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South African gamers, you need to back local Twitch Streamers

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Streaming is something a lot of you are familiar with. For a lot of people, tuning to their favourite streamer and watching them play a good game is an extremely enjoyable experience. We all have our personal preference, and it’s no secret that some of the popular streamers out there make an untold amount of money. Some base their income solely on streaming via subscribers, sponsors and donations (some ranging in the tens of thousands). Unfortunately these streamers are based in Europe and America, and once again South Africa is late to the party. But what about those who can stream in South Africa? What are we doing wrong?

Allow me to preface this by saying this is not for my personal agenda. My aim here is to bring awareness to a problem that has deeply upset me in the past few months, please allow me to elaborate.

Why can’t I stream?

One of the many queries we receive here at MWEB GameZone are from avid gamers who want a piece of the streaming pie. The question is “If MWEB are so involved in gaming, why don’t they offer packages or sponsor streamers?” That’s a more generalized question, but most are along those lines. There are many reasons why, and I’m going to point them out right now. Make sure you’re sitting down.

Firstly, our infrastructure in South Africa doesn’t allow any capabilities for streaming through ADSL. The exchanges placed throughout our cities only offer 0.5mbps upload, and this is the standard. Some of the newer infrastructure being implemented still only offers 1mbps upload, which is still not enough to stream comfortably. Obviously with Fibre To Home packages you’re able to stream, but then you’d probably pay a fortune to stream, and that’s not the idea here. The premise of streaming as a young gamer (who may also be a student) is to tap into a market that rewards you at a minimal cost. Most of the popular streamers in the world are students or young gamers who, due to their location, tapped into this market and are now reaping the rewards. Paying an arm and a leg in South Africa is just not an option.

Secondly, almost every gamer in South Africa wants to stream. As I alluded to it’s a market which is flourishing, so why wouldn’t you want a piece of the pie? This point needs further investigation and understanding, and this is where we get serious.

Where are the viewers?

Twitch statistics revealed that unique Twitch connections from South Africa range are around 160,000+. That is an amazing stat, it shows the incredible audience we have here and that there is in fact a market for streaming in South Africa. But where are the viewers?

MWEB GameZone has been running a streaming initiative for the past month where we stream a different game each day of the week. Some days have included giveaways, like our Heroes of The Storm Beta Key giveaways, others for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. While we’re not famous streamers, one thing which has really upset me is the amount of viewers we get. I completely understand that it takes time to build an audience, for that I’m not upset, but I’m not here to tell you to support our stream, but rather to support those in South Africa who can stream.

If 160,000 people are watching Twitch TV from South Africa, why do our local streams gauge five  viewers? Are people unaware of these streamers? Are they streaming at odd times? How can we fix this?

Support your local streamers

If you’re wondering why ISPs don’t offer streaming sponsorships, or pacakges, let me hit you with some knowledge.

Yes, only the few elite dip their hands in to the Twitch cookie jar, but what most of you don’t realize is that South Africa is on the verge of breaking into that world. South Africa is the Wild West for gaming. Every up and coming company, gaming organization and individual is trying to tap into the “gold mines” that is gaming in South Africa. eSports, for example, rivals Hollywood in terms of net profit growth.

To get back on topic, you need to support your local streamers. The only way these packages or sponsorships will start to appear is if these gamers who can stream show some form of progress in the market. If interested parties start to see how profitable streaming is, the more they’ll be interested in pushing it. This is the only way. Sure, you can show the statistics international streamers get and then say “look how many viewers they get?” but the unfortunate truth is South Africans who watch Twitch don’t even watch local streamers, what makes you think international viewers would tune in?

Who are our local streamers?

I apologize if I’ve missed any, but to my knowledge, the following streamers do broadcast fairly often. If I have missed anyone, please leave a comment and I will update.

Luca "RBooHoBo" Tucconi commented on streaming in South Africa:

"We've been streaming on our Orena channel for roughly six months and have found it difficult to penetrate the local viewers. Our tournaments have received success due to outside partners, but individual streams have not yielded similar success. We do hope South African's start supporting local streamers and casters who do have access to the relevant infrastructure so we can grow together."

Closing thoughts

If one of our local streamers gauged even 1% of the Twitch users in South Africa, they would already qualify for Twitch partnership. If roughly 1,600 people tuned in to a local streamer they would more than likely begin to attract international audiences as well. These are just the possibilities. It’s obviously up to the streamer to insure his stream is entertaining, but there really isn’t an excuse not to support local guys.

Do you support local Streamers? If not,then we would love to hear how we can improve the service, so drop us a comment.

Congo's Twitter | Facebook / MWEB GameZone Twitter Facebook

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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd

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