Playing games both on and off-stream with viewers is a personal decision. Depending on the circumstances and how you approach it, this can be rewarding or very taxing. Let’s go through a few scenarios where playing games with your viewers can help grow your channel. Also, how it can possibly hurt your channel.
When playing with viewers can hurt your channel
Some streamers will let viewers play with them live. A big way this can hurt you is when you have someone on voice chat, that degrades the quality of your stream. It’s good to keep in mind that if you’re experiencing poor quality from their microphone, the people in your channel are experiencing the same poor quality. At that point, you have a couple of choices. You can decide not to play with that person (I know, harsh). Alternatively, you can split your audio so you can hear your discord voice chat, but your audience cannot. That way all parties can feel good about the experience.
Be careful about growing a stream that focuses too much on playing games with viewers
One issue that comes up when playing games with viewers is that it becomes an accidental cornerstone of your channel. If you simply do it to get people to stick around, they will abandon the channel when you don’t play with them. To combat this, it’s a good idea to let them hang around the channel for a little while before hopping into a live game with them. It’s also good to play with them offline so you can get a sense of how your personalities mix.
Turning a viewer into a friend
The good thing about having friends on Twitch is that friends want to see you succeed. People who are friends with each other are more supportive of your streams and come and hang out more often. Twitch and other streaming platforms are primarily about gaming entertainment, so you already have something in common with your viewers. If you have a discord, this is the perfect opportunity to hop into the voice channel with them and play off-stream. This is a more relaxed atmosphere where you can get to know people without the distraction or pressure of interacting with a chat.
In the end, it’s a choice you have to make based on what fits your personality and goals of your stream. The most important thing is that you’re having fun playing games, on and off stream.