Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Bi-weekly Gamer: Streamers, money, and the future of watching games

October 18, 2017 by Adam Boyle, staff writer

Not everyone is cut out for the big stage. Enter live streaming, one of the few ways that pros and high profile players get to consistently interact with fans; it’s also one of the few ways people can choose their own content. Streaming has become one of the leading forms of entertainment, and many esports organizations have picked up on that. It appeals to gamers looking to learn new skills and techniques and it also provides a more casual way for someone to enjoy relaxing at home.

The Bi-weekly Gamer is a column about competitive gaming that appears in every issue of Nexus.

Thanks to partner programs that streaming websites have in place, streamers are able to turn casual home gaming into a full-time career if they work hard enough. Each game generally has multiple “personalities” associated with it. For example, almost all professional League of Legends players stream in their free time. Other retired players, like Dyrus or Scarra, also stream, usually full-time. Many organizations will sponsor some of the big-name streamers or retired pros. Sponsorships provide branding, added income, and job stability. These streamers generally have obligations to attend events around the nation, but paid travel is hardly something to be bothered by.

Some YouTubers also get involved in streaming, allowing them to connect to viewers that they previously struggled to communicate with. A lot of these content creators will post stream highlights or segments of the stream on their YouTube channel as additional content.

But for some gamers, streaming provides a place to give back to the community. Generally, there are charity streams going on, with well-known streamers and YouTubers pitching in to help raise money for a cause.

Overall, it’s safe to say that there is a trifecta of sorts when it comes to live streaming. Esports organizations sponsor players, these players make money, and the money helps to expand the organizations’ reach in the community. Viewers hardly are affected by any of this, because all that really matters is watching someone interesting play a game. Whether the streamer is dominating leaderboards, casually playing music and talking to fans during a game, or going off the rails and providing humorous outtakes, the society created by streaming is here to stay, and here to keep us entertained.

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