With over 850 million worldwide viewers, video games have become one of the most popular forms of entertainment over the past ten years. With audiences from teenagers to seniors tuning in, the ability to stream online in front of unlimited viewers has changed the way we play.
A New Generation of Athletes
Amid all of your favorite athletes, from LeBron James to Lamar Jackson and Mike Trout, there’s a new era of heroes joining their ranks. In late 2018, popular streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins became the first streamer to grace the front page of ESPN the Magazine. This honor, and the fame that came with it, has been well-deserved. After playing a few rounds online with popular music artist Drake, Ninja broke the all-time Fortnite streaming record and has continued to dominate the online gaming world ever since. Streamers of all levels are receiving brand deals and developing product lines, just like your favorite professional athletes.
The Development of New Technology
For video gamers, the technology is just as important as the skill. Without high-quality streaming platforms, there would be no way for the players to connect with their fans, share their content and build a network. Twitch, Facebook Gaming and YouTube Gaming have remained the top three streaming platforms over the past five years. Earlier this year, Microsoft shut down its popular streaming service Mixer and merged with Facebook Gaming. No matter where you play or watch, each of these tech giants are consistently making updates to their software and creating the ultimate interactive gaming experience.
Anyone Can Become a Streamer
Set apart by more traditional sports like basketball or football, playing video games does not require a specific body type, muscle mass or height. Both male and female professional esports players also compete in the same tournaments and events, ultimately creating a diverse pool of players. However, similar to other athletes, what makes them great is their critical thinking, problem-solving skills and reflexes—regardless of how you look. Anyone can be a streamer, and anyone is welcome, making it one of the most diverse sports in the world.
A Game for Everyone
While you’re probably familiar with Fortnite and Call of Duty, these games represent only a small segment of gaming opportunities. As an expert in the poker industry, Lee Jones shared his experience while playing online poker through Twitch. Streaming to his audience, Jones found that his success came in the engagement from the platform: “Define success as making the first stream. As getting 10, or 50 viewers. As having one person contact you and say, ‘Man, that was cool – thank you.’” While the average person might not become a professional gamer, anyone can use these streaming platforms to share the game they love.
How to Get Started
If you are interested in becoming an esports professional athlete or full-time streamer, do your market research and build a plan based on what you’ve learned from the ins-and-outs of going pro. Connect with other streamers and listen to their experiences to gauge what the process is like and how you can set yourself up for success. Whether or not you make the cover of ESPN like Ninja, you’ll likely build a community of other gamers who play for the love and thrill of competition and exciting gameplay.