SSF4: Streams and making it a full time job.

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StaticFalconar

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Edited By StaticFalconar

SSF4: Streams and making it a full time job.

Welcome to another Perch of StaticFalconar, this is a retrospective blog about my gaming experience in 2010.

            In the beginning of this year, there was Frame advantage, iplaywinner, levelup and probably some others I cannot think of, off the top of my head. Sure enough, Frame Advantage died overnight as Team Spooky rose up and now Team Spooky is part of norcal’s iplaywinner’s stream. I have no idea why Frame Advantage died overnight and I’m sure there was some drama behind it. Yet one thing was for sure; ever since SF4 (and eventually SSF4) came out having streams for your tournament has become a standard.

            Sure, having viewers could bring in some potential ad revenue as well as the streams themselves could be sponsored and constantly drop names of stuff you should buy. Yet, the beginning of anything is very hard work as no audience is established and you are basically pitching people to give you money for something that is simply not established. Sure, as more streams get on, there would be more solid numbers to back your claims, but what about the audience of a “Stream Monster”?

            At Evo, G4TV had a grand time streaming the finals and the comments made in the stream chat was just trolling so hard it even made G4TV blush. Some of it is just a matter of a couple of bad apples spoiling the whole lot, since I watch plenty of streams but never actually enter the chat. As much as the chat is filled with Stream Monsters that can make a sailor blush, in the infancy of all the streams donations was the only thing that made it stay alive. As much as I never entered the fray of the chat box of being a Stream Monster, I also never actually donated any money to help the stream either. Perhaps there is something to it that can make the whole stream business sustainable.

            Another advancement in the tournament scene besides the fame of being on the stream, is actually being sponsored. Sure history was made in the drama of JWong disowning the Empire and signing with EG. But that was just the beginning as many other players now don’t have to beg for money to travel and can just focus on winning. This of course is another step forward since there are plenty of people that may not win tournaments, but are good enough to keep a certain level of competition or give insight into the streams that they are invaluable. The constant winners like Jwong and Daigo can actually make a profit by sheer winnings, but there is a mountain of other players that constantly lose money for every tournament they don’t place in.

            Sure the last place winners may not deserve to be sponsored, but the tournament/stream is only as interesting as the competition that surrounds 1 place. This is why players have to be sponsored as a step forward. If other competitions (like sports) had only given money to top 3 (or 8 in bigger tournaments), then the system as a whole cannot be sustainable. Now, before you laugh and say fighting games isn’t Sports at all, just remember, they are both there to entertain us.

So Stream Monsters, how do you feel about the state of streams today? Do you just roll your eyes at a player/stream asking for donations or would you rather just see it filled with advertising?

I’m not done with SSF4, tomorrow the more obvious one; JWong and Daigo. 

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StaticFalconar

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#1  Edited By StaticFalconar

SSF4: Streams and making it a full time job.

Welcome to another Perch of StaticFalconar, this is a retrospective blog about my gaming experience in 2010.

            In the beginning of this year, there was Frame advantage, iplaywinner, levelup and probably some others I cannot think of, off the top of my head. Sure enough, Frame Advantage died overnight as Team Spooky rose up and now Team Spooky is part of norcal’s iplaywinner’s stream. I have no idea why Frame Advantage died overnight and I’m sure there was some drama behind it. Yet one thing was for sure; ever since SF4 (and eventually SSF4) came out having streams for your tournament has become a standard.

            Sure, having viewers could bring in some potential ad revenue as well as the streams themselves could be sponsored and constantly drop names of stuff you should buy. Yet, the beginning of anything is very hard work as no audience is established and you are basically pitching people to give you money for something that is simply not established. Sure, as more streams get on, there would be more solid numbers to back your claims, but what about the audience of a “Stream Monster”?

            At Evo, G4TV had a grand time streaming the finals and the comments made in the stream chat was just trolling so hard it even made G4TV blush. Some of it is just a matter of a couple of bad apples spoiling the whole lot, since I watch plenty of streams but never actually enter the chat. As much as the chat is filled with Stream Monsters that can make a sailor blush, in the infancy of all the streams donations was the only thing that made it stay alive. As much as I never entered the fray of the chat box of being a Stream Monster, I also never actually donated any money to help the stream either. Perhaps there is something to it that can make the whole stream business sustainable.

