Case Study: No Man’s Fri

Podcast veteran Ricky Alvarez created a unique, weekly video game stream which featured the much-hyped “No Man’s Sky”. I assisted with the creation of his digital brand and social media presence.

Promotional artwork for No Man’s Fri.

The Game

No Man’s Sky from Hello Games boasts an unprecedented and expansive Universe for players to explore and interact with. With over 18 quintillion planets, each player encounters unique wildlife and experiences!

No Man’s Sky creator Sean Murray demonstrates an early version of the game to Stephen Colbert.

The Stream

After co-hosting 100 episodes of the weekly podcast Redditor Radio, Ricky Alvarez decided that it was time to begin a new project. This venture would combine three of his biggest passions; broadcasting, gaming, and space travel.

No Man’s Sky was particularly exciting for Ricky, as he had spent his childhood in Florida where the nearby NASA facility sparked his fascination with space exploration. Ricky wanted to share his unique experiences, knowledge, and opinions with the rest of the gaming community!


The Tools

  • Twitch: More than 45 million gamers gather every month on Twitch to broadcast, watch and chat about gaming. Ricky used Twitch to broadcast his gameplay each Friday night.
Ricky shares a peek at his studio and some of his streaming gear
  • Tumblr: The blogging website Tumblr, allows a user a great deal of flexibility to customize their “theme”. In our case, Tumblr also acts as an inexpensive Content Management System (CMS) that experienced and inexperienced web developers can utilize to create and share content.
  • Twitter: The social network was our primary means of networking, sharing content, and creating interest in the stream.

The Visuals

The visuals were intended to make a clear connection to No Man’s Sky, while also expressing the unique vantage point and personality that Ricky would bring to his stream. The stream was scheduled for Friday evenings, hence the name “No Man’s Fri”.

Prior to the release of No Man’s Sky, rumors swirled about the game, but one of the primary visuals shared by Hello Games included a diamond-shaped, pulsating object. Many assumed that this object was part of an advanced technology that was central to the game.

Advanced space station technology featured in No Man’s Sky.

By contrast, Ricky’s low-cost, one man stream would utilize some makeshift technology and would feature Ricky’s striking sense of humor. The website featured a caricature of Ricky using some very simple technology; a kite, resembling the diamond-shaped object seen in the No Man’s Sky art. This should instantly give viewers the idea that the stream will offer some humor and an upstart approach to streaming.

Ricky with his low-tech version of the “Atlas” Space Station

The Launch

Although Ricky had built an audience during his time working on a podcast, not all of those listeners may be interested in viewing a live video gameplay. Starting at zero, we sought to build an audience within 90 days.

The Plan

  • Reach out to fans of Redditor Radio.
  • Reach out to people discussing No Man’s Sky, Twitch users and other gamers.
  • Cultivate relationships with other streamers.
  • Share latest No Man’s Sky news along with our own unique content.

The Goal

  • 100 Twitter followers every 30 days for three months.
  • Invite viewers to view live streaming broadcast and actively participate via chat.
  • Share highlights of show to create interest in the live broadcast and weekly replays.

The Execution

  • Countdown: We hoped to create a bit of hype with a daily countdown leading to the first broadcast.
Counting down the days until the first broadcast!
  • Live tweet: During each show, I would provide live commentary on Twitter. I would often address specific followers and try to get them to join the stream. Tweets typically included GIFs or screenshots of the gameplay.
  • Highlights: Each week, we chose some highlights (video and still images) from the most recent stream and shared on Twitter. We hoped that this would bring traffic to the live stream and replay content.
  • Host other streams: Ricky was only broadcasting one hour a week. In the many hours where No Man’s Fri wasn’t streaming, we would “host” the broadcast of other Twitch users. We focused mostly on those playing No Man’s Sky. These players were frequently grateful and would thank Ricky with a shout out.
Hosting EverythingsShiny’s stream
  • Utilize bots: A bot is software that controls a Twitter account via the Twitter API. The bot software may autonomously perform actions. There are bots that will automatically retweet your content to their audience if you use a certain hashtag or mention them. In our case, tweets that leveraged the help of bots received far more impressions.
With the help of bots, this tweet earned over 2,000 impressions.
  • Sister show: Ricky teamed up with his friend Ryland to create a “sister show” that streamed on Tuesdays. The show encouraged some not-so-friendly competition between the two gamers.
  • Extra Life 2016: Ricky participated in Extra Life 2016 to raise money for a children’s charity. We prepared short video content to promote Ricky’s participation. Ricky surpassed his fundraising goal!
Ricky explains “Extra Life”

Challenges

Of course, the stream was not without it’s challenges.

  • Overall, the game was not well received. There was backlash from disappointed gamers and even some legal action against Hello Games.
This long video examines some of No Man’s Sky’s shortcomings.
  • I can personally confirm that it’s a lot of fun to play video games with Ricky. The solo show didn’t utilize one of his great talents, which is interactions with other gamers.
Ricky’s stunning overtime victory in NHL ‘94.
  • Boring aspects of game, including a lot of mining and inventory management. Ricky did his best to make these tasks interesting.
Mining with some 90’s icons.

Conclusion

In February, Ricky decided to bring an end to the stream. Although the stream was somewhat short-lived, I think we both learned a lot about building an audience on a budget!

Ricky agrees.

Check out Ricky’s latest streaming project!

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