Spoodah: Turning to Twitch for Income and Becoming a Pro in Rocket League during a Time of Shutdowns

Bryan Fettis reports on a former fry cook and full time student who is now turning more and more to a video live streaming service and playing Rocket League as a professional for some extra income.

With shutdown orders in place due to the novel coronavirus, more than 20 million U.S. residents lost their jobs in April as the unemployment rate jumped to nearly 15 percent, the worst numbers since the Great Depression. Spoodah stretches out as he’s now been playing video games for money up to 70 hours per week, an average of 10 hours per day.

From Five Guys to More Streaming

During this trying time, those who have been laid off or had hours drastically cut, are finding alternate means to support themselves and those they care about.

While some people have started delivering food via options such as DoorDash, UberEats, and Postmates, Spoodah, as he is known online, has embraced streaming video games as his primary source of income.

Previously, Spoodah had been working full time at Five Guys, the popular hamburger chain, but with the shutdown orders, the 20-year-old college student needed to find a way to support himself in these trying times.

A Growing Endeavor

TwitchTV has become a cultural hub of the online community since its early beginnings in the late 2000s.

Primarily used as a platform for anyone to stream their video games for anyone to watch, Twitch also offers a variety of categories such as live music and performance, cooking, live sports, and just chatting. Although the platform has over 15 million daily active viewers, it is very difficult to make a sustainable living streaming video games.

The streamer must be able to juggle playing the game at hand (usually at a high level), interacting with the chatroom and viewers, and marketing themselves as a business that people would like to support via donations, or subscribing to the streamer’s channel for either $5, $10, or $25 a month.

In addition to being a full-time student and former fry cook, Spoodah has cemented himself within the esports community as a public figure in his game of choice: Rocket League.

Spoodah has been streaming since 2017, and the community that he has grown around his personal brand has grown exponentially in the past year. Spoodah is an incredibly talented player, and is currently a substitute player for the professional Rocket League team, the Susquehanna Soniqs.

A screengrab showing Spoodah as a sub on his Rocket League team.

From 20 to 70 Hours a Week

Since COVID-19 has swept the world and left many businesses closed, Spoodah adapted to the changes by increasing the hours per week that he streams from about 20 hours a week, to a whopping 70 hours a week. In doing so, he has seen major increases in his average viewership, as well as a spike in his number of channel subscribers.

“Now that I can dedicate myself to streaming full time, I’m actually making more money this month from Twitch than I would have made working my normal hours at Five Guys,” Spoodah said in an interview conducted via Discord, the communication platform of choice for most gamers.

Spoodah was always hesitant to make the switch to full time streaming, but the countrywide shutdown provided the push that he needed to dedicate himself to his online persona.

“I always knew there would be an audience for me, but I never expected to see such an incredible output of generosity from my community. I have over 1,600 subscribers on Twitch, and I still can’t believe it,” Spoodah said.

How Long will This Last as a Dream Job?

Although he is encouraged by his increasing success on Twitch, Spoodah, like millions of other Americans, is worried about what will happen when the world returns to normal or the “new normal.” Will he lose all the progress he has made because people will be going back to work and no longer watching him play video games?

For now, Spoodah says he plans to just go with the flow and see where the ride takes him. “I’ve loved being able to stream every day, and see how many people I get to interact with while we are all looking for some sort of positivity. All I’m doing is playing video games, but I’m going to keep doing it until I have to go back to getting a real job. But between you and me, this is my dream job.”

Reporting by Bryan Fettis shared with the Reynolds Sandbox

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