The growth seen in the gaming industry in the last few months can be directed to several streams- the pandemic, mergers and acquisitions between industries, and even new technology. However, another source that is often looked past consists of gaming influencers, better known as streamers. Video game streaming has significantly grown on social media like YouTube and Facebook, however, it has also led to an increased use of livestream platforms dedicated to gaming, such as Twitch and Caffeine.tv. These gaming influencers have their accounts over social media, as well as these gaming-specific websites and applications.
These gaming livestreams include gamers talking about their lifestyles, advertise game creators, and review games as part of promoting them. Game livestreaming is a niche market that yields to millions of subscribers and audience members. Gaming website Twitch was acquired by Amazon who recognized the potential growth in this industry. By August 2014, Twitch had up to 55 million monthly active users. Due to celebrity collaborations and broadcasts, these numbers have skyrocketed through the years. In 2020, Twitch has 3.8 million users, an estimated revenue of $1.54 billion, and an 18% growth in the number of streamers.
Over half of their users are between 18-34 years old, allowing them to target Gen Z and Millenials through streaming, with 73% under the age of 35. Furthermore, there is a global viewership with a majority of the viewers in the USA, Germany, South Korea, and Russia. Streamers are encouraged to create more content as they get paid for the hours of content they create, subscriptions to their channels, and ads played on their channels.
The top gaming influencers for this year are Cupquake, Ninja, and Syndicate to name a few. However, micro-influencers with fewer followers have also been getting fame recently. Micro-influencers seen on Instagram include Ryan Raposo and “alexexraa”, both of whom specialize in FIFA. They are also featured on several gaming pages and stream their games with other players on Twitch. This has led to them partnering with professional football teams such as the Vancouver WhiteCaps FC. Both have less than 5000 followers, allowing them to post for a niche audience.
However, there is also a potential for growth through micro-influencers, which includes influencers that have a niche segment of viewers, and can be narrowed down to what genre of games they focus on. The use of micro-influencers can be strategic for businesses that are looking for influencers with the same viewers as the consumer base. Micro-influencers have a more loyal and engaged reach, which makes them equal competitors to other, more famous influencers.
These gaming influencers play all genres of games ranging from e-sports, to PC, and even consoles, such as the PlayStation consoles. This guarantees gamers and viewers to find streamers that best match their interests. So for viewers, who are assumed to have played the same role as the streamer in the game, there is a sense of familiarity and ease with them. Many streamers charge a monthly fee to their viewers and subscribers.
Overall, the industry has grown significantly through the number of streamers, their subscribers, and viewership. Through influencers such as streamers, any consumer goods-oriented business can rake up a number of users by effectively finding and matching with the right influencer (i.e. micro and macro). This allows them to identify and target a niche audience from the start, guaranteeing a reach to a highly engaged younger audience that prefers to spend less time on other activities.