Gamers love streams. There’s something honest and open about watching a streamer play the game you love. There’s a sense of vicarious living and enjoyment that comes from the gameplay or entertainment of a streamer.
Because of this, it makes sense that people want to be streamers. We want to do what we love, be it streaming or professional gaming. Careers that stem strictly from gaming are one of those two options, but streaming doesn’t require you to be a certain skill level.
This makes streaming the most obtainable career when it comes to gaming. You don’t have to take classes or understand the game you play on the highest level. Anyone can pick up streaming and start growing as a streamer, but at what cost?
What it means to stream
On the surface, streaming is a dream job and anyone who has a streaming career should be ecstatic over their sought-after lifestyle. Most streamers are extremely grateful for their careers, with people like Shroud and Seagull moving from professional gaming to streaming because it felt natural and less stress oriented. They also grew tired of the games they played, Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch respectively.
However, like most careers, society only sees and digests the surface level. We don’t understand what comes along with being a doctor or a mechanic, so what makes being a streamer any different? There are countless pressures and expectations when it comes to a career in the entertainment industry.
Speaking of the entertainment industry, streaming is in a weird spot related to other careers. Some streamers don’t rely on any entertainment aspects to spice up their stream. There are very high-level players that are watched for their gameplay entirely, almost completely avoiding any real “stream personality.” Some of these streamers don’t even talk.
Other streamers rely entirely on a persona (like DrDisRespect) and atmospheric attraction that comes along with their streams. These streamers usually read chat very often, not matter how large their stream, making sure to have a close relationship with their viewers.
No matter the streaming niche, there is an emphasis to preform when you stream. For someone who streams full-time to a large viewer base, this could mean eight-hour daily streams of performance. Even for the most eccentric people broadcasting yourself doesn’t come easily.
Society’s Impression of streaming
Along with the pressures of streaming itself, there is a negative stigma tied to gaming and money. The idea of gaming and gamer culture leaves a bad taste for generation X and baby boomers. The creation of video games might be accepted, as the process can be boiled down to the creation of a product, but playing video games for hours a day is seen as horrifying.
It is hard to objectively say that streaming for 5+ hours a day doesn’t have an impact on one’s life. The truth is that we don’t really know what most streamers do outside of their time spent online, and an argument could be made that there is no wrong way to live your life.
Despite the amount of money to be made, society frowns upon streaming and gaming all day. They don’t think too hard about truck drivers who drive for weeks. People don’t think deeply about the reality of most standard careers. Repetitive action and goal-oriented thinking is applied in every job, including streaming.
So why is streaming taxing?
Past the pressures of streaming and society’s general impression of gaming, a job that leaves you drained after constant attention and interaction with anonymous people can have an impact on your mental health. Entertainers as a group might struggle with their personal relationships as they are constantly in front of so many others.
It is essential to understand that a streaming career is not just playing games. If you’re tenacious, consistent, and a little lucky, you’ll be able to build a community that supports you no matter what. Unfortunately, even the most popular streamers aren’t always able to stream what they want or how they want without losing viewers.
This isn’t even considering the steep, up-hill grind that comes with starting out as a streamer. People can go years without forming a consistent enough community to transition into a full-time gig. Most of the time, smaller streamers are juggling their job with streaming.
The bottom line is that streaming is hard. Like, really hard. You’ll lose time with your family. You’ll lose time to do what you want. Like anything in life, games can get stale. You might find yourself in a cycle of playing a game you hate because it’s the only thing people watch from you. If these realities don’t frighten you, then streaming might be something to pursue. Otherwise, I’d suggest keeping it as a hobby until you experience the struggles of streaming.