By NICHOLAS SOH.

Although I have been a gamer for as long as I can remember, I have only recently discovered the world of streaming. To find out more about it, I interviewed NZ’s most prominent streamer, eZy.

Streamers are gamers who record their live play and broadcast it online for others to view. The more successful streamers have a loyal fanbase that pays subscription fees to watch them play. Some of these streamers are so successful that they are able to earn a living from live broadcasting their gaming life.

As gamers, we probably all remember that one moment or game which brought about the realisation that games were going to be a big part of our lives. For eZy, this came when we has walking home from school one day. Someone made a remark about how they would give up games when they “became an adult”, in order to be focused on job and his life.

It was at that point that eZy knew he would never give up gaming. “Games are exciting for me and they always will be,” he says. “I’m not going to stop gaming just because it’s considered socially unacceptable for an older person to play video games.”

As it is with many gamers, the desire for competition is a driving force in eZy’s gaming life. He’s always been a regular viewer on Twitch.tv, watching others stream their gameplay, and that prompted him to compete with them.

His EZYteevee has always been a stream for the enjoyment of his viewers. The ability to share one’s gaming experiences with others is a pleasure, he says. Streaming is how eZy has been able to enjoy his work, and make a living doing what he loves.

The most astonishing thing about the EZYteevee stream is the community that has developed out of eZy’s audience. He has made it clear that the purpose of the stream is to be there for the viewers. “Sharing a rapport with the viewers, particularly those that visit my page regularly, is so much fun,” he says. “It’s great to have a nice back-and-forth going with the guys in the chatbox.”

On visiting the stream, I was pleasantly surprised to see the genuine relationships that exist in the community. Hundreds of people from around the world come together to watch eZy play video games. For those who might lack genuine relationships in their lives away from the computer, the stream is a place of refuge. “I think of the stream as a way for me to have a positive influence on people’s lives. I have met some of the most generous and supportive people in the world doing this stream”.


More than just playing around

In a way, streaming is a job. It’s a source of income, and you spend hours at it most days of the week. As is the case with most jobs, there are parts that you enjoy and parts that you don’t. eZy is quick to acknowledge that streaming can sometimes take the fun out of gaming.

Sometimes he is in a mood to play a simpler game, or is looking forward to learning and playing a new game. The feeling of having someone watching over your shoulder all the time, judging your play, can be a disconcerting feeling, he explains.

eZy also acknowledges the time consumption that comes with streaming. “I don’t like that I have less time for other things that are important to me. I don’t have as much time to spend with the girlfriend, or see the boys… or go to parties. I certainly do those things less often that I used to… I don’t mind the personal sacrifices I make for the stream, because at the end of the day, gaming is my passion and this is my dream.”


eZy’s game of choice

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is a highly competitive game, where two teams of five players are pitted against each other in an arena setting. In competitive matchmaking, the game is decided by a best of thirty rounds. A round can be won by either eliminating the enemy team, or completing the map objectives.

While eZy is happy to stream a multitude of games, his primary choice is CS:GO. At first, he wasn’t sure he would be good enough to stream his gameplay of it, but that didn’t deter him. “While I wasn’t the best at the time, I could still show others my journey progressing and improving at the game”.

There are plenty of other exciting competitive games, so why did he choose CS:GO to be his go-to? He answers confidently: “CS:GO is the most exciting e-sport out there.”

He goes on to elaborate that the combination of momentum changes, team energy and strategy make it an extremely entertaining game to watch. “The dexterity of one player can change the entire complexion of a match… It’s similar to basketball. It’s a fast-paced, highly dextrous, team-oriented competition.”


So you want to be a streamer?

For those who are looking to start streaming, eZy has some tips. “First of all, be yourself. Everybody has a certain strength or quality, even if you might not see it yourself.”

There is no secret recipe for success in streaming. The truth is some streamers will be successful enough to ‘make it’, and some will not. eZy advises you to  stream yourself playing the game, rather than spending inordinate amounts of time thinking about what you could do to make your stream more successful.

Another thing to bear in mind is that streaming is a large commitment. “Streaming is a grind. It doesn’t happen instantly. You have to show up for your viewers if you want them to show up for you.”

It was a great experience interviewing eZy, one of the few professional gamers in New Zealand. The sheer size and popularity of the streaming world has taken me by surprise. Not many of us are lucky enough to be able to do the things we love and make a living from it. Through his stream, eZy is not only showing us his gameplay, he’s showing us that games have more to offer than we might realise.

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