            Another advancement in the tournament scene besides the fame of being on the stream, is actually being sponsored. Sure history was made in the drama of JWong disowning the Empire and signing with EG. But that was just the beginning as many other players now don’t have to beg for money to travel and can just focus on winning. This of course is another step forward since there are plenty of people that may not win tournaments, but are good enough to keep a certain level of competition or give insight into the streams that they are invaluable. The constant winners like Jwong and Daigo can actually make a profit by sheer winnings, but there is a mountain of other players that constantly lose money for every tournament they don’t place in.

            Sure the last place winners may not deserve to be sponsored, but the tournament/stream is only as interesting as the competition that surrounds 1 place. This is why players have to be sponsored as a step forward. If other competitions (like sports) had only given money to top 3 (or 8 in bigger tournaments), then the system as a whole cannot be sustainable. Now, before you laugh and say fighting games isn’t Sports at all, just remember, they are both there to entertain us.

So Stream Monsters, how do you feel about the state of streams today? Do you just roll your eyes at a player/stream asking for donations or would you rather just see it filled with advertising?

I’m not done with SSF4, tomorrow the more obvious one; JWong and Daigo. 

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Gaff

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#2  Edited By Gaff

This will probably go over as well as the MLG rumours earlier this year: shot down due to internet entitlement and the fear of letting the mainstream in on our most sacred of hobbies.

We can never have nice things.

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#3  Edited By gosukiller
@Gaff: I'd say the fear of letting mainstream in is quite an objective fear, at least from a streammonster standpoint.
 
I approve of how Iplaywinner and Teamspooky handle the Madcatz, Hori, etc. sponsorships. It's not an obnoxious energy-drink/doritos ad and it's actually relevant to people who are interested in fiighting-game streams (aka discounts/promotion on fighting game stuff).
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#4  Edited By McGhee

Man, do I miss Frame Advantage Dot Com. The loss of the commentary of Seb, Yipes, and especially Chris Hu has left me sad. 
 
Just remember, "YOU DON'T SCARE. I DON'T SCARE."

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#5  Edited By Necrotrophic

i cant justify donating when there are people that actually need the money, so id rather see ads. it would make a lot of sense for madcatz, hori,  fg companies etc to do a ton of advertisements during these streams. itll be cheap, and its directly to its audience 
 
many of the streams have advertised really good deals for sticks etc and i imagine they probably worked out well for the companies involved.

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#6  Edited By mrjared

As Media Consultant for iPlayWinner I can tell you this with absolute certainty: There is no money to be made in running streams, which is why you've seen a lot less iPW streams with the exception of Starbase and majors. It's a lot of fun, sure, but it's also an incredible amount of hard work for something that, to be honest, it doesn't seem like a whole lot of people appreciate. In the end, running a big stream is more or less an advertisement for your site where there is potentially a lot more money involved what with better advertisers, referrals and all that good stuff. I seriously can't think of a stream we've done in which we've seen a significant return on investment, even with our streams doing 80,000 uniques in a weekend, where the effort couldn't have been put to better use on the website. 
 
I love running streams but every time I run a major for iPlayWinner I'm constantly reminded why I stopped doing it.
 
Edit: Also, on the topic of donations, I've never liked it. Especially when, in the past, the people who beg most for donations don't actually invest back into the product.

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lordofultima

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#7  Edited By lordofultima

Streams don't make money, it's all for the love of the game. WHICH IS THE WAY IT SHOULD BE ANYWAY.

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#8  Edited By sixghost

This is incredibly off-topic, but I don't think it warrants its own thread. Why does it seem like there's so much disdain for the people who just watch tourneys on streams without going out to events? I haven't watched a SF stream in a while but around the time of the games release it seemed like the casters/players were always making fun of the people watching the stream as a whole, saying they don't know wtf they're talking about. Or sometimes when people in the stream would ask why a certain match wasn't being streamed, people would get defensive and respond with stuff like, "it's not being streamed, maybe you should have come to the fucking event if you wanted to see them play".  I understand they want to get people to come out to their events but that always struck me as really weird, as if the people watching on the stream were somehow a burden upon them.

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#9  Edited By Necrotrophic

i think if some of the bigger streams actually had commercials in between some fights, money could be made. 
 
its very niche, so it would have to be gaming companies trying to make money off of fg fans.

