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How to Get Rich Playing Video Games Online (newyorker.com)
226 points by Dowwie on Nov 14, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 194 comments

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.

> ... if one was to put equivalnet amount of time in another field, say learning how deep learning works...

I see what you're getting at, but these are two different things. The vast majority of humanity as a whole is just not capable of sitting down and chewing through a deep learning textbook or anything of the sort.

What you're ignoring is just how accessible streaming is as an income method. Up until recently, all you needed was the equipment (< $2000-3000 - sometimes paid for by sponsors, often equipment that people already have in modern times) and to be half-way charismatic in order to get into it.

Add in the promise of big money and 'superstars' and now every kid wants to ~be in a band~ be a streamer.

" The vast majority of humanity as a whole is just not capable of sitting down and chewing through a deep learning textbook or anything of the sort." they don't currently, and probably we don't need millions of data science major, but somehow grinding through the game for thousands of hours is doable. I'd say let's gamify learning and we will have a whole new supply of world class scientist streaming their research on sci-twitch.tv ;)

It's not different then saying: Let's gamify accounting and we'll have tones of people watching streams of someone doing taxes. Doesn't really work that way. Different people have different interests, but science is a niche and will always be on a tail of that bell curve. If you try to make it more appealing to the masses you end up with shitty shows about blowing up things or dangerous animals or ghosts & mysteries.

I've recently been watching EEVBlog videos, mostly for the sake of watching someone else route PCB's. Learned lots of good tricks that way too.

The EEVblog is great. Some of the older videos have some DFM, switcher layout, etc that is equally invaluable.

"DFM" stands for "Design For Manufacturing" ?


That's why you build a personal brand while you're riding the coattails of a popular game. See Day9, who plays whatever game he feels like playing on his scheduled "day off" and streams it. He definitely has fun, even if it doesn't make him money (he recently streamed Mario, for example, which Nintendo [probably] claimed the revenue for) he's still building his personal brand and personal audience. His fans will follow him no matter what game he starts playing, because they're following him. But you're right that it's a hit-based system and if you don't become a hit (which requires a lot of effort and a lot of luck) then you're going to starve trying to "play video games for a living."

Yup. It's a new "field" if you will, and a lot of people are getting hurt during the birth phase. That said I've noticed streamers focusing more on being game agnostic, they'll demo new games and take note how much of their fan base follows. If the new game is a success they'll keep at it, if not they'll migrate back.

I don't think anything is different about playing Nintendo games on Twitch.

There's a streamer (iateyourpie) who makes a living from mostly playing Mario games, and usually not even being a speedrun WR-holder, just being an entertaining person who markets himself well.

> he recently streamed Mario, for example, which Nintendo [probably] claimed the revenue for

They can claim ad revenue, but they can't take donations or (I hope) subscriptions.

> 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.

It seems you are conflating Twitch streaming with e-sports, they are two very different things. Becoming a successful Twitch streamer doesn't necessarily require extraordinary skills in terms of playing a given game; switching to a new game wouldn't be that big of a deal and some streamers switch regularly on a weekly or daily basis (e.g. my favourite streamer, who is a full-time Twitch streamer and has 175k followers, plays more or less regularly at least 5-6 different games).

I agree with you on the "big brother" part, but then again this is a characteristic of any career path that can potentially lead to notoriety (acting, pro sports, etc).

I don't think he's conflating the two at all. He's just pointing out that the vast majority of streamers start out by building a following around a single game, and very few succeed enough to make decent money and jump from game to game like your favourite streamer does.

Yes, it's more akin to being a top youtuber. Being entertaining is the number one factor, being good at the game is a second.

and cleavage is extremely effective

You are wrong about "switching games as a streamer isn't a big deal". Someone who does that is called a variety streamer, and there are very few streamers that have success with it. Most streamers I talk to lose the majority of their audience when they switch games.

There are, it seems to me, to be two essentially disparate audiences.

1] Likes watching game A.

2] Likes watching streamer K

The first group choose the game, and then the streamer who is online and most enjoyable to watch playing it. The second choose the streamer and will watch whatever they're doing.

Arguably the advantage that the variety streamers have is that pro games don't eat into their viewers. I'll watch arteezy play dota whilst cookin or something, but only if there's no proper matches on with teams I like. I suspect that SingSing will always have a few thousand viewers because his followers are passionate about watching him.

That's foolish. The lead up time to become an expert at deep learning: Probably 6 years minimum.

No one hires people to do deep learning with 0 years experience.

Very few people with the skills you assume by default (basically anyone with programming skills) would be convinced to leave their cooshy jobs, but plenty of people with no skills or prospects would.

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.

I don't mean to be rude, but so what?

There's no need to specifically mention your favorite streamer, or your favorite game. Just because PUBG is popular right now doesn't mean this is a phenomenon centered around PUBG. There have been many streamers making A LOT of money for years now. League of Legends, Counterstrike, and DotA 2, for example, have always had large fan bases with "Top streamers" making similarly ridiculous amount of money in tips.

There is basically no mention of the hit game on HN. It is presently a video game phenomenon and is inspiring video game developers to explore that video game genre.

That particular streamer is changing the streaming game and is invested in some third party streamer support apps. He has broad appeal as little kids dressed up as this Twitch streamer for Halloween this year.

I think an article about the game, its streamers, the revenue sharing, and how Twitch is evolving would make the front page of HN.

That is all. No hidden agenda.

> That particular streamer is changing the streaming game and is invested in some third party streamer support apps. He has broad appeal as little kids dressed up as this Twitch streamer for Halloween this year.

He's not really changing the streaming game. There's streamers out there much more successful than he is (Lirik, Shroud, IcePoseidon, etc, etc.) Don't get me wrong, he's fun to watch, but no mention of him isn't a big deal in the least.

He's involved with boom.tv, which is creating a suite of tools streamers can use to interact with viewers in real time. He's not necessarily the best player or the most highly-paid streamer, but the production value of his stream is unmatched. He's innovating how people use the medium that is streaming. He uses live transitions with synchronized music, pre-configured greenscreens for his character's various gags, live viewer-triggered replays, and many other small touches that really do give the stream a better feel. Other streamers are going to have to match pace.

