| Tech trends

Streamer explains: What I learned thanks to Twitch and gaming

| 01 Nov 2023

It was 2015 when she first came across the Twitch streaming platform. Katerina Tuzarova aka OdetteD (29) had been playing computer games since childhood, and her hobby later turned into a part-time job that would provide her with extra income during her university studies. She became one of the top 10 female players of Age of Empires 2, a popular real-time strategy game. Here’s more about her experience.

Even though Katerina is currently taking a break from streaming, as she’s working full-time in a translation agency and her job keeps her very busy, she still follows the trends of the platform and evaluates her seven years of active gaming on Twitch. In a previous article, she shared a few general insights that can help both parents and their kids navigate the platform. The following interview reveals more about her story, including how her parents approached gaming when she was a little kid.

Even though Katerina is currently taking a break from streaming, as she’s working full-time in a translation agency and her job keeps her very busy, she still follows the trends of the platform and evaluates her seven years of active gaming on Twitch. In a previous article, she shared a few general insights that can help both parents and their kids navigate the platform. The following interview reveals more about her story, including how her parents approached gaming when she was a little kid.

Many parents can’t imagine that their kid could end up becoming a professional streamer and earn money playing online games. How did your parents approach this?

Very well, actually. Although I only started streaming as a young adult, I’ve been active in the online world since the early 2000s. My parents have always been very supportive and open-minded about my interests and hobbies. Besides, my dad alongside with my uncle and even my grandpa were the ones who introduced me to the world of video games. My parents also showed me child-friendly websites where I could find some educational content, play games and connect with other children. Both my parents always listened when I talked about gaming and also about the people I met through online games as a young teen.

Of course, they also encouraged me to maintain the right balance between the offline and online life. School and homework were always the priority (laughs). Anyway, as both my Mum and Dad explained the rules patiently and thoroughly, we managed to build a mutual trust regarding my presence and behaviour in the online world. I did not have to hide anything from them, they knew what I was doing online and who I was hanging out with. When I became a streamer, I also opened up to them about some of the challenges that came with it.

Such as? 

Hate speech, for example. As a streamer, you become a part of a great community, or even build a community of your own. However, there are also trolls and haters that may comment on your looks, your voice, your gameplay, your choice of game, the quality of the stream or anything else, really, in order to try to bring you down. I always tried my best to establish rules around my channel, make my values clear and encourage empathy, tolerance, mutual understanding and an open mind in my viewers. When people in the chat or even in game purposely went against these rules, it would sometimes make me upset.

My parents and friends have always been very caring, and they always let me share my experiences and vent to them. Sometimes, they even joined some of my broadcasts as viewers and cheered for me in the chat. It was so cute! It’s also important to realise that what these trolls and haters crave is a response, so it’s just best to ignore them or ban them right away. This doesn’t apply to Twitch exclusively, but also to any other platform or social media. 

Read more about the positive sides of gaming.

When sharing your insights about Twitch, you mentioned that when one becomes a professional streamer good marketing is a must, as is actively taking care of the community. How did you make your channel attractive to viewers?

For example, I hired a digital artist who created a set of emojis that were personally designed for my channel and me. I’m a huge fan of pandas and so they became a part of my brand. The artist designed funny panda faces that were only available to my subscribers. Once a viewer subscribed, they got this premium asset and could use the emojis in all Twitch chats, as well as on Discord which is a popular chatting platform where the community connects outside of the Twitch chat.

I invested into a good setup, such as a webcam, a professional mic and even a ring light, I made the channel background appealing, and I focused on delivering high quality content. To be a successful streamer, you must be consistent, share your plans and make sure your fans can find you online at times you’d promised. Some channels become popular because the streamer’s personality is appealing and inspiring, and they don’t even have to be excellent gamers.

So apart from live streaming Age of Empires 2, did you also create other content?

