How to Get Rich Playing Video Games Online using Twitch
Garcia, known online as Towelliee, is a star broadcaster on Twitch, a streaming platform whose popularity has turned recreational gaming into an improbably viable career. Each month, a hundred million visitors watch their favorite personalities play video games on Twitch, spending an average of nearly two hours a day there. This audience is large enough to make the site one of the twenty most trafficked in the U.S., yet it’s perhaps more apt to measure Twitch against a different medium. With viewership numbers that rival those of MSNBC or CNN, Twitch is less like a conventional Web site than like a kaleidoscopic television network: thousands of channels at once, broadcasting live at every hour of the day.
Game streaming, Garcia discovered, required non-stop work. The only way to attract viewers, and to prevent the ones you had from straying to other broadcasters, was to be online constantly, so he routinely streamed for eighteen hours a day. “That’s what I had to do to grow the viewership,” he said. His ankles swelled from sitting at his computer. His weight grew to four hundred and twenty pounds.
The central mystery of Twitch, at least to newcomers, is why anyone would choose to watch such a thing, when he could play the game instead. Twitch’s spokesman, who goes only by Chase, argued, “That’s like saying to a chef, ‘Why are you watching the Food Network? Shouldn’t you be in the kitchen, cooking?’ Or to an athlete, ‘Why are you watching ESPN? Shouldn’t you be out shooting hoops?’ No. People enjoy watching others who are good at what they do.”
In the next few years, Dariani expects, the annual marketing expenditure on Twitch streamers will surpass a billion dollars. By his rough estimate, two thousand broadcasters are already making a middle-class income through Twitch; he has seen clients turn down fifty thousand dollars for a two-hour convention appearance because they didn’t want to deal with the travel.