The first ever console video game I ever played included the classic mushroom-stomping plumber brothers charging across the side-scrolling screen, enduring a Sisyphean journey across a hellscape of strange flora and fauna to battle a pixelated dragon-turtle hybrid to save a princess. The only influencer I had was my uncle and occasionally one of my friends. I’d trade off high scores alternately with my uncle and my surrogate brothers, and when the games changed, the competition stayed the same. We rolled through The Legend of Zelda, Shinobi, Ninja Gaiden, and instead of begging off to go chase girls when I was old enough to do so, I just invited them over to my house to play video games.
Sometimes they even accepted and the competition continued.
Now some decades later, my wife and I still cram our butts onto the couch and stab and shoot and otherwise beat each other digitally in search of video game glory.
So I get the appeal of playing esports. What I don’t understand, and what I suspect plenty of others my age don’t understand, is the appeal of watching esports. But there is a definite appeal, especially among the younger crowd—look at the stats of most Twitch streamers and you’ll see.
Maybe Versus Systems (VS.C) new approach can add that appeal to people like me, who will watch other people play, but only if I have something to do on the side. They’ve added influencer challenges in Versus-enabled games, giving Twitch and YouTube influencers the opportunity to create in-game challenges for their subscribers, and win prices, including Omen rewards.
“With influencer challenges, Versus is now able to create quantifiable results for influencer marketing for brands. On our platform, brands doing performance marketing through influencers can now track the entire user journey from viewership to engagement all the way to conversion and purchase,” said Christian Miranda, head of accounts and product integration at Versus.
Influencers can have better connection to their viewers and a new route to sponsorship bucks, viewers get more interaction with their favourite streamer and a chance to win real-world awards, and advertisers and brands can get a clearer view of their key performance indicators while getting more opportunities for engagement.
The esports influencer model
Here’s Twitch.TV streamer Dr. Disrespect (real name: Herschel “Guy” Beahm IV):
He’s one of the more popular twitch streamers with over 3.7 million regular followers, and a net worth of over $3 million.
He gets paid to wear those sunglasses and that hair and sit in his private studio playing games while people pile in to watch him scream into the mic and rub his mustache. It makes me want to slap my guidance counselor.
Remember when your parents told you that playing video games would never make you rich?
Regardless, the model works like this: he plays video games and gets money from subscribers, who give him a donation based on a tiered access system, while also collecting money from endorsements from companies who want to advertise on his channel. So essentially what these companies are doing is buying on his channel to put their ads in front of his subscribers. If Beahm were a Versus-enabled gamer, he could create in-game competitions for his subscribers, drawing in more people to subscribe if its gets popular, who could then be exposed to more ads.
But like esports related ventures it’s only as popular as the game and who’s playing it. Versus has tied their new product to a popular game (League of Legends) but that’s it so far, and most of these streamers are kids, and there’s just something unsavoury about supporting an industry where children need to go to rehab to “detox” from a hobby.
Eventually, it can’t possibly be fun anymore.