There are more casual streamers out there that work just as hard as these competitive players. Probably my favorite streamer over the past year and a half that I have been watching goes by the name of Spamfish on Twitch, a professional streamer residing in the UK. He streams a variety of games, and has been doing this for a number of years now, and where Twitch is not his only means of making a living via game streaming, he also streams through Nvidia’s website. I first came across Spamfish when he was a featured game stream on Twitch playing a game called Papers, Please!. His canter and play style is hardly serious, though there are challenges he imposes on himself just to make things more interesting. You can see the difference in his stream from that of DuckSauce, particularly from their presentation, but its not because of lack of effort to make changes to Spamfish’s presentation. Rather, you can tell the difference from the subscriber count difference between the two as this is their main source of income. You can do the math in your head with the rough numbers I stated with regard to DuckSauce.
But when it comes to Spamfish’s numbers, I have watched his channel where he has had an average of 850 users watching at one time, with spikes numbering just over 1,100 viewers. With DuckSauce, I have seen with a regular average of 1,500 viewers with spikes numbering over 4,000 users watching at one time. I’m talking about numbers a lot, but the fluctuation of numbers doesn’t phase Spamfish as he himself does not like to focus on the up and down numbers, rather he just gives appreciation to those viewers that continue watch him and spread his style in order to attract more viewers. Though recently he mentioned his current subscriber count coming in around 640. Spamfish does give viewers some giveaways here and there when he is approached on a sponsored stream, but they are few and far between. DuckSauce tries to stream everyday for about 8 hours a day and Spamfish does match that, but he does take his time off when he needs to but he also has streamed over 10 hours in a given day. The common ground of both of these individuals is how much they think about their content and they do it in completely different styles.
Women also have a place in game streaming but they endure many of the common problems that women in other facets of culture face, particularly sexism and objectification. Adrianne Curry use to stream games regularly, and sometimes still does, but she too has faced the regular sexual harassment, with viewers in the chat stream asking her to bounce up and down, or just directly ask her to show her breasts on camera. Twitch has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to nudity, be it men or women, as that is not the kind of content they want provided by their service. Luckily I personally have not ever seen it expressed in these channel chats in excessive amounts, but it does come up from time to time and it may be a style of trolling that can happen, which always tend to be more focused on women to try to get some sort of reaction from female streamers. Of those that I have witnessed more commonly harassed is famed Cosplay Enthusiast and Costume Designer, Jessica Nigri. Thankfully, through the feature of appointing chat moderators and chat filters, I would assume many of those that try to bombard her with messages to take off her top and so on are banned and filtered out. Additionally, at times the chat will censor certain words and then those users logged in are probably booted or possibly banned from the channel. Jessica Nigri is no stranger to harassment of this type on Twitter and YouTube as well, but she stands firm against those that try to jar her emotions by not engaging those harassers. Focusing on styles of play though, it’s no different from anyone else, though you won’t find many women streaming Counter Strike. But perhaps I find more women in the League of Legends and DOTA 2 fields, where both of these games have surged in popularity especially in the competitive game tournaments of MOBAs. Nigri does play a variety of games from time to time, but she also fills her content with answering fan mail questions, opening fan mail gifts, talking about appearances and funny situations she sometimes finds herself in. She is quite candid as well as unfiltered, which showcases much of what I believe to be her regular attitude; a happy, while sometimes, silly demeanor. All aspects of that make what I would consider a successful streamer. Ms. Nigri, though, reserves most of her video content towards YouTube rather than Twitch, but it’s not strange for her to apply to both as it just helps her audience grow.