Again, this is nothing new. Some streamers are even dipping their toes into game development (Reynad, for example; he's making a competitor for Blizzard's Hearthstone).

Could you name some other streamers that have similar setups? I have never seen any.

What setup exactly are you talking about? A green screen?

vinc3ntvega, a smaller Dead by Daylight streamer, does similar things.

you are just being idiotic.

Personal attacks will get you banned here regardless of how wrong someone else is being. Please don't comment like this again.

The iPhone presented nothing new.

The Dr is a 2 time world champion (back to back-93/94, no less!) as well as an industry VETERAN! He designed half the maps in COD Advanced Warfare. He's a 6 foot frickin 8 athletic powerhouse too.

Ya'll mask your jealousness poorly.


The Dr is ridiculously handsome, ridiculously talented, ridiculously speedy, ridiculously violent, with a ridiculous amount of momentum.

He changed the stream game in ways that only Steve Jobs would understand. Much like the late great he took what everyone was doing and brought it up to a level way beyond what the sidekick competition was capable.

I agree no mention of him isn't a big deal. But he is definitely changing the game. His stream style is way more entertaining then a lot of the other streamers mentioned, subjectivity aside. His production value for a live stream, thought that goes into each session, and the entire character he portrays.

I've seen so many knockoffs of him recently its kinda disturbing.

PUBG inspired nothing, those kind of battle royale games have been around for ages (ages in game terms, a year or two ago H1Z1 accidentally popularized battle royale as an alternate mode in its zombie survival game, which was in beta).

AFAIK PUBG was made in response to other games that used to be popular in the genre failing after major changes, specifically H1Z1.

EDIT: Fair-cop to them though, they've obviously done a greaat job. It's just that games like this are already coming out constantly, it's the new genre to clone. Before battle royale was that hot genre, it was MOBAs[1] + survival games a few years ago and MMOs were a few years before that. Battle Royale is actually a sort of spin off out of the survival genre. Another interesting thing to note is that survival/battle royale games have a lot of indie entrants who tend to have long alpha phases where hype makes them incredibly popular (DayZ, 7 days to die, Rust, Ark: Survial Evolved, Unturned, Don't Starve). Then the player base can sometimes die off as the game suffers from poor performance and slow development.

At the moment PUBG is suffering from lots of hackers, so we'll see whether it actually stays popular.

[1] Multiplayer online battle arena (5v5, top down, team game), spawned from a mod made for warcraft 3, popular examples include league of legends, DOTA2, Heroes of the Storm, etc.

While you're technically correct in saying that PUBG isn't the first game of its kind, PlayerUnknown (creative lead) is the creator of the Arma mod DayZ, which to my knowledge is the origin of this genre.

PlayerUnknown(PUBG creator) created the Arma Mod Battle Royal and helped create H1Z1.

Flappy bird? so what? right?

They were just plugging their favorite steamer. It's related, which is fine.

One of the reason Dr. Disrepect is so good at what he does, is that he makes his fans absolutely obsessed by him. He is the only streamer that I know that can be talked about in other channels without reprisal. The OP is just an example of his talent.

I don't mean to be rude, but so what?

I have just discovered how enjoyable Twitch is.

Dr Disrespect is amazing. He is an online performer and a gamer.

Most surprising are the people who talk about how watching Dr D has helped them through depression or cancer. He talked about this movingly but briefly in his speech this week.

This is a whole new form of entertainment. It will be fascinating to see where it unfolds. I think Amazon will get a very good return for their investment.

I'm not into watching gaming at all (I'd rather play), but this is really just another twist on 'Reality TV', and one with less dysfunction IMHO.

Exactly, livestreaming == reality TV.

It's too easy to turn off my brain and be 'entertained' for hours. I've recently forced myself back to watching films/TV instead. The difference in creative stimulation is like night & day.

Check out the Creative streams on Twitch if you'd like to watch some sweet DIY/artistic creations in progress.

Many people watch streams to learn new tactics and strategies. You don't get that from reality TV at all. No one is watching Survivor or The Bachelor and then using what they learned in real life.

> No one is watching Survivor or The Bachelor and then using what they learned in real life

Never say never. I am sure there are people who do, probably not with much success.

You know, I never really watched others game either, until just the other week. Since I am gnu+Linux only now, I have missed out on some games, but recently watched a play through of the new tombraider game and found it quite enjoyable. I really think it works better for linear games though, because its like I almost feel as if I played it but didn't have to spend the money on it.

Its this play by proxy I now think is one of the main draws.

I have been encouraged to stream by others myself, and do every once in a while on hitbox. Maybe I should give it a real try.

Let's not forget former Call of Duty level designer and 2 time Blockbuster 1993-1994 Video Game Champion!

back to back!

Until you hear an outburst like this: https://youtu.be/33sUi8r-PDI?t=557

Is that funny? To me it just sounds racist...

How's that racist? All he did was say the opponent's name in a weird way and "passive" aggressively criticize Daybreak.

Oh please. If that isn't racist neither is "me chinese me play joke me go peepee in your coke"

just because you find racism humorous doesn't mean it isn't offensive.

What? He's suggesting he lost that fire fight because of Daybreak's latest push to deploy servers in that part of the world. Yes, it's funny.

Not to mention that the article is four year late at least. The market for top streamers is almost saturated and the low hanging fruit places are filled with softcore pretend-to-be-drunk “opsies”

And as far as mentions go, there’s no word on pewdiepie either, he’s one of the pioneer of the genre along with videogamdunkey...

The whole article reeks of “I know nothing about it so must be new” mentality.

Shroud is the real high-roller. He regularly gets $100, $200, $500 tips. I think the highest single tip he's got was like $5000.

He also takes in a lot through Twitch subscriptions. He has 30k+ subscribers from what he last said and each would pay him $2.50-$10 / mo. Of course Twitch would take their cut but thats insane.

Twitch negotiates cuts at 30k and they scale it back a bunch at that level also.

From what I've heard at around 10k subs you are getting around $4 a sub.

> Some digital items obtained from loot crates have sold for over $1,000.

