The Push to Partner | Interview with PaopuKomi

Raw Interview Audio Between Komi and Myself

Introducing: A PaopuKomi Interview

Everyday, plenty of people declare their start to push to partner. Though what exactly does that push entail for the streamer and their community? So, I reached out to PaupoKomi, one such streamer who recently finished her push to partner, to talk about her stream and what it was like pushing for partner status on Twitch.

Alright, Would You Like to Introduce Yourself?

My name is Komi or PaopuKomi on Twitch. I am a Final Fantasy 14 focused content creator and streamer. But I also do lots of variety games. I like a lot of RPG and JRPG story driven games. So we do some variety about twice a week sometimes.

How Did You Get Into Streaming, About How Long Would You Say You’ve Been at this?

So I used to live in Japan. And me and my friends from back home would hang out with each other on the weekends, because that was the only time our time zones really matched up.

And we would be like, hey we want to play this game together. And I realized that my PlayStation 4 could connect to Twitch. And that I could stream directly from the PlayStation 4, So I would actually play games for my friends back home, and we’d hang out on discord and talk and everything.

And then, I think it was around December 2019 or January 2020, I was playing Nier Automata for one of my friends and other people started watching. And they started typing in chat. And I was like, I don’t have a webcam. I don’t have a microphone. I’m literally just streaming from my PlayStation 4. So I had to get on my phone and type and chat back to these people that I’m just doing this for friends.

But, then one of my friends in Japan was also getting started with her own streaming journey. And I talked to her a bit about it. And then it sounded like something fun. So I was like, okay, why don’t we try actually streaming for an actual audience? And it snowballed from there.

What Has Been Your Favorite Part About Streaming in General? And Your Favorite Part of Building Your Gaming and Discord Community?

Probably just playing games for people and with people. And experiencing games with people. Streaming became something that I would come home from my full time job. And I boot up my stream and people would just come and hang out. And it could have been two people or 20 people just having people to chat with and play games with made it super fun. And that’s still my favorite part.

Now I love starting a game that both myself or my community hasn’t seen before and experiencing it for the first time with each other. Yeah, shared experience is always a good plus, when you’re streaming. 

When You Stream Variety Content, What Kind of Content You Stream or How You Decide What You Stream?’

Well, they used to be games that I wanted to play or stuff that I really enjoyed. I played Kingdom Hearts all the time. I’d play games that I had just gotten because they just came out and I wanted to try them out. Nowadays, I usually let my community pick what I play. I have a channel point redemption, where if you save up enough points, you can redeem a game and so long as I own it, or if it’s something that I can get access to. It’s added to our queue.

We have like seven different variety games in the queue right now. Chat has been picking some long games. So they’re taking a while to get through, but I usually let chat pick because if my community is picking the game for me, my hope is that they’re picking it because they want to see me play it. So, they’ll hopefully watch when I do my variety content.

What Was the Biggest Challenge You Had to Overcome Becoming a Streamer? Do You Stream Full Time?

Yeah, so I work full time and I stream full time. I kind of do 30-35 hours of a job and then I do 30-35 hours of streaming. But actually, I feel like the biggest challenge is probably, and this might sound weird, but probably the whole numbers aspect.

So I feel like there’s kind of this hush hush, like, weird rule that you’re not supposed to talk about your numbers. Which feels weird because every time I talk to my streamer friends about our averages and our numbers and stuff, we’re like, yeah, we wish we could talk about this more openly. So, I don’t know why people don’t just do it. 

But watching your numbers fluctuate as much as they can. And as much as a will sucks sometimes, for lack of a better word, I see it a lot. When I go from, Final Fantasy 14, it’s my main content. It’s where I built most of my community. And the second I switch to something variety, my numbers drop, you see them tank, or if I start with a variety game, I don’t have as many people who come and hang out. 

And like, that’s to be expected. You know, everyone has their free time that they want to spend on something specific. And if you’re not doing something that they want to spend their time on, they’re not going to show up. But, I think one of the biggest or the hardest things to overcome with streaming is really just making sure you have people to talk to and not feeling like you’re just speaking to no one.

So You Recently Did a Donation Drive?  Who was that for? And How Did You Decide to Go About That?

I’m actually doing a huge charity fundraiser this entire month of May for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. And I think the actual planning process of it happened at the very last minute, I knew that I was going to be fundraising for St. Jude’s this month, but when it came to coming up with incentives or milestone goals, I had no idea what I was doing. It was all very last minute. I actually have stuff that I’m ordering now and stuff that’s arriving next week so I can add extra incentives and everything. So it was all very spur of the moment, but, I like doing special events with my community, especially when it comes to raising money for charity.

