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.