That's been happening for years. Hats in Team Fortress 2 sold for ~1500 (Burning Kabuto was around there IIRC), and a knife in CSGO went for 24k (apparently, http://read.navi-gaming.com/en/team_news/Rarest_and_expensiv...).

I think the point was that PUBG is still in early access, and has been out for less than a year.

CounterStrike and Team Fortress have been full fledged releases for many years prior to reaching those numbers.

Its not the absolute number that is impressive, its how quickly it has reached comparable values with these longstanding behemoths.

Sounds like what I ended paying^H^H^H^H^H^H to buy http://www.wowhead.com/item=21025/recipe-dirges-kickin-chima...

Golden Frying Pan in TF2 is around $2500 currently and has been reported to sell at over $5k at some point

Towelliee (Garcia) has been streaming on Twitch since the start. He's not the most popular streamer by far but is one of the few still streaming from back then. It will be interesting to see if newer more popular streamers like Dr. Disrespect can maintain their viewership.

I totally agree, Dr D. is funny as hell and PUBG is something else.

I never got the attraction to Twitch/game streaming. Before I came across Dr D/PUBG, I used Twitch to see if a game was interesting & simple enough to grasp, to assist in the purchase decision.

The Dr D/PUBG combo (and a few other lesser-known faves, e.g. BananaMan, P4wnyhof/Larsen) have made it fun to watch, actual entertainment, that I tune into. Daily...

On the other hand, PUBG is getting absolutely destroyed in reviews: http://store.steampowered.com/app/578080/PLAYERUNKNOWNS_BATT...

> Some digital items obtained from loot crates have sold for over $1,000.

Last time I looked nothing from current crates were going for that much it was just the special items from the pre-order crates that were going for that much, which is a pretty important difference I think.

Arguably, PUBG's success is completely attributable to it being a spectacularly fun game to watch and therefore RIDICULOUSLY popular on Twitch.

I don't think it's anywhere near as popular without the Twitch streams

I didn't know about Dr. Disrespect, until recently when I watched him on the h3h3 podcast. The man is pure gold, hilarious and the sinth 80's tracks that he plays on his stream are yummy :)

The snub seems perfectly in line with the Dr's last name

A big chunk of those 2,000,000 players are Chinese no?

What does that have to do with... literally anything?

The article seems to be all about Twitch. Chinese people don't really use Twitch, they have their own clones like Douyu. So while the percentage of Chinese players doesn't mean much from a global viewpoint, it matters a ton if we're looking at Twitch's role.

I was refering to this:

>The game regularly has over 2,000,000 concurrent players

Well, I think it is interesting to point out what demographics tend to play a game the most.

If the game has 1,999,999 Chinese players then, I think, that is less interesting than if it had 2,000,000 global players (from all over the place).

Not sure why you think it is so far fetched....

You need to explain your reasoning a bit better. "Less interesting" for what exactly?

If anything from a streaming standpoint it's better to have a more "unified" player base, at least linguistically speaking. I doubt chinese players watch american streamers en masse, or vice-versa.

Less interesting as an investment vehicle, maybe. If cross-cultural interest in the phenomenon hadn’t yet been proven out, it might still hit an adoption cap at the boundary of the originating culture, and so stop growing.

> I doubt chinese players watch american streamers en masse, or vice-versa.

I agree. But are there any streamers who make use of live closed-caption transcription + translation services, the way broadcast news does? It’d Be interesting to see if just removing the language barrier would remove the culture barrier, or if it’s more fundamental.

Yeah, that was an odd comment, but it did get me thinking about how Twitch subscription sharing works when you have viewers in countries with wildly different costs of living.

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.)

As someone who streams on a smaller scale, and who has donated a few hundred dollars to streams (spread out over time, and usually towards charity), there are a lot of different reasons and incentives to donate.

- Reaction from the streamer. Donations get their attention and will show (or read aloud) a message from the donor. It could be a joke, or just kind words of support.

- Interaction. Streamers will often set rewards for donations above $X. This could be something like "choose the next hero I play in Overwatch", or, as many Tabletop streamers do, "Player of your choice automatically rolls a Natural 20". These can also often turn into glutton for punishment rewards, like doing shots or eating hot peppers. Sometimes donations can trigger sound effects, e.g. a loud roar during a tense moment in a horror game.

- Competition. Someone else mentioned the "telethon" mentality of wanting to be the highest donor, and that very much applies. Streamers will often include on their channel the rankings of their top supporters.

- Milestones. Streamers will often set goals of how much they want to raise over the course of a day or month. This could be something like "help me afford a new CPU" or just "Keep the show going". If they hit it, they promise things like game giveaways, 24 hour streams, dyeing their hair a crazy color, etc.

You know, I had the same thought as well? Although, MKBHD was streaming one time and I threw him $5 and asked a question. And it was cool seein' him respond to my question in real-time. I guess that same feeling of satisfaction is granted for donating money and hearing them shout you out? I don't know. It was a great feeling for sure though.

Thanks for the story. Those are the sort of things I'm interested in hearing about. Could you foresee a situation where you might ever donate $100 or more to such a streamer?

I've donated >$100 to one streamer in one go, who I've watched for years for both entertainment and game-related education (watching his tutorials on how to get better at games I play).

The traditional sense of paying someone cash for something often happens in parallel: you give something and you immediately get something. I think the mentality (or, at least my mentality) with streamers and tipping is a bit different: after you've received something (e.g. entertainment for X duration), _then_ you give something (a tip). Tipping someone $100 at any point might not make total sense in the moment to someone else observing, but tipping someone $100 for e.g. the last 6 months of free entertainment makes a lot of sense to the tipper. Sure, you could get away with not tipping and make that entertainment truly free, but you also want to support those who are creating it and encourage them to make more. After all, you pay for other entertainment, and often a large tip every once in a while still evens out to (much) less than you'd pay otherwise.

Thanks, this reply definitely helps me understand it a bit more.

I suspect it's the sort of "telethon" mentality. Some people see the donations as a competition (not intellectually, but emotionally). They want to win, so they donate way more than is reasonable.