My community is super awesome about coming together and being super generous and kind when we do events like this, but I also like to do more personal events. I think hosting things like Sub-a-thons or community nights are also really fun. When the participation is there that is.

How Did You Decide What Charity You Do? It Isn’t Always St. Jude, Do You Mix it Up?

I’ve actually been mixing it up last year. In June for Pride Month, we did a month-long charity thing for a charity organization called GLSEN. Which was a whole LGBT thing for kids in schools. With me being an educator in my life outside of Twitch, the charity itself just had a really big personal meaning for me, so that’s why we pick them.

Then in January, I did a charity thing for a local charity that provided health care for those on the streets. And it was local, but you know, we still had a lot of generous donations, especially for it being a little more close to home and personal. But I guess those kinds of things influenced me. St. Jude is one of my favorite charity organizations, so like, doing this has been super fun.

But I just kind of do my research, look at different charities and what they raise money for. And if I look at one and I go yeah, that’s pretty neat. I’d like to raise money for them. We’ll just set something up.

So You’ve Recently Made Your Push to Partner on Twitch. What Was That Process Like for You? What Made You Decide to Want to Push for Partner?

Hmm. Well, this is where things get kind of like where everyone’s situation is different. Yeah, once I had made affiliate, I was still living in Japan. I stream during weird, degenerate gaming hours for the people in North America, and all my friends back home. And I happened to catch a really lucky break with a really large raid from a streamer friend. Now, he’s been super supportive of my whole streaming career, found me by chance, sent his community to me. I got bombarded with follows and hellos and people were like, cool, we like this girl’s content. And from there, I kind of wormed my way to be a part of his community. And through that I met like a bunch of other people within the Final Fantasy 14 community, and networked with a bunch of them,

I made a lot of new viewers, I met a lot of new people, I met some awesome streamers, we became friends. And right before I moved back to the States, I realized my averages were going up. It wasn’t until we were starting to  slowly climb up steadily that I was like, yo, we could maybe push for partners.

So, I started trying to work really hard just to get my averages up, and they kept going up and up,  And it was really cool to see this happening. Then I moved back to the states last August, and took like two weeks off for my move to get everything set up. And I started streaming again, and my schedule did such a big 180, my average dropped from 71 viewers back down to like, 25.

It was just a big like, epiphany moment of, Okay, what happened? I still wanted to be partners and still wanted to push towards it. And I was like, you know what, we’ll recover from this. We’ll rebuild from the ground back up. And, you know, I just continued to do the same thing I networked with streamers. I hung out with people who were in my new time zone. I did collab events or, you know, raided into new communities. And then we would network with each other. Things like that. 

I feel like when it comes to the push for partner, a part of it is yourself, your content and your personality and your attitude towards streaming. But there’s a little part of it. That’s also luck and hope that you get those big raids that have a whole bunch of new people coming in to meet you and see who you are.

So yeah, it’s been a struggle, especially the last five average viewers. When you get to like 70 on your average, it feels like those last five average viewers to be able to apply, take an eternity.

For Those That Don’t Know, Could You Go Over the Requirements You Have to Hit to Actually Make Partner.

The hardest one is your average viewership. So you need an average of 75 viewers to be able to apply for partner. You also have to stream a certain number of days, I think it’s 12 days, and you have to stream for like 25 hours. Those are the easy ones. Anyone can stream probably 12 days out of a month for at least 25 hours. It’s the average viewership. That’s like the hardest part. You can ask anyone that and they’d probably all say the same thing.

But that 75 average, what twitch doesn’t like to tell you? Is anyone who raids into your channel or hosts your channel, those viewers don’t count as the “unique viewership” that you need to be able to apply for partner. They count as Raiders or Hosters. And it’s a process that twitch has, I assume, to make sure people don’t abuse the average system and have people just constantly raid them and boost their numbers.

But basically, when someone comes over to your channel, their URL has this little thing on the top, and it’ll say twitch.tv, slash your username, then there also be this thing that says referral rate equals something like there’s something added on the end of the URL. So long as that is there, that viewer doesn’t count towards your 75 average. People might notice that when you look at your channel analytics, it’ll tell you your average for the last 30 days. But if you go on your path to partner, that number is probably going to be slightly lower, because your channel analytics just counts all your viewers, regardless of where they came from or how they showed up in your stream. Your partner page only counts your unique viewership. 

So, you’ll see a lot of streamers when they get raided imploring people to refresh the page and remove the referral link. Do whatever they can so that they can count as that unique viewer. This is hard when you consider lurkers, who might leave a tab open to support a stream, that aren’t there to refresh their page. So those viewers just don’t count on the current set-up.

Has Becoming Partner Impacted Your Stream Significantly One Way or the Other?

