The Video James Corner: Streamers storm the field

Being a high-level competitor becomes harder to achieve as a game becomes more and more popular. Sponsors and organisations will pick up and drop players constantly, and the huge flood of new players joining any given esport means there are more and more people fighting for your spot on the team. The dedication, constant practice and amount of time required to play on the big stage is admirable, but the incredibly high pressure of the job and endless competition means most esport careers are unfortunately short-lived. Not everybody can commit to competitive gaming, but if you still want a career from video games, one alternative stands as the most accessible competitive substitute: Livestreaming.


If there is anything that sounds more ridiculous than playing games for a living, it is watching someone else play games for a living. Believe it or not, live streaming is a rapidly growing profession that is cementing itself as part of the conversation. Anyone with the right tools can get into streaming, but getting those tools is a long-term investment that not a lot of people have the knowledge or confidence to get stuck into. Of course, the wonder of streaming is that you don’t have to commit to it the moment you step into it, and people can stream for all sorts of reasons due to how open the market is for it. Both competitive and casual gaming are popular streaming choices, but streaming is a much wider world than even that.


Founded in 2011, Twitch is the most popular streaming platform to date. While others rival its services, Twitch remains well above its competition with an average of 1.2 million concurrent daily viewers and just under 50,000 concurrent live channels sitewide. Almost anything can be streamed on Twitch- gaming, chatting, sports, art, poker, the list goes on. The huge amount of diverse content only further cements Twitch as a legitimate entertainment platform.



Twitch’s main incentive is its partnership program, which allows streamers that reach certain criteria to become paid partners of Twitch. Becoming a partner gives you the ability to earn revenue from advertisements and “cheers”, create emotes for viewers to use in your live chat and allows those viewers to subscribe to you for a small monthly fee.


Streaming is the gateway to some of the best gaming available, and while Twitch is the most popular platform it is definitely not the only option. Companies like YouTube, Microsoft and Facebook have also taken to live streaming, having released their own platforms over the past few years. All these platforms provide the same service, so there isn’t much of a difference when choosing which site deserves your clicks, but it is interesting to look at how many competitors are trying to expand their audience through live streaming.


YouTube released YouTube Gaming late 2015, which has since been fully integrated into YouTube’s main site.


Microsoft released Mixer early 2016 and has been in the news this past year after it was announced that popular streamers Ninja and Shroud would be exclusively streaming on the Mixer platform.


Facebook gaming launched in June last year with minimal news coverage, in fact, I only found out about this after popular Smash Bros. streamer Gonzalo ‘ZeRo’ Barrios signed with Facebook as an exclusive streamer.


As a viewer, things could not be much better. Viewers are spoiled for choice these days and the huge amount of traction big esports events are gaining only makes it easier to watch both grassroots events and high-level tournaments. Mainstream media is also getting involved by re-broadcasting official esports streams.


Here are a few examples of the popular (and my personal favourite) channels streaming esports on Twitch:


Tfue: Fortnite

Tfue Profile

Photo credit: FaZe Clan


NairoMK: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Nairo profile


SquishyMuffinz: Rocket League

Squishy profile


KabajiOW: Overwatch




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