Streamers are content creators on platforms like Twitch and Youtube that stream live content—often gaming—to live audiences.
If someone was asked to name a popular streamer, they could probably rattle off a few names like Timthetatman, Dr Lupo or even Ninja. While these streamers have the brand deals, income, and the popularity of being household names, they are a sliver of the entire streaming population. Most streamers are extremely dependent on the income that’s generated from paid subscriptions like subs on Twitch or actual donations—an income that varies month to month. Streamers are known to burn out due to the stress they put on themselves to never miss a stream but to constantly push themselves so they can make ends meet. I should know as I attempted streaming to replace my full-time income before. I streamed on Twitch on and off for the past few years. At my peak, I was making about $100 from the platform. I have had friends who do it full time, and they will tell you the same thing: it is super stressful.
On the surface it sounds fun; you play video games and people watch you and they’ll give you money. On paper that sounds great, but when you consider there are over 9 million streamers active each month, it quickly becomes extremely competitive.
You can see the math lineup for a ton of people who want their share of the pie.
With the addition of NFTs and play to earn gaming, we are watching a transition with streamers and communities.
I spoke with Tyranitar, a popular streamer in the NFT gaming space. He got hooked on a game called Lost Relics when he found out the loot drops could be resold for real money. After discovering Lost Relics, he found himself drawn to Axie Infinity and told me that “Axie Infinity exemplifies the play to earn model the most, because you quite literally play and earn with each victory you have.”
One of the coolest parts of my conversation was when I asked him about his scholarship program: “The issue is most people don’t have the money to put into this game, but still want to earn.”
In Axie Infinity you have to own three Pokemon-inspired characters—called Axies—to play the game. Axies do not come with the game for free; you have to buy them off the market. Tyranitar goes on to explain how the process works: “Let’s say I have a bulk supply, I can’t use them all so I can rent them out to people (for free) who want to play. A lot of these players are located in the Philippines where the wages aren’t as high as in other countries. So we rent out these Axies and I split 70/30 with 30% of their winning being payment for renting the Axie."
Through his scholarship program, he has over 180 players under his wing that he has loaned out Axies to so they can participate in the game. These 180 teams are competing for money and earnings, but they’re also splitting their profits with him. So you have a streamer who has helped educate players on a game and he now has revenue coming in from his participation in a play-to-earn game.