Another female streamer that is much like Spamfish in the perspective of audience as a streamer goes by the name of little_siha, broadcasting out of New Zealand. I came across little_siha by watching her broadcast through PlayStation’s broadcasting function and featured page while she was playing UbiSoft’s Just Dance 2016. She then transferred to Twitch for a more consistent broadcast, also it was easier for her to stream from the Xbox One or PC. She has competed in Just Dance tournaments, and from watching her videos and broadcast is easily seen that she would be considered a high level player of the Just Dance series. She features more broadcasts of Just Dance offering subscribers the chance to request songs for her to dance to. Even though Just Dance has put her more or less on the map in gaming broadcasting, she does play other games, with her recently playing – or attempting to play – EA’s Dead Space. Her broadcast yielded many screams and scares for her, giving viewers a number of humorous moments that those watch have gotten a kick out of. It’s also obvious to mention that playing Just Dance can take its toll on the body just like standard exercise can, so a break to play something like Dead Space or Rise of the Tomb Raider is probably a nice change for her.
A good segue I believe to go into here is to mention the earnings made by streamers, through the method of tips or donations. Whether you are subscriber or just a follower of a particular streamer on Twitch, all sponsored streamers are given the option for their viewers to issue funds to them aside from the subscription fee. Unsponsored streamers, too, can implement donation fields, but it’s not very common for the unsponsored streamer to do so. Each of the streamers I mentioned earns tips through their style of presentation and play; one can sometimes feel that the heights that these tip amounts can reach is rather absurd. One such session saw two little_siha viewers entering into a tipping war going back and forth, where it started with a $50 and one went as high as tip to – what I last saw the highest amount tipped was – $282, totally across the two viewers more than $500. During this time, she was not even playing a game, she was just talking and answering questions cast to her through the session chat. She was overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation for their donations, though pleaded for them to stop as she felt undeserving of the money.
I witnessed such amounts during DuckSauce and Spamfish’s broadcasts as well, with them showing just as much appreciation. It’s important to note that in order for someone to become sponsored on Twitch, and to begin earning as these personalities do, that a streamer must attract a regular following of viewer traffic of at least 500 viewers a month. It was not explained in Twitch’s policy what happens if you become sponsored and then if your monthly viewer count falls below that 500 viewer threshold, but I would assume that the account would lose that function. It has to be said, however, that Twitch support does have a great response and support team to help people with their questions controlling content and using functions of the website. They don’t offer means or methods for streamers to earn more viewers or subscribers, but they can choose a streamer to be a featured channel, such as when I came across Spamfish. Being a featured channel brings obviously benefits, much like being on the front page of a newspaper, giving that stream strong exposure and possibly earning more subscribers. It is functions of Twitch like this that make the community of streamers quite strong from within, where streamers can choose to host another streamer’s channel to showcase to their own viewers other streamers that they can suggest. These are commonly called ‘raiders’, where when changing to host another streamer’s broadcast, the host will direct their followers to engage in these riot invasions to the new stream, showing support for the new channel being shown and thereby passing exposure to other fellow streamers.
Watching these broadcasts has been an interesting experience, where it has fueled even more so my appreciation for a more interactive method of entertainment, through the simplicity of viewing being a more technological media of reality television. That in itself is an oxymoron, because games are not reality at all, but it returned to me the feeling of the old days of gaming where multiplayer gaming was just crowds of friends gathering at one person’s house to play together or just couch view a friend going back and forth taking turns playing a game. Watching players like Spamfish and little_siha in this manner makes me feel as if I was just a friend sitting on their couch watching them play and enjoy a game. It has inspired me to broadcast myself more regularly just to communicate with players wherever they may be. I have invested into purchasing a gaming capture device to have more functionality and customization to broadcasts I conduct. This may develop into something more for me as it has for these streamers I mentioned or it may not but this is by no means something anyone should just consider giving up their current job to do as it take a lot of work to gain a following.
Should I had these options when I was just a kid in high school it might have been something now but this is just one part of the gaming and technology industry that has developed and been able to showcase not just the games, but also the people that play them, to the world. With gaming consoles now making it easier for players to stream their games, the trend of game streaming appears very solid and is here to stay for quite some time.