If you are not a fan of what happens behind the scenes of video games and you are not fond of discussions on video game translation and localization, this post will likely bore you. There are no Netflix-like entertainment bits here. Rather, the discussions below are on what video game streaming is, how it works, its role in expanding your video games overseas and how language services come into play.
Video game Netflix-ing
As mentioned, the Netflix-ing in the title refers to the live streaming of a video game. Also known as video game play streaming, it is the practice of broadcasting live an ongoing video game. It rose to popularity in the early to mid 2010s with the launch of Twitch, a live streaming platform owned by an Amazon subsidiary of the same name. Now, the live streaming of video games is done through several platforms including YouTube and social media, Facebook in particular.
Game streaming, just like Netflix, can be live or on-demand. Most streamers do live broadcasts of their games, but these live videos are eventually stored in a server to become accessible later on for those who failed to catch the live stream.
Since Netflix is being mentioned here, it’s worth dropping a few other online streaming names that are somehow related to the discussion here. The popularity of Twitch as a video game streaming platform is notable because in around 2014, the site was actually attracting more traffic than the online video streaming service of HBO. Twitch, by the way, was originally created as a spinoff of Justin.tv, a general interest video streaming site similar to YouTube that was eventually shut down so the owners could focus on Twitch.
In 2015, acknowledging the impact and popularity of video game streaming, YouTube officially launched YouTube Gaming. Gamers could actually already broadcast their gaming streams live on YouTube. The YouTube live broadcast feature was introduced in April 2011. However, YouTube wanted to create a special section that focuses on gaming, a place where gamers wouldn’t stumble upon a Justin Bieber video, for example, when they were supposedly looking for a Call of Duty stream.
Other notable names in the video game streaming niche are the Microsoft-owned Mixer, the result of the Azubu and Hibox.tv merger Smashcast.tv, and the P2P technology-based video streaming service AfreecaTV.
Demonstrating how popular video game streaming is, gaming consoles such as the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have integrated streaming features. They may also utilize the device’s camera to enable video-based interaction with the streamer. Additionally, new laptops specially designed for gaming have their system for handling video game streaming (as streamer or viewer).
Reasons for video game streaming
Why do gamers do a live broadcast of their games? There are three main reasons:
- Entertainment for other gamers
Just like sports or e-sports, there are video game fans or enthusiasts who enjoy watching games especially among well-known gamers.
- Connection and competition among fans
Video game streaming can be a way of building a community. It showcases the talents/skills of players and serves as a motivation to continuously improve. In many cases, the streams also serve as a platform for “clashing” teams of gamers to watch and document their battles.
- A way to make money
Becoming a streamer can be financially rewarding. A popular gamer who does live game broadcasts can accumulate subscribers and fans, who may offer donations or send gifts to the gaming “celebrity” they admire. There are streaming platforms that come with a “Donation” button, which can earn easy money for streamers.
In Twitch, there is a tipping system for users referred to as “cheering,” which allows viewers to send cheers to their favorite streamers in the form of Bits, an online currency used on the platform. Viewers can also earn Bits by watching ads. These Bits can be converted to cash at the following rate: 1,000 Bits = $10.
Also in Twitch, subscribers can mean cash. If you accumulate a good number of subscribers that provide a minimum of 500 regular viewers, you can become a Twitch Partner and earn $2.50 monthly for every subscriber you have.
Moreover, you can make money through ads displayed during the game stream. In Twitch, for example, ad revenues can reach around $250 per month for every 100 subscribers. Popular gamers can also make money by becoming endorsers or by getting sponsors.
There are so-called professional video game streamers who successfully combine dexterous play, commentary, and entertainment to make good amounts of money while enjoying their favorite video games and connecting with fans. Professional streamers can earn in the range of $100,000 to $300,000 in a year. Some make even more, especially those who attract large business sponsors. It depends on the popularity on the streaming platforms, number of subscribers, reach, and the deals closed with businesses that seek endorsers or brand ambassadors.
Effects on video game reach and marketing
In video game streaming, the game is rarely the focus. It is largely relegated into the background as most viewers tend to be more concerned about the celebrity gamers, the teams, and the battles. As such, game streaming does not really make for a good method for promoting a new video game to new players. Arguably, it may only be used to promote an already established game with a considerable number of players.
The games that are being streamed, after all, are only those that have already attracted fans who can become the viewers of the streamed games. Who would consider watching a game stream if not many know about it? Why would you stream a game barely anyone knows?
It’s possible to use game streaming as part of a marketing campaign to promote a new game, but it would be an extremely costly endeavor. For one, the marketing team (that promotes the game) has to find creative ways to convince players to watch the game streams and spread the word about it. This would require massive resources especially if the goal is to introduce a game to a foreign market. Forcing viewers to watch a stream almost always fails to achieve any beneficial outcome.
Inserting translations to penetrate foreign markets
Again, video game streaming as a marketing strategy only works for games that are somewhat already established. “Netflix-ing” a game can boost the international reach of a game that already has a good following. The collection of recorded games can serve as references for players who may be interested in a game being promoted. These video games can offer glimpses into battle tactics, inspire the development of new strategies, or simply serve as an entertaining timewaster for game fans.
To make these (completed) video games more enticing to gamers who speak different languages, it helps adding translations in them. Translated streams can attract more eyeballs from foreign markets. These translations could be in the form of subtitles or interpreting (very rare). The archived videos of completed games, especially high profile ones featuring international video game competitions, can be more useful and enjoyable to viewers if they come with translations.
Streamers are likely to be the ones who would be more interested (compared to video game publishers) in providing translations for their streamed games. After all, they are the ones who will benefit the most from the increased subscriptions and views coming from non-English-speaking countries. They will be the ones who would gain new followers, fans, or online friends who can be sources for donations, tips, and valuable interactions.
Video game creators, publishers, or marketers may also consider supporting the streamers by helping them with the translation expenses. Ultimately, they can also benefit from the growing clout of streamers who play their games. Establishing a global community of gamers who enjoy the same games is one way of furthering the popularity of an already known title.
Want to attract more fans and followers to your live game stream? Contact us!
If you want to use your video game stream to reach out to audiences beyond regions that use the same language as yours, you can have your live game stream translated or interpreted in real-time. You can attract more fans and followers better if your audience understands you in the language they accustomed to using. Enhance your interaction with your followers through high-quality interpreting and translation services from Day Translations, Inc. We have hundreds of interpreters and translators from different parts of the world who can competently enable understanding for the fans of your video game broadcast. Contact us via email or call the telephone number 1-800-969-6853 to talk to our staff and discuss the details of the language service you need. Our lines are open 24/7.
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