Beyond that, wasn't there kind of a scandal a few years back where people would donate huge amounts to twitch streamers to make a big splash, and then cancel their donations so it didn't cost anything?

That mentality of competition definitely comes into play, but I think that's a small part of it. Much more has to do with illiciting a reaction from the streamer. Like the article mentioned, a huge donation can cause someone to break down in tears, and step away from the camera. Even small donations can be emotional for smaller streamers, especially those humble enough to sincerely thank every one. There's also the opposite, where people will donate to streamers who will put themselves through challenges for it, like taking shots or eating ghost peppers.

In terms of the scandal, yes, that was and still is a thing. Generally called "chargebacks", if a donor cancels the card and reports it as fraudulent, they have to pay nothing, and the streamer often has to pay a processing fee.

Two stories there: I know a streamer who pissed off one of his moderators, and the mod decided to donate to the channel repeatedly in small amounts, and cancel all of them. He had to pay a $20 fee for each one, it ended up costing hundreds.

I also had a buddy who was raising money for the charity Extra Life earlier this year, who had someone drop a donation of over $1k. The next week it was charged back, assumably costing the charity money. Some people are just not great people.

I've donated to streamers a few times, though it was more in the $5-20 range. Mostly I did this because I enjoyed the stream, and after watching for more than a few hours, I figure it was only reasonable to pay the streamer for the entertainment I'd received.

I also won't subscribe to any channels (except with the free Twitch Prime sub) because I don't watch any one channel consistently enough to justify it. But if I am watching one channel a lot some month why not donate $5?

People do a lot of things that baffle me.

Spending $100-500 for some entertainment is actually reasonable and not at all baffling.

Sure, I've spent money on a lot of weird things, giving arbitrary money to people I think who needed it, buying coins in games I've enjoyed, etc.. but donations with no quid pro quo to top Twitch players till do baffle me, given people making the donations know they're well off. It feels like me sending random checks to Larry David because I like watching his show :-D I'd just be keen to see an article digging into that.

What in Earth do you mean a "quid pro quo?" Twitch user gives entertainment and in return the donor kicks in some cash of they want to. Just like a busker.

If you feel they provide you with $500 in entertainment and you have a spare $500, then it makes sense.

That's like asking "why would you go to a casino when you know casinos make lots of money?"

If you're watching Larry David's shows the business transaction has already taken place. Larry David doesn't stream his shows for free and give you the opportunity to give him donations in exchange and then thank donors during the episode.

Twitch user gives entertainment and in return the donor kicks in some cash of they want to. Just like a busker.

I understand the busker metaphor, but the $100/$500 donations we hear about most often are to successful streamers, so it's more like throwing $500 at Axel Rose. That's the bit I find interesting.

Such donations strike me as unusually altruistic for the demographic involved, in a way that we don't see en masse in other public online venues (such as on YouTube, donating to open source, Instagram, bloggers, etc.) I'm quite interested in learning more about the psychology around that because I think other arenas deserve it too.

Same reason why Axel Rose being rich and successful doesn't stop fans from buying albums, going to shows, and buying merch.

Well the difference is that most fans don’t mind paying the money to get those items, they don’t typically just hand him money for nothing just because they like him. Twitch subscription is like a concert: you get something in return, but donating large amounts for nothing to already successful streamers is a bit odd.

But not that odd: I’ve backed people on patreon because I liked what they do and wanted to reward them - even though they were already making good money on it - and then never actually accessed the rewards. So I do get it.

Presumably those fans are buying those things at least in part because they want to have the album, concert experience, or merch. With twitch donations/tips you get comparatively very little in return - your username might pop up in a video overlay for a few seconds, and the streamer might be like "hey thanks, [username]!". Those 3-4 seconds are typically the entirety of your several-hundered-dollar experience.

Those effects can't really be considered to be "your several-hundred-dollar experience", because you get them all, even the on-screen "thanks", for a much lesser tip. What people are getting out of the large tips is something else.

When you donate, an alert pops up on the stream and the streamer will, in almost every case, acknowledge the donation and thank you for it. There's more recognition and interaction between the donator and the streamer than you sending a check to Larry David because you want him to have some walking-around money.

I was pretty baffled by this as well. But I think it comes from people who watch more than 10+ hours of someone. They then feel like they know them.

The donations then become something more like buying Girl Scout cookies, or a painting from a craft fair.

It's not the most efficient use of your dollar for a product, it's patronage of someone in your community.

Choosing to pay for content Larry David was involved in instead of pirating it is practically the same thing.

I think a large number of twitch viewers are still under 18. I remember my little brother would get my mom hopping mad after he would repeatedly purchase DLC without asking. At $1 or even $5 a pop, would you notice at the end of the month?

Would I notice an extra $1-$5 on my credit card? Absolutely! Why on Earth does your brother have unfettered access to your mom's credit card where he'd be in a position to charge it without asking?

but you can just spend $0 for the same entertainment with ads or like $5 for it with no ads

Lots of people have more money than sense...

Or, less flippantly, for some people this is literally their only entertainment.. They watch every day, all the time..

At some point, dollar-per-hour evens out when compared to going to the movies or paying for other forms of entertainment.

If people enjoy it, what's wrong with that? It's better than TV in a lot of ways and doesn't have screaming loud advertisements every 5 minutes.

I'd encourage you to watch the niche streamers, playing games with smaller audiences. It's very, very, similar to i.e. pornographic cam shows, strippers, and gambling. Traditionally poor working-class demographics will throw money away for little more then a nod in their direction.

My theory is that its anthropological, people want to belong to the group. The isolation of being behind a computer ironically amplifies the phenomenon, people become more desparate to connect and the only outlet they have is to donate.

Finally there is the rabid success of the female streamers, many of whom wear low cut shirts and exhibit flirty behavior. While there are many talented female gamers who deserve their place in the twitch spotlight, there can be no denying that a portion of the demographic caters specifically to specific male inclinations...

A few years ago some videos of women getting $5,000 tips in video chat made the front page on reddit - I had never heard of it but stripping/performing sex acts on camera in chat rooms for tips is a sizeable business. Some people were tipping just for acknowledgement of their typing in a comment to the performer. Reddit probably was being used as viral advertising for it back then and now.