Yes, and no. Feel like my average viewership has actually gone down a little bit. There are a lot of people who are really supportive of people who push for partner. People who will show up and there’ll be that viewer to help you get your average up. And then we notice Oh, we got partnered, and now our numbers have dropped, and less people are suddenly coming by. And it’s an interesting experience. Not that I feel bad about it, I’ve pushed so hard to be partnered. And like, I feel like I’ve kind of relaxed now.

I’ve been okay with doing more variety content than just focusing on Final Fantasy. I’ve been okay with just taking extra days off. My schedule for the entire month of May is wild with the amount of days I’m actually taking off for myself. But on the flip side, now that I’m a partner, I get to bump up the quality of my stream. I got to try and make the quality that I produce better because I have access to all the different quality settings as a partner. They’re guaranteed. So like, I always dreamed at 720 and would hope that I’d get the lower trans code tables. And if I did great and  if I didn’t, Oh, well. But now that I’m a partner, I’m guaranteed all those lower ones. I was able to bump up to 1080p, which has been kind of nice.

So for People That Might Want to Make the Push to Partner Themselves, Do You Have Any Advice That Might Help Them?

Honestly, the one thing I would say is if you have a sort of  niche that you can find, that’s always great. I always hate saying this, but I feel like there’s a semblance of truth to it. With variety streaming, sometimes it’s really hard to grow your numbers because people will more often than not show up for a game. And that sounds really bad to say, I guess when I think about it, but like when I play Final Fantasy 14 I have more viewers because people know me for that content. I stream it the most frequently, and the most consistently. 

But like, lately, I’ve been streaming the new Neir game, and people don’t show up because they either don’t want spoilers or don’t care about it as much, or it’s not the content they want to watch. When I first started and did variety streaming, my numbers were super all over the place. Because I’d play a game where people were like, Okay, cool, we want to watch this and then I’d play another game and it would be like a whole different group of people. So, if there’s a certain  niche that you can find yourself in, network with the people in that category. Get to meet other streamers, raid into other channels. I can’t stress how much of an impact raiding other communities when you finish streaming can actually help you. 

I’m not saying that every streamer will do this, but when you raid other communities, sometimes streamers are like, yo, thanks for the raid.  Here chat, go check out this person. And you’ll get like a shout out sometimes. And if people are like, oh, hey, that sounds pretty neat. Maybe they’ll go follow your channel. And then the next time they see you live, they’ll show up. I feel like that networking part with other streamers is really important. It’s not a race. You know, it’s not a rush to be partnered before someone else. It’s not you versus them. You know? Some people are like, Oh, well, this streamer has more viewers than me. So I don’t want to talk with them because they’re more popular than me. I know, but network with people and get to know people. You know. I feel like that’s actually super helpful.

Before We Go; For Anyone Interested in Getting Into Streaming in General, Do You Have Any Specific Advice for Them?

Just start doing it. It’s weirdly simple. I started streaming from my PlayStation 4. I didn’t even have a streaming setup. I streamed from my laptop, there was like a 22 second delay between the gameplay and what chat was seeing. But like, it was still fun, you know? I feel like just taking that first step is all you really need to do and you can always build from there. 

I didn’t start with a webcam. I didn’t start with a microphone. All that came later on, you know. It was literally just streaming a game to Twitch and then I played the game. And then when I finished I just stopped streaming it. But yeah, literally just not being afraid to just hit the go live button. Not getting discouraged when in your first couple streams, you only have view bots in your chat because no one knows who you are yet. And like I said, you know, you could have no one watching. You can have one or two viewers but try raiding into another channel when you finish. That’s probably the other thing I would say for anyone getting interested in streaming. Don’t be afraid to share your community with someone no matter how big or small it is.

Is There Anything You’d Like to Talk About Before We Sign Off?

I think we’ve kind of covered everything. Other than just stressing the whole, don’t get discouraged. Just do what you love. So long as you’re having fun doing it, the people watching you are going to have fun. And I know earlier I said you know, find a niche, put yourself in it. But to kind of contradict that at the same time, make sure it’s something that you enjoy doing. If you need a break from it, take a break from it, you know?

Signing Off

I certainly learned a good deal about what it takes to push for partner on Twitch from this and hope that you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed doing this interview. A big hearty thank you to Komi again for taking the time to sit down with me and talking about her personal experience with getting Partner. If you are looking for someone who puts on a fun stream with a great community than I cannot encourage you all enough to go check out her streams. Also, please take a moment to check out GLSEN, which I will link below, Until the next one, take care everyone and do what you love.

GLSEN | Twitter | Twitch

If you enjoyed this interview piece, why not check out our interview piece with Sean Chiplock, the voice actor behind Revali in Breath of the Wild, about how the pandemic has impacted voice acting here?