Since I was just a small gamer girl in middle school, I’ve always admired people who could make a living off of playing video games. It wasn’t until I started dating my boyfriend that the idea started to become a part of my everyday life.
According to Forbes, streaming is now a growing professional career. YouTube and Twitch have become hot platforms for streamers and content creators to begin to grow their platforms. Anyone is capable of beginning as long as they have simple starting gear, such as a webcam, microphone and their platform. I asked my boyfriend why he started streaming, to which he claims “streaming allows you to connect with others who have similar interests, and it can be a better way to earn extra money while still playing video games you love.” The thing about streaming is that it takes time. Over the course of a year, my boyfriend’s following has grown slowly, but significantly. He earned the status of a Twitch Affiliate a few months back, which allows him to bring in monthly income from his streams.
The COVID-19 pandemic really created a climate for streaming to take off like crazy. More people were able to spend time at home and use their spare time to turn their hobbies into a career. Harvard Business Law even cites that, yes, it is possible to create a career out of streaming, but it can be complicated. The top streamers on any platform have worked for a long time to build their content and following and work their way up to the fame that they’ve gained. Streamer Steve Surami said in his interview that “sometimes, it’s hard to grow on Twitch because you’re so buried under already established people.” Just like my boyfriend, he suggests growing your additional social media accounts like Instagram, Twitter, or Tik Tok. People are more likely to discover you on social media platforms and then come to your Twitch.
Twitch offers lots of different ways for streamers to build revenue. This can be done through subscribing, bits, and ad revenue. Twitch takes a portion of some of these costs, but a majority goes to the streamer themselves. While following is free to anyone, subscribing offers a more premium watching experience. This is what streamers want to continue to build up consistently. Streaming is more than simply playing the game or creating the content. It is very much about people skills. “Everyone in my chat is there because we enjoy the same things and we can chat about life together, even though we are all different ages and from different parts of the world,” my boyfriend says. As a part of his chat, I know that this community is very tight knit and everyone can quickly become friends with each other.
It took me a while to first become adjusted to the idea of my partner becoming a full-time streamer. He knows how nervous it made me at the start. However, over time, I grew to love seeing him entertain people and the excitement, pride, and happiness it brought him. Streaming is just like any other profession. It can be as successful as being a doctor or lawyer. Just like any degree, it takes time, patience and hard work to achieve the goals of a top streamer. The industry is changing, and the internet is ready for it.
Cecilia (and Owen)