It actually seems better for the performers than stripping in a club - they don't have to risk contact with patrons, more control of working conditions and I assume they get to keep a lot more of their income.

Dancers actually pay to work at a club, the club does not take a cut from them. And 'contact with patrons' is exactly how they make their money, and I guarantee the average dancer (who is likely at least sometimes a full on sex worker) makes a lot more than the average cam girl.

There's a few guys I watch consistently. I want them to keep making stuff and I would feel bad if they stopped. I haven't donated because I don't have any money to throw around at the moment, but once I get some disposable income, being able to give back money to the people I've enjoyed watching and sort of pretend-hanging-out-with would make me feel less indebted.

Because the streamers are a big part of their days and they want to help them succeed. And for shoutouts.

I could understand donating to a small time streamer, but to the guy pulling in ~300k/month from subscriptions? no idea! but they do it.

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?"

> Most of the kids watching these streams own a decent computer and can play.

Youre making it sound not only as if only kids watch this, but also like playing any sport at all is so much different - and then compare it to Reality TV instead of live sports. Actual WTF? Some of the streamers (variety streamers) do play for just entertainment value, but most stick to just one game. A lot of it is also being able to live chat with other people watching and interact with the person streaming.

> 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.

Why isn't it like that? That's exactly what it is. Do you have any idea how long professional esports players competing in tournaments have to work, to stay at the top level? And do you think they can play at the same level on the average person's hardware? Have a look at Starcraft 2, Counter Strike Source, or Osu!. These are games where top players make 100+ strategic actions per minute, need to have lightning reaction speeds and accuracy, and make bursts of 10 actions per second for full minutes, respectively.

How can it be such a shock to non-gamers that people watch other people play a game, rather than play it themselves? Just imagine it - people watching a game! /s It's exactly the same as every professional sport that has ever existed.

There is a difference between watching a E-Sports tournament and some let's play stream. As I understand it, OP talked about the former. As a gamer myself, I can say I feel exactly like him.

I find most of it boring. I only scroll through those videos on youtube to see how the actual game looks like since Demos have been dead for a long time now (or you have to pay for them now). Additionally the annoying stuff happening around the video on twitch is repulsive. Especially the chat reminds me of those webchats on crappy 90s-style pages.

On the other hand I do watch a tournament or some league play since german free tv started airing it.

Youre making it sound not only as if only kids watch this, but also like playing any sport at all is so much different - and then compare it to Reality TV instead of live sports.

Now I've got my next business idea.

Attach wireless streaming cameras to all the players in a sportsball game. Each player has a HUD, and can see chat messages in real time.

Heck, for something like American Football, you could even have them vote on what play the opposing team is likely to do next. The player can take that under advisement, and maybe compliment a viewer when correct. To make more money, they viewers could bid on the predictions, which might help increase their accuracy. The player and the sport get a percentage of the bids, and the rest forms a prize pool for the most accurate bidders.

This is probably as close as you're going to get at this moment in time to what you're saying. This was posted here a few months ago, haven't checked back in to see how it's going for them a season later.


Actually a great idea, and this sort of "augmented viewing" will almost certainly happen sooner rather than later.

This is where I disagree, and I know I'm in the minority (clearly) by how popular streaming has become. Professional athletes are marvels because they look so much bigger, better and are faster than the average joe. That's their appeal - they're real-life super heroes. LeBron, Jordan, Ronaldo, Ali, Jim Brown - they guys are living, breathing physical specimens who can do what no normal person, no matter how much training, can accomplish.

Video gamers, while no doubt skilled and dedicated to their craft, look like regular guys off the street. There's no wonderment. It's why nobody has the world chess champion as a poster on their door (or desktop background, whatever today's equivalent). Poker is popular on TV too, but ask a kid who they want to be when they grow up, Messi or Phil Ivy and I'm pretty sure I know the answer.

This stuff is popular and more power to those who succeed, but I think it's unfair to just brush off people's bewilderment at the success of esports by trying to compare some 19 year old "esports athlete" to a proper athlete.

Faker from LOL Korea is more LeBron James to me than LeBron James, he is phenomenally talented. There are many others like him and many more like me that feel more connected an in awe of esports professionals than their traditional athletic analogues.

I love osu!, but there are no strategic actions, you just click the circles.

Yeah that part was about Starcraft 2, for Osu! its the 10 actions per second bit. I've played long enough to know I shouldn't be playing it anymore.

From the article:

>“That’s like saying to a chef, ‘Why are you watching the Food Network? Shouldn’t you be in the kitchen, cooking?’

> Or to an athlete, ‘Why are you watching ESPN? Shouldn’t you be out shooting hoops?’

> No. People enjoy watching others who are good at what they do.”

I don't understand it much myself (and I watch streams semi-regularly) but it's not like this doesn't have precedent. People watch professional basketball when they could just go outside and start a pickup game. Sometimes you just want to experience the game/sport/etc without having to actually play it.

Plus with Twitch streams you can watch how skilled players play and what strategies they use. Personally, I watch a lot of streams for that reason. Plus, often times high-level play is almost a different game from casual level;watching streams (or recordings of streams) is one of the few ways casual players can see that.

> Plus with Twitch streams you can watch how skilled players play and what strategies they use. Personally, I watch a lot of streams for that reason. Plus, often times high-level play is almost a different game from casual level;watching streams (or recordings of streams) is one of the few ways casual players can see that.

That's a big part of it as well. Imagine if you could hang out on the side of the court and ask Stephen Curry questions while he practices. Ask him about the game last night, ask him why he took the shot that he did, why he drove instead of passing, what his practice regime is. You can play basketball with your friends if you want, or you can pick the brain of somebody who's incredible at it and get their advice, get their thoughts on the game.

It's not so different from your own example of "football where [you] don't want to exercise." Many video games require skills and can be stressful to play [1] [2]. It's a lot more fun to watch people more skilled than you accomplishing admirable feats. This way, you get to experience the fun without the stress, the same way people watch pro-footballers without playing football.

