With the popularization of live-stream technology and competitive online multiplayer games such as Raid: Shadow Legends and Fortnite, a whole new breed of wealthy celebrity has emerged. Across the world, young people have made a lucrative living from the comfort of their bedroom simply by recording themselves playing their favourite games and broadcasting their activities to massive audiences who eagerly consume the content.
While once upon a time it was headline-worthy when a gaming YouTuber hit 100,000 subscribers, these days there are gamers across multiple platforms whose followings easily surpass the 10 million mark. Some of these gamers are raking in seven or even eight-figure salaries, garnering more notoriety than some of the biggest A-listers in Hollywood.
However, the global success of the biggest game-streaming celebrities is often uneven. While some, such as PewDiePie and Ninja, have diverse followings across multiple continents, the majority remain strictly local phenomena. Take for example Liu Mou, the Chinese video game streamer who is most active on the Douyu platform. While his follower and viewer counts reach well into the tens of millions, and his earnings are so high that he once bought dinner for 3000 fans who mobbed him outside a gaming conference, few people have heard of his name outside of China.
The same might be said of some of the biggest Indian video game streamers who, although they tend to use more widely-known streaming platforms such as Twitch and YouTube, still struggle to develop a large following outside of the region. Take for example Aditya “Spammy” Singh Nathawat, the Fortnite gamer who has a massive Twitch following, but little recognition outside of India.
This stands in stark contrast to some streamers in the West. Take for example the American YouTube gamer and Raid: Shadow Legends player Matt Meagher, who goes by the username MMG. While his 1.4 million subscriber count may seem modest compared to those at the top of the pyramid, he describes meeting fans from all over the world, including as far afield as Saudi Arabia.
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While few Indian streamers currently enjoy such a geographic reach, there are signs that things may be changing. A number of Indian gamers have been making a splash at global esports tournaments, with one example being Krish “MooN” Gupta, who has secured lucrative sponsorships due to his stellar performance at the most recent Dota 2 tournaments.
In addition, Indian internet celebrities with more widespread followings are increasingly dabbling in the gaming world. One prominent example would be the YouTuber CarryMinati, who has increasingly been inviting gamers onto his 9.7 million subscriber channel. The rising notoriety of Indian gamers even prompted energy drink company Red Bull to run a lengthy profile on the top names within the Indian gaming scene that everyone else needs to be aware of.
As Indians continue to garner international attention and make more frequent appearances at global gaming events, we might just see the rise of globally-known gaming superstars. Watch this space to find out.