Sophomore Sheldon Moniz started live streaming video games on Twitch last year with a goal in mind, to eventually go pro.
Twitch is a popular video streaming service that allows its users to broadcast their favorite video game play in real time. It has picked up in popularity over the last couple of years and has captured more than 70% of gaming viewership, according to a Techcrunch article. The closest competitor is YouTube, which had the next highest share of viewers at about 20% in the second quarter of 2019.
Just as YouTube drew children and teenagers looking to make a name for themselves in the past, Twitch is now doing the same in the gaming world.
Moniz, who goes by Neez808Gaming has gained a following on the platform after moving over from YouTube.
“I liked creating content and putting it out there,” he said. On YouTube, he has 276 subscribers. His videos go back four years and have accumulated over 5,000 views. His most popular was a screencast of the Grotti X80 Proto in GTA Online.
The, he learned about Twitch. “I saw a bunch of streamers and they made me laugh,” he said, and he made the switch.
He is motivated by other streamers, like himself, who don’t have a thousands of subscribers yet, but have fun with it anyway. He says that streaming allows him to interact with new people in ways that he couldn’t on YouTube, and he finds that sharing fun moments with friends is easier through streaming.
“I was really inspired by all of the small streamers who try their hardest to try and make it but have a hard time doing so,” he said.
Moniz has gained a follower count of 1,648 people and has over 4,500 views on his Twitch streams, but there is one important difference between viewers on YouTube and followers on Twitch.
On YouTube, there is a long and complicated process to monetize your work, but on Twitch, you can start making money within a few months, as long as you have a minimum threshold balance of $100.
Followers can watch for free or subscribe to streamers they really like for a minimum of $4.99 and up to $24.99 per month, and that money goes to the streamer, which is how people can make a living off of Twitch. Moniz currently has four subscribers who help him out.
“I plan to take streaming as far as possible,” Moniz said. “It’s hard to tell how far but I’m going to keep pushing myself to work to maybe be up there with the big streamers no matter how long it takes.”
Moniz usually plays Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) and Rocket League but will play other games, like Rainbow 6 Siege, with his friends.
Streamers often face criticism from both older generations who don’t understand it and from younger generations, who can be vocal and hypercritical of other young people who put themselves out there, but Moniz is in it to stay.
“No matter the cause, I find streaming and creating content my passion, and I plan to follow through with it even if I get blasted for it,” he said.