Also, people doing this aren't all kids. Dota and Starcraft are > 10-year-old games, and many people watching them are in their 30s.

[1] Dota 2 https://www.reddit.com/r/DotA2/comments/2nfzrx/how_to_overco...

[2] Starcraft 2 http://wiki.teamliquid.net/starcraft2/Dealing_with_anxiety

You're projecting your biases on what it takes to be a "professional athlete" versus a "professional gamer" -- both require serious amounts of on-going training to stay in top condition.

You can afford a football, but recognize that (for some) it's more fun to watch highly skilled professionals play; yet, you seem unable to understand how others might feel the same way about gaming.

I'm going to say that's probably "getting old" -- the inability to see how something is like something you already know, because it's new and strange to you.

Most of the kids watching these streams own a decent computer and can play.

The thing about a lot of these streamers is that they are both entertaining and talented gamers. In the Dota 2 community, watching the top players stream is actually a good way to keep up-to-date on the latest strategies and techniques, which is important is a game that's as complex as Dota. A lot of the community also converges in streams, which can be a good way to stay in touch with the latest gossip, memes, etc.

Many sports fans do actually participate in their sport. Instead of football, consider basketball, which just about anyone with access to a gymnasium or outdoor court can play. Plenty of people play basketball casually and still watch the professionals. Whether it's one of those "multi-game" streamers who plays everything, or a specialist in one game like Overwatch or CS:GO or Starcraft or Dota, if they're a good player it's often more fun to watch them than to get your own butt kicked online.

Now imagine that the announcer is also one of the players, who is gleefully trash-talking the other team, sharing gossip, and telling entertaining stories, and you are also in a chat room where you can interact with everyone else watching the game, and the player will actually read your chats and respond to your questions. That's the appeal of streaming. It's fun.

Its literally the difference between watching pro sports and playing sports yourself.

I think Dota is a great game and I could play it, but I'm not that good, especially when I'm not playing regularly. So I have the choice of playing it and watch myself air-ball abilities or watch the equivalent of Steph Curry score from the half-line and beyond.

Think about it, its a competitive game where you're matched with players of equal skill, so you'll win exactly half your games. The ones you lose can be very frustrating, sometimes taking the pleasure away from playing the game. But if its someone else who's winning/losing, I don't mind.

Exactly, I love watching Rocket League on twitch because I will never be that good. Just recently they had the championships and a few of my friends and I logged onto ps4, hopped in a party chat, and watched it "together". It was a lot of fun.

I'm also baffled by the popularity of "watching other people play video games". I get it when there is some event or tournament, or when some part is particularly interesting but to do it for hours and hours and hours for years... I don't get it, probably too old.

Popular streamers are entertainers. A video game is just an interesting and demographic-relevant medium. The only popular streamers that don't add commentary or have a video cam stream are the pros, the ones who play the game better than 99.9% of the rest.

I watch streamers every now and then, I mostly watched starcraft 2 and mostly watched during a time I played a lot. I played fairly competitively and committing to a ladder match is committing to anywhere from 5m to 1h. Playing a sc2 match is extremely demanding, if I wanted to engage with the game and make dinner at the same time the only option is to watch a stream. If I wanted to clean my room and engage with it, only option is stream. If a friend was coming over and I'd need to stop engaging with the game I'd be hesitant to start a match that could last an hour.

Not to mention I wouldn't play if I was out of it in any way (sick, drunk, tired etc)

>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 is an interesting comment. I watch couple of streamers regularly, but not in real-time. I just watch their content on YouTube.


Some of them actually put good effort into creating interesting in-game situations and running entertaining commentary. It's less of a reality show and more of a comedy/talk show. Maybe.

Some of them are very good at the game, and watching the stream is an opportunity to learn something new. If the game is competitive, it sort of makes sense.

But overall, I agree that streaming and YouTube are becoming the new TV. Maybe the motivations I outline above are somewhat pathological in the sense that they don't justify the time spent on such simplistic entertainment.

A lot of videos are about competitive online games, and come to think of it the direct experience in those games isn't always great. For example, when you're watching a game on YouTube it's effectively per-selected. This way you can "skip" the games that are boring or have something broken or have annoying/rude players. You can cancel/pause at any time without loosing rank or annoying other people. In some ways it's a sad state of affairs. Games should be entertaining in their own right.

To answer the question, I would say yes that's often the case. Even very successful people, and perhaps especially very successful people, are prone to biases. It's hard to argue against your own biases, especially those that have done well by you.

That being said, I don't "get it" insofar as it's not something I particularly want to do or partake of. But, plenty of my peers do and I can see that there is an appeal to them the way that watching professional sports is appealing to me. To each their own, right? If you rewind back enough, you'd laugh at the thought of 'professional' sports, as the concept of professionalism of games that children play was far-fetched.

I watch hearthstone streams and tournaments pretty frequently, and I used to watch a lot of starcraft. It was 80% so I can watch people that are better than me at the game and pick up strategies, and like 20% entertainment.

> 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?

It's exactly the same concept as reality TV and that's nothing new. Even before that, soap operas and celebrity gossip. Screaming and yelling random stuff is simply a way of being "funny", especially when you target a younger audience.

I remember in the mid-to-late 90's when the internet was getting big I thought that would be the end of those low-effort TV shows because soon everybody could access niche content that would interest them more. Love the german baseball league? You can read, watch and discuss about it. Enjoy the Edo period of japanese history? Thousands of web pages are waiting for you. Anywhere. Any time. Who would even bother watching The Bachelor instead of pursuing their interests?

Of course in retrospect I was naive. Sometimes we just want to be entertained. Sometimes we want to watch The Bachelor. And apparently for some people "The Bachelor" is a twenty-something yelling in a microphone overlayed on top of some videogame footage.

The only streamer that I really watch is Brian Kibler, who plays Hearthstone and used to be a pro MTG player. I think the reason I watch him and no one else really is because he's older, doesn't rage, includes his wife in his stream occasionally, and provides insights into his decision making process. He's just good natured and it's the closest thing I've found to those poker tournaments that I used to watch on cable at midnight.

Likewise, I watch almost exclusively Firebat (with a bit of Kibler every once and awhile).