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lordofultima

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#10  Edited By lordofultima
@sixghost said:
" This is incredibly off-topic, but I don't think it warrants its own thread. Why does it seem like there's so much disdain for the people who just watch tourneys on streams without going out to events? I haven't watched a SF stream in a while but around the time of the games release it seemed like the casters/players were always making fun of the people watching the stream as a whole, saying they don't know wtf they're talking about. Or sometimes when people in the stream would ask why a certain match wasn't being streamed, people would get defensive and respond with stuff like, "it's not being streamed, maybe you should have come to the fucking event if you wanted to see them play".  I understand they want to get people to come out to their events but that always struck me as really weird, as if the people watching on the stream were somehow a burden upon them. "
Well, I think it's pretty hilarious, but a bit puzzling at the same time, especially for people that are just dropping into the stream casually.
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Jeffsekai

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#11  Edited By Jeffsekai
@lordofultima said:

" @sixghost said:

" This is incredibly off-topic, but I don't think it warrants its own thread. Why does it seem like there's so much disdain for the people who just watch tourneys on streams without going out to events? I haven't watched a SF stream in a while but around the time of the games release it seemed like the casters/players were always making fun of the people watching the stream as a whole, saying they don't know wtf they're talking about. Or sometimes when people in the stream would ask why a certain match wasn't being streamed, people would get defensive and respond with stuff like, "it's not being streamed, maybe you should have come to the fucking event if you wanted to see them play".  I understand they want to get people to come out to their events but that always struck me as really weird, as if the people watching on the stream were somehow a burden upon them. "
Well, I think it's pretty hilarious, but a bit puzzling at the same time, especially for people that are just dropping into the stream casually. "
Putting stream monsters on blast. 
 
 
 
@McGhee_the_Insomniac said:
" Man, do I miss Frame Advantage Dot Com. The loss of the commentary of Seb, Yipes, and especially Chris Hu has left me sad.  Just remember, "YOU DON'T SCARE. I DON'T SCARE." "
What ever happened to Seb?
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#12  Edited By taccyp

I love how everyone thinks that there's some kind of gold mine hidden deeply beneath the surface of the fighting game scene ("YO, THIS SHIT IS GOING TO BE ON TV ONE DAY"). I don't think a lot of people understand how incredibly small and niche the entire thing is. Unless I'm just an idiot, I don't think there is any money to be made by anyone. Players make money on winnings (and sponsorships? I don't know anything about the player/sponsor relationship) if they are good enough to place in the top 3, but how someone can live off of that is beyond me. If only hardcore players bought fighting games, then fighting games would stop being made, thats just how small of a community we are. Fighting games are sustained by the casual crowd who pick up the game for a week and then quit, which is the vast majority.
 
I'm a dedicated stream monster and I am extremely grateful to all of the people who run the streams, but sometimes I wonder why the guys bother doing it. I suppose it's for the love of the community and the games, and for that the iplaywinner, Team Spooky, Level Up, ect. crews deserve fucking medals. I solute those guys.    
 
As for the douche bags who troll the streams, those guys are just a vocal minority of assholes. Pop the chat out and the problem is solved.
 
There's only 1 place in the entire world where competitive gaming generates a significant audience and any kind of revenue stream and that place is South Korea. And who knows how the fuck that happened. I suppose it was just a perfect storm of circumstances that catapulted competitive Starcraft into the mainstream. Although I've heard stories that Starcraft's popularity in Korea is a little exaggerated. Who knows.
 
Looking at the FGC in terms of money and sponsorships seems really cynical and misguided. Sure, the community will continue to grow with the releases of upcoming games, but unless something crazy happens, fighting games will never appear on ESPN. I mean cmon (I'll have you know that I have seen starry eyed people on streams say it). I think the scene has the potential to get really big, but it's never going to reach the critical mass to where it becomes a mainstream thing.  It doesn't need to become a mainstream thing to justify participating in it.
 
Yeah that was hella rambling, but It's something that's been on my mind lately.

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Bloodgraiv3

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#13  Edited By Bloodgraiv3

I can't justify donating that money. 
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Jeffsekai

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#14  Edited By Jeffsekai
@TaccyP: No one thinks there is a "Gold Mine" of money to be made from Fighting Games.
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#15  Edited By Necrotrophic

I think the fgc will be much larger than it is today but will never reach the starcraft status like in south korea. 
 
and taccyp, I dont think you're an idiot lol, what youve said is mostly correct.  however, I disagree about the money thing. I think there is money to be made, maybe only by a few companies but its something. I imagine the cost for an ad is quite cheap, and considering the ridiculous markup on these TE sticks we all keep buying (they are nice though :P) theres gotta be some profit being made. 
 
