Should Streamers Pay A License Fee To Game Developers?
Are Developers Greedy or Within Their Rights?
Most gamers would love to become a streamer and make money playing their favorite games. With the current resources available, there is nothing stopping the average person from streaming. In fact, there are more than 7.46 million streamers on Twitch alone. Twitch is the top preferred platform chosen by streamers but it is only one platform. There are many others out there.
The Earning Potential
The money streamers can make playing games is huge. They could earn millions like the well known Pewdiepie or they could make an extra $100 a month. Pewdiepie’s net worth is between $30-$50 million and all he’s done is play video games. Here is a link to a video of a streamer earning $6,000 in 10 minutes. Click here to watch. All I can say after watching that video is wow. I don’t know about you but I’m thinking of quitting my job to become a streamer.
The question of streamers paying for a license fee arose from a tweet by a man named Alex Hutchinson. To give you a summary, he thinks that streamers should pay developers to stream their games because of the money they earn. This way of thinking hurts me to my core. As someone who earned a degree in marketing, I have to say that Alex should stick with the creative side of things and leave the business to the professionals.
Alex is the creative director of Google Stadia and yes, I had to look it up too. The problem with this concept is that streamers generate a lot of free word-of-mouth advertising for game developers. Most games gain traction because a popular streamer played the game. For example, the trending game Among Us released back on June 15, 2018. But, it didn’t get popular until recently in 2020 all because a streamer by the name Admiralbulldog played the game.
He showed it to his many followers and now the game has more players than ever before. You can definitely say that this is the game’s best year ever. You better believe that the game probably would not have made such an impact if it wasn’t for Bulldog. I believe that if Bulldog had to pay a fee, things would have gone differently for the developers.
I’m sure that any business would kill for people to advertise their products for free. In fact, that is why influencers make so much money. Companies pay them to promote their products because people actually buy it when they recommend it. The difference between influencers and streamers is that they don’t get paid by the developers themselves. They earn money from sponsorships and donations from followers. To be fair, there are some game companies that pay streamers to play their games. I say those companies know what they are doing.
The Argument For The Fee
Let’s look at this from the developer’s perspective. They invest thousands of dollars into developing awesome games and streamers come along and show it to thousands of people for free. People get to enjoy the content provided without buying the game themselves. I believe this is what Alex was trying to get at with his tweet.
This concept is true for narrative choice based, single-player games like The Walking Dead or Assassin’s Creed. After watching streamers play these games, there is no reason for you to play it yourself. It won't change that much to justify buying it. But, for games like Call of Duty and Fortnite, the game is multiplayer and repetitive. There is replayability that won’t go away no matter how many times you play. People will buy them or at least play them for free.
I think that Alex’s issue is that streamers built their careers off the backs of the games and he wants developers to have some sort of compensation. Someone could start streaming a popular game like Call Of Duty and build a platform that they would not have otherwise been able to do.
This is to say that games, at least popular ones, create opportunities to grow six-figure businesses for people who play them. There is one problem with this. It takes more than playing a game to become a big streamer. Anyone can play a game. You have to be entertaining to watch and somewhat good at the game. You have to provide value to your audience and the games themselves don’t do this, in relation to streaming.
Streamers are entertainers at the core and their followers will follow them no matter what game they play. People come for the game but stay for the personality.
Developers have every right to control how their content is used. If they don’t want people streaming their games for free, they can do something about it. But, the question I ask is why? Is the short term income more important?
What do you think? Should gamers pay a license fee to stream games or should things stay the way they are?