Over the last couple of years, I’ve been watching a certain phenomena sprout from within the gaming industry with equal parts intrigue and jealousy.
The jealousy part is simply defined as the ‘90s gamer in me feeling like he was born 20 years too early, but the intrigue is something that has yet to peak and still continues to internally enquire: “What next?”
The phenomenon I speak of is video game streaming – something that is becoming more and more synonymous with modern-day gaming.
To add some context, a recent study estimated that the two biggest video game content streaming platforms, YouTube Gaming and Twitch, together average 550 million unique visitors a month – experiencing separate totals of 330 million and 220 million, respectively. These figures come following the platforms’ compound annual growth rate between 2012 to 2015 of 96 per cent and 134 per cent, respectively.
In fact, the same study showed that, on YouTube Gaming alone in 2015, the top 15 video game streamers had 165 million subscribers between them. That’s an unbelievable audience for these young
adults to tap into.
So you can clearly see that video game streaming is only on the up.
WITH GREAT POWER
Whether it was Churchill, Roosevelt or the pensive narrator in the 1962 edition of Amazing Fantasy – Spider-Man’s intro to the world – that coined the term “with great power comes great responsibility”, they clearly had video game streamers at the back of their mind. So how are these streaming superstars handling the responsibility?
Well, the biggest streamer out there currently is one Felix Kjelberg, aka PewDiePie, who has a massive 40 million subscribers. To date, Felix, with the help of his followers, has helped raise over $1 million for various charities including WWF, St Jude, Save the Children and Charity: Water.
But Felix isn’t the only streamer utilising their power for good; Adam Dahlberg, aka Skydoesminecraft, has 11 million subscribers and has helped raise money for Children’s Miracle Network.
In fact, such is the response from the gaming community that specific charitable streaming events are being created and run year-on-year with the goal of attracting streamers to promote and donate to the causes.
#GamingTuesday – created by Save the Children, a charity that works across the globe to educate and protect children in need – is one of these events. Extra Life is another, and I’m sure that more will spring up in the coming years.
A popular streamer and ambassador for #GamingTuesday, Athene, recently said: “Given the right platform, the right purpose and the right opportunity, gamers can be a life force for good”.
This statement sums up the new phenomenon perfectly. Streamers now have a platform and the opportunity, so why not find a purpose that matters and be a force for good?
Lee Hinds works for Playmob, an organisation dedicated to helping connect games developers with charities and other causes. Find out more at www.playmob.com.