Any company that makes fighting games, or fighting game related products should probably be advertising on the major streams. I wouldnt be surprised to see this become the norm in a few years.
 
Evo had a ton of viewers and was on television, i dont know how much money it made but still, its clear that its growing. 

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StaticFalconar

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#16  Edited By StaticFalconar
@MrJared: If you have 80k uniques and it still doesn't make a big enough return to make it worthwhile then yeah totally scale back a bit. Other then the really big regional tournaments like NCR, and of course Evo, we don't need coverage on every single tournament ever. This would also make the once a month tournament that is streamed seem more significant like PPV MMA fight over seeing the latest Spar match up on the Ultimate fighter. 
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#17  Edited By AURON570

I think I heard or read somewhere that Seb (in charge of FADC) is just taking a long break to sort out real-life. I could be wrong though, so don't quote me. I also miss FADC a whole lot, I think they're the very first stream that I started watching.

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lordofultima

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#18  Edited By lordofultima
@AURON570 said:
" I think I heard or read somewhere that Seb (in charge of FADC) is just taking a long break to sort out real-life. I could be wrong though, so don't quote me. I also miss FADC a whole lot, I think they're the very first stream that I started watching. "
FADC is done. Seb has done work for MLG since then, commentating Tekken.
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#19  Edited By Karkarov
@StaticFalconar said:
" @MrJared: If you have 80k uniques and it still doesn't make a big enough return to make it worthwhile then yeah totally scale back a bit. Other then the really big regional tournaments like NCR, and of course Evo, we don't need coverage on every single tournament ever. This would also make the once a month tournament that is streamed seem more significant like PPV MMA fight over seeing the latest Spar match up on the Ultimate fighter.  "
Over saturation can actually go a long way toward killing these types of events so your point here is pretty valid.  When there is a tournament every two weeks every tournament just matters that much less.  It isn't like this is boxing, it doesn't take Daigo 3 months to train for a fight and he has no "belt" to defend.  Thing is though that is why boxing or MMA works, because the fights are rare enough to stand out and be special. 
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#20  Edited By 617_jbug

Seb does commentary on MLG Tekken.  I honestly prefer Team Spooky to FADC (not knocking Seb). 

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#21  Edited By scarace360
@MrJared said:
"As Media Consultant for iPlayWinner I can tell you this with absolute certainty: There is no money to be made in running streams, which is why you've seen a lot less iPW streams with the exception of Starbase and majors. It's a lot of fun, sure, but it's also an incredible amount of hard work for something that, to be honest, it doesn't seem like a whole lot of people appreciate. In the end, running a big stream is more or less an advertisement for your site where there is potentially a lot more money involved what with better advertisers, referrals and all that good stuff. I seriously can't think of a stream we've done in which we've seen a significant return on investment, even with our streams doing 80,000 uniques in a weekend, where the effort couldn't have been put to better use on the website.   I love running streams but every time I run a major for iPlayWinner I'm constantly reminded why I stopped doing it.  Edit: Also, on the topic of donations, I've never liked it. Especially when, in the past, the people who beg most for donations don't actually invest back into the product. "

Are you telling me that i shouldnt have given my money to IPW? Cause haunts was like yo we need money and i was like i have money take some and i donated. Now i just feel used.
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#22  Edited By Shingin

Don't go into streaming unless you have a ton of money to burn. I'm a founder of Level|Up and I'm the guy who does a lot of the streaming, recording and social media content for levelup.   I do have to agree with Jared that streaming is takes a ton of hard work and technical knowhow, is extremely stressful and a lot of times in my case I'm still doing work after the event is over. I'd say majority of viewers don't appreciate the amount of work/money that goes into running these events. For donations the dirty truth is nobody really donates unless you have the chance of winning something out of it like an Arcade Stick. One thing I'll will say about streaming the viewer counts have been getting bigger and bigger each year along with expectations.
 
As for seb when we did Midwest Championships last year the guy looked pretty tired of it and i think he knew that to keep up with the others who were picking up their streaming game he'd need to put a lot more time and money into it.

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