Tobold's Blog
Saturday, August 31, 2019
A very meta post

Jimmy Kimmel once made a skit about video game streaming in which he extrapolated that idea and showed people watching a stream of somebody watching a stream. This is me writing a blog post about somebody streaming video games, so it's about the same level of meta.

Why the interest? First of all, while the medium is obviously somewhat different, making blog posts about video games and streaming video games is more or less the same line of work. I used to write more about blogging, but then of course blogging went out of fashion, and there isn't much more to say about it. Streaming is still comparatively young and evolving. The second reason for this post is that sometimes I see things coming and make "prophetic" blog posts, and it is fun to go back and compare what I wrote before to how it actually played out.

So three weeks ago I wrote about the difficulties of changing your content. Now QuickyBaby, the World of Tanks streamer that I am following, got hooked on World of Warcraft Classic. He went off his usual World of Tanks streaming schedule and didn't stream WoT on Tuesday or Thursday (except for a bit where he was playing WoT while stuck in a WoW queue). Instead he is streaming World of Warcraft Classic every day, in streams of up to 19 hours length. Now WoW is obviously a popular game, and we have here a streamer who now put out a lot more content than he used to. Nevertheless his viewership has gone way down. The recorded videos of his WoT streams tended to get like 10k viewers, his WoW videos get less than 1k.

I already mentioned in a previous post that I find WoW a less watchable game than WoT. But I think the main thing at work here is that if a streamer is well known for streaming one game, much of his audience he accumulated over time will be mostly interested in that one game. Except for the World in the title the two games don't have much in common, and only a fraction of the previous audience is interested in the new content. Now there might be a lot of other people interested in WoW Classic streams, but then there are already tons of WoW streamers, so somebody known for a different game might not be the preferred streamer for the new game.

On a personal level, QuickyBaby has my fullest understanding. He wasn't all that happy in his World of Tanks streams lately, due to the disappointment of the British light tanks new content being so terrible. And getting hooked on World of Warcraft? Been there, done that, so I understand. Getting disenchanted with one game and starting another is a regular occurrence in my gaming life. But if I start blogging about something else, nobody cares, because the blog (and blogging in general) is half dead anyway. It doesn't have any financial impact on me, because my blog isn't monetized.

So the interesting thing to watch with QuickyBaby is how this evolves in the future. He is level 20 after 60 hours of streaming, so it is safe to say that he won't be "finished" with WoW Classic anytime soon. So will he continue streaming only WoW and leave WoT behind? If he does that, will he manage to get his viewer numbers up again? Or will there be a point when his heart tells him to play WoW, but his wallet tells him to play WoT, as streaming is his full-time job? Can he find some sort of hybrid solution, streaming both? Knowing both games that seems somewhat difficult, WoW has a certain tendency to kill your other gaming activities.

So, my apologies for this very meta blog post. But I must say that I find the idea of creating content about video games on the internet as a full-time job very risky. It is like the pinnacle of the gig economy. With my personal interest in both content creation and economy, this is a fascinating case for me.

One of my favourite streamers is brutally honest about this. Streaming is his business and he will drop a game or a topic if the numbers don't show up. There are always some people disappointed when a stream they were enjoying gets canned but he has to follow the audience.
You really need to say "game blogging" when you talk about blogs as a form being dead or even "half dead". As anyone in publishing or bookselling can tell you, and as I've said, with supporting evidence in the past, written blogs are still a very valid path to fame and fortune, at least in the UK. Even when these bloggers have streams and vLogs, they all also have written blogs as well, which is hardly surprisng when what makes them their money is the written word in published form.
Well, how is the blogosphere on other topics doing, let's say gardening or cooking? I would say that it is not so much that "blogging is dead" needs to be limited to "game blogging is dead", but rather we need to say "blogging is dead, except for a few special cases".

It is not a coincidence that Google Reader is discontinued, while Google YouTube is a billion dollar business. Keyboards as peripherals are becoming more exotic by the day, the future is voice input. Hello Alexa, Siri, or whatever. The written word has been reduced to tweets. Even books today sell increasingly as audiobooks. While of course writers may disagree with this, I don't have a very positive outlook for the written word.
I guess this guy will just have to play WoW in his spare time, like everyone else!
> I think the main thing at work here is that if
> a streamer is well known for streaming one game
> much of his audience he accumulated over time
> will be mostly interested in that one game

That's not entirely true: a well-known streamer who's got some success playing game A may easily switch to game B and bring his followers along the way. Because they trust him and they're open to changes and some fresh air. That's what I see with my kids: they have a couple of streamers who switched interests over the past years and they still follow them because they're charismatic, well spoken and -to be honest- intelligent and mature. Which means they're better than most of the TV guys who think they're gods.
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