On Wednesday, I was invited along to the official launch of the Let’s Play Live (“LPL”) esports broadcasting studios, situated inside Auckland’s iconic Sky Tower. This is the first time I’ve actually had the opportunity to see what an esports studio looks like.
The LPL team took me on a tour around the studios, which were fully equipped with high-performance PCs, widescreen monitors, sleek Logitech G peripherals and comfortable AKRacing gaming chairs. Not only were there ‘gaming’ rooms, but there was also a broadcasting control room, as well as a casting room, which was definitely my favourite. During the tour, I envisioned myself using the casting room for the web-shows and podcasts. How awesome would it be to live stream directly from a fully equipped studio?
Once the tour concluded, I managed to have a short chat with two rather prolific Twitch and YouTube content creators, Ryan ‘Chinglish’ Dingle and Zac ‘Hazz’ Woodham. We spoke about LPL’s new studios, what they’d been up to since arriving from Australia as well as their advice for up and coming streamers.
Both guys were lovely, down to Earth and incredibly welcoming. Unlike traditional celebrities and entertainment stars who seem completely unapproachable and slightly detached from the ‘real’ world, gaming content creators generally tend to portray themselves as being regular people, much like you and me.
Every ‘big’ streamer or Twitch partner I’ve had the pleasure of meeting has been extremely nice, warm and welcoming, regardless of whether they are male or female. It’s this inclusiveness that makes ‘fans’ and smaller content creators, such as myself, feel empowered that these ‘celebrities’ of today’s world are very much within reach, easy to get along with and people you could actually strike up a friendship with.
Both Chinglish and Hazz thought that the new broadcasting studios were a good step forward for changing the mainstream perceptions of competitive gaming and esports in New Zealand.
When watching their interviews with New Zealand’s mainstream media, such as Seven Sharp, Radio New Zealand and more, it is clearly evident that those not in the gaming industry and who likely have never touched a game controller in their lives, can’t fathom the idea that competitive gaming is a legitimate practice. One presenter even went so far to dismiss esports completely, citing “that’s not a sport, surely”. Overall, my impressions of the media’s depiction of the new studios is that they simply were not convinced and were taking it all far too lightly.
Despite garnering thousands of views on their channels, both streamers alluded to the fact that not many people see esports as a ‘sport’. We discussed this briefly and it was mentioned that most esports teams today undergo intense training sessions as well as have team managers, nutritionists, psychologists and many of the same features that ‘normal’ sports teams have. Not only that, but the views are often significantly higher for an esports broadcast than a sporting event. Are these factors not sufficient enough to categorise esports as a sport? Does competitive gaming even need to be categorised as a sport?
Flowing on from that, I discussed Attack On Geek’s vision on supporting gamers and streamers of all ages and abilities, as well as the future generation of content creators. Being two gamers who have managed to make something of themselves through streaming and content creation, I thought it important to find out what inspired them to get into streaming and what advice they had for those wanting to get into streaming.
For Chinglish, he’d never intended to get into streaming. Instead, he began streaming alongside some of his friends who’d ‘forced’ him into trying it out. After giving it a go, he found that he really enjoyed streaming World of Warcraft and continued on from there.
Hazz, on the other hand, a CS:GO YouTuber, got into the streaming sphere after seeing others share their highlight reels and funny gaming moments. He now creates content and makes videos full time.
On their advice for new streamers, both had the same thing to say and that is to “have fun”. Streaming and creating online content can certainly bring in an income for some and many streamers out in the world utilise platforms such as YouTube and Twitch for all the wrong reasons.
Upon clarification, both Chinglish and Hazz explained that jumping into streaming wanting to get views, or make money instantly, is only going to be problematic for that streamer as audiences as well as potential sponsors are able to clearly see through ‘fake’ personas and that a streamer isn’t enjoying themselves.
When it came to young adolescents, many of whom idolise YouTubers and Twitch streamers, the best advice the pair gave was proper education. Children need to be made aware that while esports, gaming, streaming and content creation are legitimate career pathways, they need to be educated on the proper pathways and etiquette that is necessary to uphold when “putting themselves out there”.
It was definitely interesting, eye-opening and lovely meeting both Chinglish and Hazz. They were both so easy to get along with and were extremely forthcoming with all our questions. It must have been an absolute pleasure for LPL to have them be one of the first in the world to stream from their broadcasting studios.
I actually caught up with them again at the LPL official launch party later that night and was introduced to another popular, friendly and equally lovely Twitch streamer, Jessie “Geek & Gamer Girl” James. We had a rather interesting chat about female gamers and streamers, something that I will cover in a separate article soon! Stay tuned.