Why Video Game Streaming and E-Sports are more popular now than ever!

When you get ready for bed, many of you will be opening Netflix to watch an episode of Friends or Breaking Bad. But over the past couple of years, an increasing amount of people such as myself have been substituting that ritual for Twitch, DouYu or YouTube. It’s not just an online phenomenon. Increasingly more people are gathering in giant stadiums similar to the NBA Finals or Premier League soccer championships to watch their favorite streamers live. Several organizations have also been able to secure key sponsorships such as Coca-Cola, Red-Bull, Axe and endorsements from pro-athletes such as Shaquille O’Neal and Jeremy Lin. It’s clear that video games have not only begun to become a principal driver in the entertainment industry but has also become increasingly considered as a professional sport.

The DOTA 2 International @ Key Arena in Seattle — An annual tournament that has only grown in size year over year.
League of Legends North American Championship.

The biggest attraction in the streaming/esports business is the ability to interact. Streamers such as PewDiePie and Faker draw in tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of concurrent viewers whenever they log on to stream. Why do so many people log on to watch whenever they stream? Be it fame, their innate skill at a certain game, the audience’s penchant to make fun of simple mistakes, or just to hang out to relax after work, a good streamer provides an immense amount of entertainment value to the viewer. As a result, sites such as Twitch, DouYu, and YouTube have capitalized on this need by curating an environment where people can easily view their favorite streamers and support them financially via subscriptions, donations, and other paid mediums (e.g. PayPal, Patreon).

Let’s dive into some stats that some of you guys might find shocking.

  1. In 2016, video game revenues hit $91 billion. Compare that to the global movie and music industry that pulled in $38 and $43 billion in revenue, respectively.
  2. The top YouTube channel is not Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber, but actually PewdiePie, a popular video game streamer.
Videos, Subs and Views via Statistica.com

3. Twitch reached the 4th highest internet traffic during peak hours behind Google, Apple and Netflix back in 2014.

So what are some of the hottest teams and companies helping this space grow right now?

  1. Discord — Many companies have tried to solve the problem of collaborative communication between teammates in games and many have failed. Though Discord still faces some steep challenges such as network quality in terms of microphone communications, it has done leaps and bounds in terms of helping people create servers and rooms to chat easily and without hassle. It’s grown so fast in fact that people are using the app to just hang out and chat and share random tidbits with friends and strangers alike! Everyone should have Discord regardless of whether or not you play games since it makes communication with your friends just a click away (seriously I use it daily)
  2. Streamlabs — Backed by some heavy hitters in Battery Ventures and Sequoia, Streamlabs helps streamers better market themselves and show off their personality by providing them with options to customize alerts, donations, and much more tools to increase viewer engagement. I once watched a streamer named Hafu’s notification system go haywire (in a good way) and subsequently fueled a wave of over 120 subscriptions and donations in less than an hour which netted her at least $7,000 in income in that short period of time. That’s not even the record either — Anomaly once had a sub train (a series of nonstop new subscribers) of over 11K people in just over an hour of streaming. What was he doing during that hour? Mostly looking at fake 3-D rendered knives in the popular game Counter-Strike.
  3. NRG E-Sports — Maybe the owners of the Sacramento Kings should just commit to their gaming organization full time. The founders behind NRG Esports include Shaq, A-Rod and Jimmy Rollins who believe that E-Sports will one day rival that of traditional sports.
  4. Turtle Entertainment — The masterminds behind ESL Gaming, one of the largest esports organizations in the world. Aside from the major corporations such as Valve and Riot Games, these independent organizers were one of the forerunners in curating some of the largest esports events at the largest sports arenas in Europe and North america.
  5. Razer — These guys are changing the way people think about mice and keyboards. When you are making peripherals for people who are staring at a screen playing or scrimmaging all day, you can be sure that the peripherals they use are top notch in terms of comfort and usability. I’ve seen many people comment on how they can never go back to your standard Dell/Apple mouse after using a gaming mouse. The ergonomics and comfort will really shock you if you give it a try!
Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Harry Li’s story.