He does a really good job of balancing being funny and interesting (as a person), and giving really good insights into his thought process in playing Hearthstone, building decks, and competing.

Different personality types appeal to different people (naturally). I'm a fan of Scott Manley, who never rages of screams, but mostly provides educational and entertaining commentary on what he's doing when he's playing a game.

But I also like Funhaus, which is effectively a podcast where a group of people plays a game in the background. (They also have an actual podcast which is literally that.)

Check out Jason Somerville (JCarverPoker) for some great poker streaming, when he's on. He goes in spurts and it feels about time for a nice one. He has a great personality and is much less negative than a lot of the other poker streamers.

Yes, they are that alone. Kids these days don't always have such hot social lives.

> 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?

These are called "parasocial interactions" and this is not a new thing at all. It may even be healthy and linked to empathy. There is ongoing research on this subject.

this is way less true of twitch than it is of youtube. i'd say the typical twitch channel is someone casually playing some game while participating in the chat and keeping it going by asking questions or talking about their life

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 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.

OWL is a great example because there was a $20m buy in for I believe 8 teams. That's $160m in funding, with significant participation by organizations like the Kraft group. Whether it'll go anywhere is like asking if a specific well funded start-up will go anywhere, but its definitely being pushed hard.

I personally don't think Blizzard has any idea what they're doing in the esports scene. They destroyed SC2 and fumbled HotS, I don't think Overwatch will be any different. I was at Blizzcon last weekend and even though everyone there seemed excited about Overwatch, the numbers just weren't there. Barely breaking 300k viewers for a world championship (when DOTA, LoL, CSGO all break 1M+) -- the state of the game is not looking great at the moment.

Not sure who invested like $20M per team but that seems like quite the gamble.

OWL definitely has a weird, heavy-handed feel to it -- it's almost as though Blizzard is trying to forcibly create a competitive 'scene' that emulates a traditional sports league, rather than allowing the scene to evolve naturally as it has in other games.

By far the weirdest part of OWL for me has been Blizzard's insistence on having teams represent cities -- up to the point of renaming existing teams to fit their naming scheme. (For instance, the "Dallas Fuel" team was created out of the existing EnVyUs lineup.) This is incredibly unusual for esports; the typical arrangement is for teams to either choose their own names, or to play under the name of an existing cross-game esports organization (such as Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses, or Fnatic).

> OWL definitely has a weird, heavy-handed feel to it -- it's almost as though Blizzard is trying to forcibly create a competitive 'scene' that emulates a traditional sports league, rather than allowing the scene to evolve naturally as it has in other games.

Bingo. Which is why so many competitive gamers are simply not interested in it. The way esports has generally grown is "bottom-up" -- local competitions spring up first and then larger, more well-funded tournaments take place. Blizzard is going for the "top-down" approach. We'll see what happens.

What are you talking about not breaking 100k? They peaked over 800k [0].

[0] https://esc.watch/tournaments/ow/overwatch-world-cup-2017

I must've seen that number in some other context, I investigated a little and they peaked at 300k (the 800k number is nonsense inflated by China botnets). Either way, still terrible considering CSGO peaked at 1.1M and LoL at 1.2M.

Didn't twitch break 300k viewers for OWWC?

Sorry, yes that's what I was thinking. Still terrible compared to CSGO/DOTA/LoL which all break 1M+

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.

> The demand was always there.

I remember when my brother bought an NES, I wasn't good enough to really play any of the games, but I used to love watching him play because he got so much farther into the games for me and it was a way to spend time with him. I guess that impulse hasn't really gone away.

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.

This article doesn't even get into the really big earners. 7 figures is not a one person bracket on twitch.

> Working seven days a week as a professional gamer is pretty brutal

Yep. You can see the burnout on people after a while.

>Working seven days a week as a professional gamer is pretty brutal.

I'm gonna throw some shade towards gameplay streamers. Streamers who do focused content and actually produce shows as you would in a TV/Radio studio have a real job which I've actually done, so this doesn't include them.

Playing a game and running a stream, technically, is not hard. Engaging with viewers is not hard. There's a bunch of solutions out of the box that allow you to manage subscription announcements, overlays, and other stuff, so that isn't too hard either. Spending time in a chair isn't hard. 4-5 hours of working out per week and healthy diet choices would help that, but isn't a panacea because research shows sitting for long periods is bad anyway. I wouldn't be surprised if there was some kind of viewer management software akin to CRM software that make it easier to relate to a larger amount of people. After all, people have limits on the amount of social connections they are able to manage themselves. So remembering your viewers may not even be hard.

The hard part comes with people being unprepared to essentially become public figures (very much in the Hollywood or political sense) and being unable to deal with harassment, death threats, and insults and the worst part of internet. If you don't have enough viewers to shrug off a controversy, your channel will get small, you'll lose revenue, and likely start stressing out about that as well. Having a fallback career plan is essential.

But if you are mentally tough and don't repeat the mistakes of other streamers and public figures (which is likely conveniently available for you to watch), being a streamer is not difficult. Not like other careers. Making money is a different story -- you can do everything right and still not be popular because the mob is fickle. That's just career luck, which isn't specific to streaming. You shouldn't be a public figure if you aren't prepared mentally for it. Twitch can only ban so many people.

However, I very much support tapping this revenue stream. I truly don't care if a loser drops $500 on a streamer who's showing cleavage as long as she's of legal age -- more power to that streamer. And it's up to parents to police their kids watching cleavage streamers. That's not really Twitch's job.

Just call it for what it is: easily hacking viewership for revenue. The exception being taking care of yourself mentally first.

Of course "streaming isn't hard" in the same way that playing football isn't hard. It's when you do it at a professional level and have to put in mad hours every week to keep up that it becomes brutal. All without guarantee that you'll even get paid if you're just unlucky that week and don't get enough viewers.

Streaming requires little commitment to try out. You can easily have a normal job and stream at night to ease into it. The skills required are to just be entertaining. You can quit immediately if you want or need to, without dropping a beat. The commitment required is orders of magnitude less than something like playing sports professionally.

