March 14th, 2018 was a watershed moment not just in streaming, but in video games. Drake, the legendary multi-platinum selling musician, teamed up with Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, the amazing Halo and Fortnite professional gamer turned pro streamer, to shatter viewing records on Twitch. They were later joined by Travis Scott, a rapper, and Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster a Wide Receiver from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Twitch, as some of you are just discovering because of this very night, is a streaming platform owned and operated by Amazon that allows people to stream video games, board games, “In Real Life,” and more. If you’re struggling to understand how this works, I highly recommend creating a Twitch account. It’s completely free. But, for now, think of it as reality television with activities. Anyone can hop online and start streaming whatever game they like or they can just stream themselves walking around outside. The platform is completely up to you…but no porn.
Let’s look at the stats from last night. Ninja and Drake hit 630,000 concurrent viewers. The previous record was 380,000 concurrent viewers which was set just last month by Dr. Disrespect — one the biggest streamers on Twitch. Tweets about the event reached just as crazy levels; take a look: Drake 354k tweets, Ninja 414k tweets, Travis 83.5k tweets, and Fortnite 326k tweets. This was at 11:38 PM PST on 3/14/18.
News spread like wildfire that Ninja and Drake were teaming. I saw it jump from 200,000 viewers to 300,000 to 400,000. At this point I started texting all my friends who stream. It then jumped to 500,000 to 600,000, it was insane. If you’re wondering why are people streaming games and why are people watching? I understand. People play because it’s a terrific feeling to be recognized as being great at a game or being to be entertaining and able to hold an audience, but there is also money in it.
Estimates are that Ninja received 180,000 subscribers last night which totals out to around $500,000 dollars if these people just subscribed for one month, and that doesn’t take into account donations or bit cheering (which we will talk about in a future article). The possibilities of streaming were realized last night. Many of us have been saying how popular streaming was going to become but we had put this culture-wide phenomenon down the road a few years as acceptance grew and filtered through to the mainstream.
Well, that was thrown out the window last night and all it took was a celebrity gamer. This is a huge moment in video games, eSports, and streaming. We are about to see a massive influx of streamers…and more importantly, celebrity streamers. Now you might start wondering, well, how good was Drake that he brought in so many viewers?
In all honesty, he wasn’t that good. Ju-Ju and Travis were even worse. Haha. But Ninja is a beast. Ninja carried the team, but it wasn’t about being the best last night. It was about having fun and you can tell they were doing just that. They had good banter, they were laughing, and the fun they were having was reflected by the amount of viewers they garnered. It was very much like playing with my friends. That’s what was so great about it. It wasn’t forced or fake, it wasn’t someone just getting a check to play with a streamer—which is about to happen now—it was about a handful of friends hopping on to play a game… and share it with the world.
And share it with the world they did. This morning the story was picked by Forbes, the BBC, ESPN, and every single video game and music site you can imagine across the globe—I saw Russians, Greeks, Canadians (which makes sense) and European news agencies speaking about it, not just Americans.
What does all of this have to do with the average streamer or person wanting to start streaming? Well, for one, it shows that you don’t necessarily have to be great at your game. You have to have a great personality and you have to be able to interact with your audience. This morning I’ve seen countless people reach out to celebrities to come play with them. Obviously you won’t be hitting that mark just yet, but you might. Develop your brand, be fun, get people to watch you and reach out to people to play with. Not just celebrities but other streamers. Talk to people you like to watch, engage with the community, and help grow streaming and eSports to the full Drake and Ninja potential we now know is possible.
But, before you do any of that, you have to know where to start. That’s what we’re here for. We’re going to walk you through setup, we’re going to take questions, we’re going to show you the gear we use, the gear celebrities use, the common issues you’ll encounter as you go from a new streamer to a pro streamer. So send in your questions, add us on twitter @StreamGearTv, and get ready for the most comprehensive guide to streaming on the internet.