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Estonian online gamers drawing income from fans

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PHOTO: Peeter Langovits / Postimees

While «Pokémon Go» is still busy conquering the world and those involved seeking ways to cash in, several Estonians have for years made a virtual yet real income online. Among them, Carmen Peussa and Kalle Lepiku do stand out.

It’s simple, tell the truth: those gaining popularity in virtual world will over time develop fans willing to pay money to be able to follow their gaming and emotions in real-time.

Globally, some make hundreds of thousands of Euros that way. The Estonian top doers will ha to do with thousands, rather. But is all demands input and consistency.

To help share the experience, web platform Twitch.tv is used – monthly visited by over a hundred million people. The live coverage of games is called streams.

It’s not like watching a football game with commentators talking. With streaming, an individual will broadcast his gaming on a personal Twitch channel. The viewer will usually see the same game picture, plus his reaction and facial expressions. The gamer comments what is currently going on in the game and thus communicates with his audience. The viewer is able to communicate with the gamer and other viewers via messaging.

By Twitch, the best gamers are invited to join its partnership programme. In Estonia, only three are known to have been invited. For them, the portal has created a paid subscription system where a fan pays close to €6 for a monthly fee.

For that, the subscriber gets a bunch of exclusive emoticons and other privileges like the option to win prizes or join a game. Of the monthly fee, Twitch pockets about a half; the other half goes to the owner of the channel. The Estonians have hundreds of watchers.

With Twitch mainly focussed on video games, increasingly they are entering other fields like the cookery channel opened in March offering video instructions and recipes 24/7. Last year, 5.6 million people watched reruns of painting programmes aired in USA in the 1980ies and 1990ies.

Not limited to ordinary people and professional gamers aka e-sportsmen, lots of celebrities are doing streaming too. Rapper Snoop Dogg and the Limp Bizkit soloist Fred Durst are providing fans with option to watch them play virtual basketball or American football.

Of Twitch viewers, lion’s share are men aged 16–34. Every day, 1.7 million people are streaming something in the environment.

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