Welcome to Streamers on the Rise, where we find streamers who are growing their channels, content, and audiences in extraordinary ways. Each week we’ll talk with a creator about what goes into livestreaming–both on and off camera.
When DrGluon first joined Twitch nine years ago, he had no idea what to do.
“I didn’t come in knowing anybody on the platform, really, so I really started brand new,” he says. “Clicked ‘Go live’ and streamed to nobody for quite a while.”
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In that way, he’s similar to a lot of our other Streamers on the Rise featurees, many of whom got their Twitch start much later than he did. Twitch has always struggled when it comes to creator discoverability, so DrGluon, like thousands of other streamers, had to figure out how to independently bring people to his stream.
For him, the formula was YouTube + The Sims + one very classy hat.
Nine years ago, Twitch was far more gaming-heavy than it is today. It also had a user base that trended toward specific types of games–usually fast-paced, combat-based titles like League of Legends. But DrGluon liked a different game: The Sims.
The Sims 4 came out in 2014, just after DrGluon started streaming. At the time, he was playing the ever-popular Minecraft, but he’d always liked The Sims. Still, he knew switching games could cause some of his small but growing audience to move on to another stream, so he asked his chat if they’d dig some Sims gameplay.
“They were like, ‘Yes, go for it,'” he says.
From then on, The Sims became DrGluon’s main fare. He saw a viewership for the game building up on YouTube, and encouraged some of those creators to join him on Twitch. He also began posting Sims content from his Twitch streams on YouTube, and eventually began outright recording full YouTube videos while live on stream. YouTube–and its crowd of Sims enthusiasts–has been instrumental in pushing DrGluon up over 100,000 followers on Twitch.
“I see a lot of people coming through. I see a lot of first-time chatters literally say, ‘I finally made it to a livestream,'” he says. “That just tells me they’ve been watching me on YouTube, and they’re like, ‘I should check this guy out on Twitch,’ and then that’s the day they decide to do it.”
We’ll let him tell you all about it (and the classy hat) below.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Tubefilter: Tell me about you! Where are you from and how you ended up on Twitch?
DrGluon: Where I’m from, I grew up in England, and then my family ended up moving out to America. Been living here for probably about 20 years. I’ve always liked making people laugh and entertaining. Twitch was new at the time and it’s something that I really wanted to get into. I thought it’d be fun. I’m not really super technical, so that was really a barrier, I guess, for me, but once I realized how easy it was to do it through a friend of mine who just said, “You just download OBS and click go.” I did it, and I’ve been doing it almost–it’s nine years now, 10 years next February.
Tubefilter: What originally sparked your interest in Twitch? Twitch would have been quite young when you first got on it, then.
DrGluon: Yes, it was maybe two years old when I got on it? I studied animation in school, and I’ve always had that showmanship, I guess, so just felt like a good fit. I was very good at improv, so just seemed like a fun way to be very creative as far as my art style. I brought a lot of that into my stream.
Tubefilter: How has your stream and your audience grown in the past 10 years?
DrGluon: I guess when I just started, I didn’t come in knowing anybody on the platform, really, so I really started brand new. Clicked “Go Live” and streamed to nobody for quite a while. Just figured out what I like to play and what people liked to see me play.
I started in 2014. A game called The Sims 4 came out later that year. I had always enjoyed that franchise. At the time, I was playing Minecraft or whatever, and I was saying like, “Oh, I might play this game. This seems like a fun game to play.” They were like, “Yes, go for it.” I started playing The Sims 4 and was pretty small on Twitch. The Sims franchise has done really well on YouTube, but as far as on Twitch, at that time, the big games were League of Legends and Hearthstone. The Sims, no, it wasn’t really a big thing, but I saw the potential.
The peeps that work on The Sims, obviously, they like to check out who’s playing it, and Twitch was a thing, so they would come over to Twitch and they would see me playing it, and they would get a kick out of me doing my thing, I’m being silly or whatever. They ended up inviting me over to their headquarters, and I met other people who played The Sims. I got a lot of opportunities through that for collaboration down the road. Just having friends and the insider and early access stuff was really helpful for bringing more people in.
Then I think as Twitch went on, because I knew a lot of these other creators that were on YouTube, I was like, “Hey, you should come over to Twitch because The Sims I think will do very well on Twitch.” I convinced a lot of them–as well, Twitch was also talking to them. I was like, “Hey, let’s bring these people over.” As they came over and brought their audiences over as well, it really also just helped elevate me because then these people are now checking out other people playing The Sims on the platform. The whole Sims thing really took off from there.
Tubefilter: How did you come up with your name? Where did the fez come in? How did this whole persona come together?
