This is very much like sports - very few make it to the top, and it's kind of subsidised by the ones coming up or just idly watching. Unlike actual sport, the disciplines here change rapidly, in spite of Blizzard's best efforts, World of Warcraft numbers are rapidly dwindling so a WoW start will pretty much have to start from scratch in another game or quit streaming as a career move. Game developers or even petty missteps can have disastrous consequences for streamers. Game developers can, for example ban streaming altogether, or request takedown with their content selectively. This is a 'career' but with no major prospects and if one was to put equivalnet amount of time in another field, say learning how deep learning works, the rewards will be far greater on average. I also think that 'pro' streamers no longer enjoy the games they play for "18 hours a day" and can't afford casual games with the camera turned off. It's a huge 'big brother' in their lives.
No mention of Dr. Disrespect - a Twitch persona who recently won "Streamer of the Year" at the Esports Industry Awards.
Just a passing mention of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, a game which according to some is growing faster than Minecraft did. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) is the most popular streamed game on Twitch right now. The game regularly has over 2,000,000 concurrent players, has sold over 13,000,000 copies, and is still in beta with just one multiplayer map. It has been the most popular game on Steam for a few months. Some digital items obtained from loot crates have sold for over $1,000.
There is a whole ecosystem that has developed underneath the Twitch platform where secondary services help gamers overlay responsive graphics over the video stream as well as take donations. Top PUBG streamers can make well over $1,000 per night in donations on top of their cut of the Twitch subscription fee.
The bit I'd be interested to read about is the psychology behind the "donors." Why would anyone throw down random $100 or $500 without a quid quo pro to someone receiving many other such donations?
I understand streaming, generally, and have paid to subscribe to a channel before but the random throwing around of not insignificant amounts of money gets me scratching my head.
(Should make it clear I'm not criticizing the practice. I just find it interesting, considering how understand the psychology behind it could help creators in other spheres, or open source developers, etc.)
What I think is crazy is that this industry exists at the scale it does. It has replaced reality TV for a segment of the world population. There are legions of people that watch these streams, just to watch someone doing something that they could do themselves (but maybe not win as much). This isn't like F1 racing where I'll never be able to afford a racecar, or football where I don't want to exercise. Most of the kids watching these streams own a decent computer and can play.
I suppose it's just not for me. I watch video game reviews to see if something is worth buying, but not more than a few minutes of gameplay. Plus the other things that streaming groups/houses do aren't appealing to me.
Have I gotten old? Is this why grey haired CEOs often miss great business opportunities? They just don't "get it?"
> Garcia’s specialty is the multiplayer fantasy game World of Warcraft. While he isn’t its best player, he has a knack for talking entertainingly over his play: he is funny, brash, and filled with stories about his delinquent childhood in Newark.
Most, if not all, of the live gameplay videos nowadays mostly tend to be about screaming and raging at the screen with lesser amount of stories. And for some reason people like that a lot.
This along with the slew of Reaction videos where people watch other people watching and reacting to stuff makes me wonder - why are people really interested in someone doing some stuff? Are they so alone that they need some validation or is it more to do with increasing voyeurism nowadays?
I played Counter-Strike competitively (and to the extent it was possible "professionally") about 10 years ago and made some money winning tournaments, but nothing compared to what people are making nowadays. We got our hotel paid for for a few tournaments and that was "making it" back then :) It's fantastic to see the sector grow and I'd love to return to esports/gaming sometime in the future.
Unfortunately, it's not all rainbows and roses, as I think there are some detrimental forces at play which are trying to rip out the grassroots origins of esports and commercialize it to the n-th degree (see Blizzard's Overwatch League). This was attempted before in '07 (see the Championship Gaming Series) and it failed miserably, so we'll see how it does this time around.
The 18-hour days and other working conditions they of the top earners described in the article tell me that a lot of people will age out of their ability to sustain their level of income. It will be an quick transition like sports or porn where you hit a certain age and the dollar value of the level at which you can perform falls off a cliff because you're limited by your body.
I would hope that the pro streamers are planning to use the industry connections they develop for a move into some other part of the video gaming industry around that time.
I think it's just good timing now because we have the tech to do it. The demand was always there.
Back in 1999 and the early 2000s you could make over $100,000 if you won a single Quake 3 tournament.
Live streaming (with professional commentators) was available back then, but there were no platforms for it so it never caught onto the masses. You had to really be in the know to watch them.
But I do remember people being rabid fans and highly engaged back then. Just as much as now, just at a smaller scale.
I made a little bit of money playing competitive Quake 3 and helped develop and run the most popular gaming ladder for a certain mod of that game. Good times.
Interesting read and insight into a subculture I know very little about.
Looks like only a few of them are getting rich, and it isn't without its costs. Working seven days a week as a professional gamer is pretty brutal.
Hmmm... I read this, got distracted, followed links, and bought a game in a Steam sale (Avadon 2 - £2.99).
I think I'm doing it wrong.
Slightly off-topic but now even New Yorker is inserting autoplay videos about completely unrelated topics in the middle of long articles (in my case "Anthony Bourdain on Going from Obama to Trump"). Why would they do such a thing? Are they hoping everyone suddenly develops ADHD?
Primarily you are entertaining, secondarily you are good at video games. There is a narrative pattern that you must be a master of to get any kind of interest on Twitch. It is a unique artform in and of itself.
From reading the article it sounds like it could be retitled to almost "How to get rich playing video games or die trying" but another aspect is the global scale of this thing, you can also look to see China's obsession with video-streaming to see that this isn't really a one-time trend but rather an enduring thing that will likely keep evolving into more physical interactions where streamers do more and more celebrity on-site activities rather than purely virtual.
My favorite streamer for Overwatch, aimbotCalvin has 300,000 subscribers. This puts into perspective how much he makes. Wow.
Tell that to the tens of thousands of streamers on Twitch who have 10 or less viewers, who absolutely are not getting rich.
Like others have mentioned it's a combination of luck to get the initial attention, and skill to maintain that following (either actual video game skill, entertainment skill, or a combination of both).
Pretty click baity, "How entertainers make money by playing video games" is still click bait, but at least gives you an idea of what this is about.
I feel like there is a lot to discuss about this topic (donations, reliable income, future plans ect...) from twitch streaming that doesn't get touched on. But it boils down to the audience wants to interact with you, and will pay you to interact with them.
I'm curious how reliable this income really is, asking for money to give to a celebrity playing a game vs asking for money to play a game seems like a weird event
Soon there will be Video Game U, where you can get a college diploma by playing video games all day.
The same applies to pretty much any skill: to be successful, work hard and be very good at what you do. That's the entire article in a nutshell.
oooOOH!! I like rich playing video games! Where do I get them online?!..
Step 1 be a girl. Step 2 break all of Twitch's community guidelines. Step 3 ??? Step 4 Profit.