Yes, I did a few cooking streams, I streamed from the city and I also did some charity streams; for example, I was raising money for an NGO that would pay therapy for those who couldn’t afford it, while raising awareness about the topic of mental health and wellbeing. I also recorded and edited video tutorials for Age of Empires 2 gameplay and uploaded them to YouTube. A lot of people, including parents, think that Twitch is all about games. Even though the gaming channels get the most views, there are many educational channels too. For example, the recently elected Czech president was interviewed and played a game with a popular Czech streamer on Twitch. There are talk-shows, stand-up comedies or fairy-tale readings, too. I advise parents to explore the various Twitch categories and channels together with their kids and approach it in the same way as watching a football game together, for example. 

Chess is also streamed on Twitch…

That’s right, the content is really varied. It’s not just all about shooting games and FIFA. The gaming industry, including streaming, has been growing rapidly and offers a lot of opportunity. It can help a person develop their skills, social and otherwise, such as helping children find new friends and learn or practice languages… the community can even start meeting in person, just like mine.

We would meet at tournaments all over the world, and till today we are in touch, even though I’ve stopped streaming. The community I am a part of is very international and allows me to practice languages all the time – apart from English, which was my primary streaming language, I also got to practice my German, and even Chinese which I studied at university.

As you continued streaming, your fans started supporting you financially. Do you remember when you got your first donation?

In general, my fans supported me either through one-time donations or by becoming subscribers, meaning they paid for a monthly subscription that I got a share from. While I don’t remember my first ever donation, I do remember the first significant amount I received; it was just around Christmas in 2017 and one of my very generous fans donated 500 dollars during one of my streams. My mom was visiting me at the time and appeared on my stream, too, and it was just surreal. Anyway, streaming never really turned into my full-time job. I just earned some extra money while working on my university degree.

Why do you think people like watching others stream content?

I think it’s similar to why people enjoy watching soccer and other sports. On Twitch, they can also connect with other fans of the game, but above all they have the chance to interact with the streamer, especially on smaller channels. Seeing your idol live interacting with the audience is exciting; they may read out loud and respond to a message you sent to the chat. You may even have the chance to play together. Of course, there are many downsides to interactions on Twitch too, parasocial relationships and toxic celebrity fascinations can occur, as well as cyberbullying and hate speech. Usually, it’s these negative aspects that get stressed, and the advantages of streaming platforms tend to get less discussion.

How to handle cyberbullying? Read more.

In 2020, you were invited to cast a tournament in a professional studio in Prague. It was the finals of the Czech and Slovak Age of Empires II league, and you provided live commentary on the games. What did that experience teach you?

It was a great chance to practice public speaking. I’ve always loved to share my know-how and teach others, and doing live game and tournament commentary took my expertise to a whole new level. Such memories and experiences actually give me motivation to start streaming again. Once I am less busy with my full-time job and other responsibilities, I guess I’ll be right back at it!

Do you want your kids to use Twitch responsibly? Find inspiration in the general insights about the platform.

About OdetteD (Katerina Tuzarova)

Katerina first came across Twitch in 2015, at the age of 22. “Back then, I would play Age of Empires II online and some of my friends were already streaming the game. Until that time, I had no idea that something like Twitch existed. But as soon as I started watching my friends’ channels, I knew this would be a great place to have fun while developing my gaming skills,” remembers the streamer. Later, she turned from viewing to streaming, and specialising in Age of Empires II she grew a community around her channel. Soon, the hobby turned into a part-time job that would let her make some extra money while studying Sinology.

Her 16k followers were supporting her channel through donations and the number of the channel’s monthly subscribers likewise grew. In 2017 She and other successful streamers from the whole world were invited to Canada to collaborate with Microsoft and take part in developing a new addition to the popular real-time strategy series Age of Empires IV,. In 2021, she promoted Age of Empires IV after its release in collaboration with Xbox CZ. After finishing her studies, Katerina started working full-time as a project manager at a translation and language services company. “As I’ve been busy with my job, I took a break from streaming. But I guess that I’ll be back live soon!” laughs the young lady.


ESET Parental Control for Android ESET Parental Control for Android

Make the internet safer for your children

With ESET Parental Control for Android


Monthly newsletter