By Michael P.
Every generation has its childhood dream jobs. There was a time when every young child, when asked who they wanted to be, would gleefully respond with “Fireman!” or “Astronaut!”. However, as technology and social connectivity have evolved, so has this preference.
As entertainment has become a greater part of our everyday lives, more children’s opinions, and even those of young adults, have been swiftly switching to the job of a “streamer”. The exponential growth of the video game market has led to a few select individuals’ fame and wealth. These people, who are referred to as “streamers”, spend their hours broadcasting live footage of themselves playing video games over the internet! To a bystander, this might seem like a preposterous source of income, but the truth is that these personalities are slowly rising in the ranks of the wealthy. Many streamers have constructed their life around this “vocation”, and have extensive fan bases who watch their streams for the humour, the skill, or simply the personalities. However, just like any other selective occupation, behind the successful lies a string of the undedicated, impotent, or simply the unlucky. Streaming is a business that is escalating in popularity, but those who decide to trudge along this path must be aware of the career’s many downfalls, difficulties, and dangers.
Since streaming software is becoming increasingly accessible and simple to use, many beginners, at the start of their first stream, fantasize about thousands of viewers, all eagerly sitting at their monitors, entranced by their idol’s perceptive words. However, the reality is crude; streamers, just like any other job, don’t start off with thousands of fans. Many of the largest names in streaming, such as Jaryd “summit1g” Lazar and Chance “sodapoppin” Morris, started their now illustrious careers with a meager three or four viewers. In order for a channel to truly grow, like these did, you must be willing to commit the majority of your time to this hobby and turn it into a passion. The majority of these entertainers have made this their primary occupation; it is their sole source of income. Although it is possible to alternate between a secondary job, as more viewers tune in to your broadcasts, you must be able to fulfill their craving for entertainment. Even after a successful broadcast, you must dedicate another portion of your day to planning out future gaming escapades. Who can I collaborate with? What type of stream will I do tomorrow? What could have gone better today? As a direct consequence of this mentality, your main goal should become to improve your stream and amass a greater audience.
However, one of the main reasons that people choose a job, however cynical it may sound, is the amount of profit they will receive. Although being motivated and doing something you truly adore is important, you must be able to sustain yourself on that job’s earnings. If this is the primary reason that led to you embarking on this grueling journey, then you should turn back now. Streaming by no means provides a secure form of income, and even the professionals experience month-to-month variations in their earnings.
Unlike most other jobs, your profit mainly comes from the generosity and faithfulness of your viewers. Although most large streamers are entered in a partnership with Twitch, which gives content producers money in return for running advertisements, the sheer number of partners mean that individual profit is minimal. One streamer, named Daniel “fenn3r” Fenner released the statistics of his income online; in the month of July, Twitch Ads only made him $61.92, a meagre 6% of his total earnings. Most of the money (89%, to be exact) that he made came either directly from the viewers in the form of donations, or as a monthly fee of five dollars, from his most dedicated subscribers.
This audience-based funding also brings light to another difficulty; what would encourage the viewers to donate their money to you? In order to promote you channel and spur donations, your content needs to be unique. Due to the large number of competitors, a rising channel must deviate from the status quo. It must somehow stand out; you might have a unique and unconventional sense of humour, an immense knowledge base, or simply a comical personality. Whatever it may be, you have to convince the audience that you should be their primary content provider. Although this might seem fairly straightforward, even those who do stand out amongst the sea of others sometimes drown beneath the waves, due to a lack of perseverance, commitment, or simply bad luck.
Like any other extremely selective job, the most important characteristic to have is, as mentioned above, perseverance. If you want to succeed in this field, it is necessary to stay steadfast, no matter the circumstances. Many of those who try their luck in this profession get turned away by a month of near-poverty, or a sudden drop in viewership. However, you must be truly dedicated and understand that success is not instantaneous; it comes with time and patience, especially in this field. Some might even be too zealous with their time management; the demanding nature of the job, mixed with the necessity for school, social interaction or a full-time job, forces these streamers into partially ignoring aspects of their daily lives. They might find themselves interacting less and less with their friends, or having a sudden drop in school-related performance. Some streamers can even get so immersed into the mechanics of streaming that they show a complete disregard for viewers.
All in all, streaming is a job that is suited only for the most robust and determined. Like any other “dream job” with a high level of failure, it demands pure, uncontested focus and dedication. Although the possible, but not probable outcome is quite lavish, streaming is an occupation that should not be taken lightly. As entertainment has slowly evolved and progressed, the audience is ever-hungry for the next generation of entertainers. Do you want to take that risk? Maybe a second thought would be beneficial. However, if you are ready to take this as a challenge, a calling, remember; the people are ready for you, but are you ready for them?