DrGluon: It’s like a evolution. It wasn’t like I said, “This is what I’m going to do.” That’s why I also tell people who want to start streaming, it’s like, “Oh, I want to come up with this great name and this whole thing.” It’s like, just do it and then it’ll evolve over time. The name is actually funny because I had a different name on Twitch, and this is before I started streaming. I knew a guy from Steam and he told me to come watch his stream. He was brand new. He was like, “Hey, come watch me on Twitch. I’m streaming now.” This was before I started streaming. My name on my Steam was different from my name on my Twitch. He was like, “You’re going to have to change that because I only know you as DrGluon.” I ended making a new account called DrGluon just so it matched up with my Steam name.
Tubefilter: So it’s his fault.
DrGluon: It’s his fault. Actually, it’s his fault that I started streaming, too, because I was like, “Hey, how are you doing this?” He’s like, “Just download OBS. It’s really easy.” I’m like, “Okay.” That night, I started streaming.
Tubefilter: Okay, I’m writing this down. He’s to blame. Got it.
DrGluon: [laughs] He is to blame for the name, and also the reason why I started streaming.
Tubefilter: But not the fez?
DrGluon: I’m a big fan of Tommy Cooper, who was a British comedian, and Doctor Who. I just also wanted to have some way to stand out in the crowd. I’ve always been a comedic streamer, but it’s really hard to convey that in the few seconds that someone might give you to click on my stream. It’s like if I have the fez on, “Oh, this guy seems funny just because of the hat.” That was the idea then and it just became my brand.
I think there was a talk at TwitchCon one year. I think Felicia Day said it. She said lean into it. Whatever your thing is, lean into it. That’s what I did. I leaned into the whole fez thing and then we made it my alerts, header, all of it, and just became my brand kind of thing.
Tubefilter: This is your full-time thing, right?
Tubefilter: What’s your current stream schedule like?
DrGluon: I stream from about nine o’clock Eastern, and I go for about six or seven hours, and then I will pretty much get off and then edit after that.
Tubefilter: What’s your balance of making stuff across social platforms? Do you still make things for YouTube? Are you on any other platforms?
DrGluon: Yes. I have two YouTube channels. I have one that’s primarily just Sims stuff. Then another one is called The Gist of It where I will play a game enough to get the general gist of a game. It’s great because I love playing new games. My audience knows I never finish a game. It’s like, hey, this is a great excuse to just play a bunch of random games.
Basically, all my content that I create for YouTube, it’s all done live on Twitch. I say that to my audiences, the people watching me live is the live studio audience. They get to see the whole thing unedited, they heckle me and whatever, and also help me because if I don’t know what I’m doing. Then that all gets edited down into a YouTube video that doesn’t feel like this is a livestream. This feels like a video that I can watch. I might not even know he streamed this. It’s basically a video for YouTube.
Tubefilter: That’s really interesting, recording YouTube content while live on Twitch.
DrGluon: It’s easy for The Sims because the content is my own. I’m using The Sims as a canvas, and I’m creating stories or challenges that I can then make the episodes where if you play, I don’t know, Tears of the Kingdom, and that’s your let’s play, your let’s play is going to be somewhat different, but it’s generally going to be the same as everybody else’s because it’s the same game. Where The Sims, I am creating characters, locations, all these things that will be completely different from anyone else playing The Sims because it’s on my own.
Tubefilter: Totally. There’s that element of storytelling to it. Do you have anybody working with you behind the scenes? Do you work with an editor at all or is this all your own?
DrGluon: I do have a few editors, yes. I have editors for my Sims channel because it’s a bit bigger and it can financially support editors. The Gist of It channel is smaller, so I have to just do it on my own. I wouldn’t be able to do it all on my own.
Tubefilter: I was going to say, a lot of people try.
DrGluon: It’s difficult. You get burned out real fast.
Tubefilter: Yeah, people have to take care of themselves first. How would you describe your audience, your core group of people in your chat? What’s their vibe?
DrGluon: I think they’re great. I think they’re mostly in on the joke. They understand my vibe and they understand that I’m basically recording for YouTube, whatever. I’m not the greatest pro gamer or whatever, so they make fun of me a little bit on that, and that’s just totally fine. There’s a little heckling and just silliness, and everyone understands that the tone is comedic.
Honestly, they contribute a lot. They’ll say something that I thought was really funny, and then I’ll just say it. That’s really helpful as well. They’re great, honestly. Very, very supportive. So supportive. We would do charity streams. I’m always blown away by just how amazingly supportive the community is. They always come through tenfold. They’re so amazing.
Tubefilter: What are the main charities that you’ve supported?
