaming their upcoming title Yes, Your Grace on random days and see whether it has any positive impact on wishlists. We’ll let you know how this pans out.