Chris 'ChanManV' Chan doesn't consider himself a streamer. He looks at Twitch as a platform that brings his content, a variety of esports shows and a streaming game show, to the masses of viewers that he's built up over his career.
"Streaming is just a delivery mechanism, it's not the content," Chan tells me. "Streamer showdown is actually more popular as a VOD on YouTube after we broadcast it anyway."
Chan is the creator, producer, and hosts of a number of esport centric shows like Value Town and The Overview that cover timely topics in the competitive Hearthstone and Overwatch communities. He's created and been a part of a number of shows over the past six years, including Pro Corner, where competitive StarCraft 2 players would coach him on stream, and Unfiltered where he and his co-hosts would talk about the business side of esports.
He's also the creator of Streamer Showdown, a live game show in which different streamers come together to answer trivia questions and compete in various games. It's lighthearted entertainment that usually focuses on topics like Overwatch, League of Legends, and Hearthstone, although show topics can go outside gaming. He's had a number of famous streamers, as well as juggernauts in the gaming community like Overwatch lead designer Jeff Kaplan, join for an episode.
On YouTube, Streamer Showdown takes in hundreds of thousands of views per episode, its mixed genre format making it easily digestible by gamers and non-gamers alike.
The content Chan produces is unique, as there aren't a lot of shows like his on Twitch, as the format isn't as welcoming to viewers and sponsors. It's part of the reason why he stands out in a sea of streamers that produce the same type of content.
"I had this idea six years ago and it's an amazing idea that nobody did it in the time period," Chan said. "For me, it's a very fun format that brings streamers together. Sponsors understand it, it's that unicorn idea. I could do it on any topic in any community and it would still work."
Chan didn't start Streamer Showdown, or any of his other shows, to become a streamer; he just saw that streaming as an opportunity to start the idea he's always wanted to do. Originally, Chan was just someone who wanted to casually stream his StarCraft 2 matches.
Before he got into StarCraft 2, Chan was a software engineer working at a mobile startup. He was a fan of gaming and competitive play but wasn't a part of it outside of the occasional play session. But after dipping his feet into the game and even competing in the open division to get more of the full experience, Chan found himself immersed in the community.
"I thought it was crazy that people were to get coached by the professional players, but then I opened my eyes when my friend was like 'you pay sixty bucks for golf lessons, how is this different?'" Chan said. "One weekend I just thought, I'm going to figure this streaming thing out since I wanted to stream my coaching sessions."
Chan didn't have any serious plans for a show at first, especially since Ben "MrBitter" Nichol had the show 12 Weeks with the Pros where he had different players come on and help him improve. But eventually, Nichol got hired by VT Gaming and had to stop the show, one of Chan's viewers convinced him to try his own take on the coaching show.
"I started my show called Coaching Corner, eventually renamed to Pro Corner since there was Canadian hockey show called Coaching Corner," Chan said. "I had never done production before, never done content creation before. I gained traction with a good amount of viewers. Eventually, I started another show because esports was starting to grow into itself, there was a lot going on and a lot to talk about."
Chan went on to start a number of other shows with other prominent figures in the StarCraft and greater esports communities. He even tested the waters of professional casting at events but found that career to be too hard on his family. He left the streaming world for a couple months after reevaluating where his life was taking him. He had a hard time returning to the engineering life after getting a taste of his creative passion.
He returned to doing some of his original shows and started a few new ones, including Streamer Showdown. "It's a show that is at the core of my goal to bring people together," Chan said. "My projects bring people together and game shows add in this fun element, there is a lot of different things that are accessible about a game show."
There are currently 30 episodes of Streamer Showdown and there are many more on the way. His projects are a perfect example of succeeding in standing out from all the noise that surrounds Twitch. It might be hard to replicate his success but that doesn't mean that others can't have the same success by following what they love and trying something new.
Chan succeeded in both and created something with his various productions, "it just makes for these golden moments, I do these shows because I want to create entertaining moments," he said. "For streamers it's them, it's their personalities. In my shoes it's about putting people in the position to make those moments."