DrGluon: I’ve done a bunch of them. Just people come out and they reach out to me and say, “Hey, we’d love to do a charity stream with you,” and I’m like, “Yes, I’d love to do that.” Just a bunch of them. We did an American Heart Association charity stream recently. That was really great. Pretty much, I just do a bunch really, just all over the place.
Tubefilter: Twitch has such a role in charity. YouTubers do a lot of charity raising too, obviously, but I feel like Twitch is a really special place for it.
DrGluon: Yes, especially because you could bring your own story into it, experiences like, “Hey, this happened to me and this really sucks.” If you’re able to give, that’s amazing. If not, then just being here and supportive is really great too.
Tubefilter: This is a broad question, but how has being on Twitch changed your life?
DrGluon: It’s destroyed my sleep schedule.
DrGluon: I sleep during the day. This [3 p.m.] is early for me now because I would be waking up around now.
Tubefilter: So you’ve disrupted your sleep schedule.
DrGluon: Pretty much, yes. Well, I sleep when my family’s at school and working. I wake up when they get home. As for how it’s changed my life, it’s great to be able to use my creativity in this way, and I wouldn’t want any other way. We just launched a new merch line recently, and that was awesome working on that. I wouldn’t want to do anything else, basically.
Tubefilter: When you started out, did you ever think that this could be a career? Where was the point where you went full-time and you were like, “Oh, this is going to be a thing?”
DrGluon: I was always full-time because I was a freelance artist, so I was working when there was work to be done, and it was a dry period, I wasn’t getting anything. My wife was working. She’s a teacher. She was able to support the family. Pretty much when I was just like, “Hey, I’m here. I’m just going to stream,” and so I did. I did for the hours I could do. I was always full-time, but then there was a click where it’s like, “Oh, actually I’m able to support the family now.”
Tubefilter: Do you remember, was there a specific income per month or a specific follower account? How did you hit that point?
DrGluon: Just like, “Oh, we’re not struggling as much anymore.” It wasn’t a certain time because we were like, “How many groceries can we buy this month?” kind of thing. I was like, “Okay, we seem okay.” It wasn’t a click, but it was more of like a slow transition.
When I started streaming, obviously, I wasn’t partnered, but back then there was no affiliate. It was like you were partnered or you weren’t, and it took me about three years to become a partner. The month after I became a partner, that’s when they released the affiliate program. [laughs] That absolutely helped with that whole thing. I think after that happened it was like, “Okay, you can be a bit more comfortable now.”
Tubefilter: I always like to ask that question because the split seems to be between people who just quit their jobs and went for it, and then the other half is people that are very very cautious and do everything by specific numbers.
DrGluon: Yes, definitely. I remember my dad was like, “When are you going to realize this is not working?” I’m like, “I think it’s going to work.”
Tubefilter: It’s working! Do you find the majority of your income is coming from YouTube or Twitch or merchandise? Or some other avenue?
Tubefilter: It’s Twitch?
DrGluon: Yes, for sure.
Tubefilter: Okay, then follow-up, do you feel like your audience growth is happening organically on Twitch, or is that coming from YouTube?
DrGluon: I would say it mostly comes from YouTube. I see a lot of people coming through. I see a lot of first-time chatters literally say, “I finally made it to a livestream.” That just tells me they’ve been watching me on YouTube, and they’re like, “I should check this guy out on Twitch,” and then that’s the day they decide to do it. A lot of those first-time chatters, that is what they say. I think they’re mostly coming. They are obviously things go on that help push my follow account up. We just recently hit 100,000 followers on Twitch. That was really great.
Tubefilter: That’s awesome. Congrats. And what you said is in line with what I’ve heard before. A lot of people say that most of their growth comes from outside of Twitch. Specifically when they put their Twitch clips on YouTube or TikTok, that brings people in.
DrGluon: Yes, I’ve been doing the TikTok. I haven’t had too much success over there yet, but I keep trying.
Tubefilter: It’s a tricky platform. You mentioned you had a merch line come out recently. Are you working on any other cool projects? Do you have any other plans for this year?
DrGluon: I’m always doing stuff for The Sims, just wacky stuff. There’s a multiplayer mod for The Sims 4. I basically built Candy Land in The Sims, and then I’m going to have all my friends come over in the game, and we’re going to roll the dice and actually move our characters up the Candy Land board.
Tubefilter Very cool.
DrGluon: I’m always doing stuff like that, just to keep things fun and fresh with The Sims, because that’s my core thing people like to watch.
Tubefilter: Is there anything else you would want readers to know about you?
DrGluon: If people enjoy watching creative games with a funny twist on them, then they should come on by and check me out. I’m very lighthearted and fun and I think they’d really enjoy it.