The actual comparison to football is "esports," where people play games competitively. There, you actually do have to put in large amounts of hours to compete at the highest level, without being guaranteed prize money or competitive wins.

If you don't want any viewers. You vastly underestimate how hard it is to build a stream that attracts a healthy audience.

I said at a professional level.

Streaming for Fun:Professional Streamer = Football for Fun:Professional Football Players

Not everyone who makes enough money to stream as their primary source of income is competing in tournaments/esports, sometimes they are just entertaining/informative. Regardless of if they are entertainment or skill based, it takes a lot of time and effort to build up enough of a fan base to make it into a primary source of income.

>Playing a game and running a stream, technically, is not hard. Engaging with viewers is not hard.

That's all true, but anything you do for a living gets old after awhile, especially if you're putting in long hours. I like to play video games, but if I had to play to pay the bills it would be a job like any other - minus the breaks, the paid time off, and the benefits.

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?

I now browse with 4 extensions to handle issues like this. The autoplaying is everywhere and absurd. (NYTimes even has autoplaying animations you can't turn off. I sent them an email asking to have the option to turn it off as a paying subscriber and they didn't even respond.)

It's a mix of reasons, but it's usually ultimately about turning you into a product. I think it's disgusting.

To make the internet bearable, I use the following extensions: Ad Block Plus HTTPS Everywhere Privacy Badger And, the newest in the bunch, Ghostery.

I do have to twiddle some things on and off now and then, but on the whole it works and my online experience is a lot less jarring.

I think they're counting on the fact that everyone already has ;)

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.

He has 340000 _followers_, not subscribers. Subscriber counts aren't public but if his follower/subscriber ratio is similar to some of the top streamers he'd probably have around 5-6000 subscribers.

Aw thanks for pointing that out, my mistake

Another WoW streamer like the guy from the article (this ones named Zach) was streaming to 8k+ concurrent viewers for over a year without taking the offer to become a Twitch partner. He turned it on and got some ~3k subscribers in the first week.

He was probably making alright donation income, but suddenly having your monthly income jump ~$12000 a month from just flipping a switch is pretty nuts.

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.

oooOOH!! I like rich playing video games! Where do I get them online?!..

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.

And be lucky.

I work hard and am great at what I do, but I don't have thousands of fans throwing money at me...

And be attractive. The top youtube/twitch people either look or sound like celebs. They are either cute or have the voice, the pipes, of a radio star.

Lots of people are saying that, but it's clearly not true. I don't think imaqtpie [0] fits that description. Skimming through the top twitch streams right now, plenty of them don't fit that description.

[0] https://go.twitch.tv/videos/200675143

I'd hardly call him unattractive. Classy glasses, a well kept appearance (which can be challenging with a thin mustache)... a slight overbite is about all that might be considered unattractive; but his attitude and voice more than make up for it.

Almost speaks more to the accepted definition of "attractive" than the streamer.

I haven't looked in awhile, but when I used to watch dota streams the top four or five (by viewer count) were always extremely attractive Eastern European and Russian women. They were better than average players, but not good enough to command that kind of attention.

Lol, this was exactly who I thought it would be.

The top English Dota streamer is probably AdmiralBulldog, who's a very personable and funny guy but was pretty unattractive. He streamed for years without a camera and had no trouble drawing 10k+ viewers.

And his voice? Lots of the top youtube game reviewers arent exactly attractive physically, but they have classic radio voices. Totalbiscuit and most all of the yogscast fit the profile.

Nobody naturally sounds like Totalbiscuit. It's a learned, affected style of speech.

Decent voice, not comparable to TB. What he has going for him is that he's hilarious.

Depends on what the streamers thing is really, someone like Arteezy can easily pull in 10-20k viewers without even using a mic or cam.

Though for people like him streaming isn't what they use to make a living either.



Please don't do this.

> Eschew flamebait. Don't introduce flamewar topics unless you have something genuinely new to say. Avoid unrelated controversies and generic tangents.


Downvotes are expected, your post lacks tact. But it would be worrying if people ignored the reality of girls being exploited and exploiting themselves online in various gaming circles for financial gain. I don't particularly have a problem with it, but it's not a small thing.


They're not being exploited, nor are they exploiting themselves.

No more than DrDisrespect is exploiting the system by dressing up like this: http://wikinetworth.com/uploads/Dr%20Disrespect.jpg

Or Captain Disillusion is exploiting the system by dressing like this: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f4/Me...

Everyone has a gimmick for attention, and being hot is just one tactic.

And as someone who actively watches Twitch, it doesn't seem to last. You need something more than to be good looking.

I was pretty surprised to find that a girl was a legit bounty hunter. https://www.twitch.tv/videos/201032300

It's counter to what you'd think of when you think "bounty hunter." I thought it was badass. I don't think I tuned in because I was exploiting her.

Just one, very lucrative, tactic.

For example, one woman was recently banned for 24 hours for masturbating on camera (no skin, just highly suggestive movements and sounds). Someone who ranted about this kind of behavior on camera was banned for 72 hours.

The rules are, to the casual observer, not evenly applied.

It's also hard not to see, when browsing through channels, that the average successful streamer is an attractive women displaying cleavage via a webcam. Exploitation? Perhaps not. Regardless, their success depends heavily on implicit sexuality.

Isn't that conceding the point? She got banned.

It's good to point out uneven moderation, but it's important to back those accusations with sources. I doubt that 72 hour ban is so clear cut.

Both of these "accusations" were well documented (and both occurred within the last couple of weeks) on Reddit - a resource I (thankfully) don't have access to at work.

There's also the problem where girls are heavily targeted for harassment still in the streaming community. I'm under the impression it's slowly improving, but there was a well known twitch user who was a serial SWATer (calling the police and telling them a multiple homicide is occurring / hostages have been taken so that a SWAT team shows up to the streamer's home) on any female twitch streamer who wouldn't chat with him / pretend to be his friend. Law enforcement has been mostly toothless, although in this case, a sympathetic local officer committed hundreds of work hours catching the guy and getting him prosecuted.


Twitch ignores it because they get tons of views and advertising money. They won't kill a golden goose.

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