One of the fastest-growing segments of the entertainment industry, eSports is bigger now than ever before and its many overlaps with other video game content areas make it a great space for amateurs and professionals alike.
But one group, in particular, might have a leg up on the competition when it comes to eSports competitions, and we’re not just talking about it from a gameplay perspective.
Gaming streamers, especially those that specialize in one or two games exclusively, not only have an easy time transitioning into an eSports career but also the specific alignment of their talents tends to bode well for their success in the field.
We’ll discuss why video game streamers are so well adapted to success in the eSports realm as well as the specific alignment of talents and platforms that they can utilize to launch their career.
How Streaming Relates to eSports
The first question many streamers might have on their mind is how in the world does their niche relate to eSports. After all, eSports competitions tend to be loud, glitzy, neon-light-infested affairs, full of gaming world celebrities, money, and some hint of glamour. Streaming, on the other hand, is largely personality-driven though gameplay is nonetheless a large component of a gaming streamer’s output.
Here, streamers that tend towards specialization and mastery are those that stand out as prime candidates for an eSports career. Not only does this dedication tend to lend itself to high skill levels in a game, but also it makes the streamer more likely to be able to withstand the often rigorous training that some eSports players undergo.
Whether it is a team game or more one on one, streamers tend to be more familiar than casual players with the dynamics of not only a good game but also how to entertain an audience.
Building a Fanbase
And that’s something that few people really want to talk about when you get into eSports: The need to entertain people. Skill is one thing, having a magnetic personality and the ability to captivate vast crowds is another. Oddly, video game streamers tend to have a great mixture of both. This can really help in the beginning with motivation as well as staying on task. In the long run, however, coming armed with a huge prebuilt audience means that a streamer can more readily monetize an eSports career than others.
Why? That’s because sponsorships largely rely upon name recognition more than anything else and they’re a huge part of the eSports economy. In many ways, it is important to look at streaming as a business and eSports as yet another business that the streamer then adds to their portfolio.
Monetization and Streaming/eSports as a Career
Many of the dynamics are similar, and the synergies between the two often benefit both, but they’re still two sides of the same coin. In other words, eSports is looking out for itself and careers can either be long-lived or short; in streaming, you’re largely your own boss.
This relieves a lot of pressure on the streamer to make it or break it with eSports and results in a better player and more entertaining one at that in the long run. For one prominent example of this, look at Ninja’s career. Having mastered streaming and crossing over into eSports, his story represents the best of both worlds and how they can be effectively harnessed and scaled.
Again, it’s hard to overstate just how much a streamer brings to the table in eSports and having a large audience tends to make someone even more attractive as a candidate. Most people focus on having immediate skills or talent right off the bat, but training can take great players to excellent, and so on. Teams rely upon this training to augment the streamer’s other strengths which tend to exist in the realm of content creation. Social media, in particular, can be extremely important in securing sponsorship deals for the team, a competition, or even securing other players.
Companies underwrite eSports competitions and teams like to know that their rosters are easily monetized as well as recognizable thus making streamers with large audiences and self-supporting business strategies some of the top candidates for scouts to recruit. It’s important to keep scale in mind here as even larger teams will obviously want streamers with equally gigantic followings while, on down the ladder, relatively “smaller” streamers can really boost smaller teams and competitions.
Many eSports players work their way up a league ladder from smaller, local competitions to larger, national, or even international events. Knowing that a constellation of personalities can bring a certain portion of their audience with them to these competitions makes them viable from an entertainment perspective and grows their appeal at the same time.
The Future of Entertainment
Streaming and eSports both hold an enviable position in the modern era as being part of the “new wave” of future entertainment options. Both rely upon dedicated fan bases that are tech-savvy, adaptable to multiple platforms, and accessible from anywhere in the world. As the expenses associated with forwarding teams and hosting events increases, the need for guaranteed returns will become more paramount thus we should see an increase in the number of streamers participating in eSports in the future. Here, again, we have to emphasize that streamers need to worry less about their exact skill level and more about how well-honed their platform is for synergy with an eSports organization.
Streamers that want to become eSports superstars have an easier time than most but that’s only if you consider the first step of becoming a superstar somewhat in your niche to be an easy task. By focusing on streaming and mastering relevant games, streamers can begin to explore other business opportunities that augment their platform with new audiences and revenue streams. There’s little doubt that streaming and eSports each have their own place in the future landscape of entertainment, and streamers that are dedicated to their craft should explore the many opportunities that await them just across the way in the world of eSports.
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