Level 83: 2.5 Million Concurrent Viewers

TheGrefg CRUSHED the concurrent viewership stream record

Welcome to The Pause Button — a weekly gaming newsletter that curates the best content in video games.
To receive this newsletter in your inbox weekly, consider subscribing if you haven’t already.


💡 Industry Content

Reports Galore: This week we saw the release of two key 2020 “Year In Review” Reports — one from Twitter’s Gaming Content Partnerships team, and one from data & analytics gaming firm StreamHatchet. StreamHatchet Report | Twitter Report

We highly recommend digging into both, but a few key takeaways:

  • Despite all the hype, multiple popular titles (including Among Us, Fall Guys, & Roblox) didn’t crack the Top 10 most-tweeted games of the year

  • While 30% of gaming content consumption comes from female audiences, only 2% of streamers identify as female - there’s still a large gap both spaces

  • Both YouTube & Facebook Gaming had explosive growth, with YouTube surpassing 10B hours watched and Facebook’s Q4 streaming hours doubling YoY

Breaking into Game Dev: The problem with finding opportunity in passion-driven industries like gaming is that the supply of interested candidates is massive. Entry level jobs at places like Microsoft and Nintendo are often flooded with applicants, which in turns makes it harder and harder for hiring managers to do their jobs and effectively vet and find the right person for the job. That’s why much of entry level gaming is handled by 3rd party contracting agencies. In this helpful breakdown from Katie Chironis, a Senior Game Designer @ Riot, learn about how (and why) this contracting system works, and how you can use it to find your way into games. Link

The Story with GameStop: It’s no secret that GameStop (and physical retails) has suffered during COVID and more broadly for struggling to shift to digital. And yet, their stock is up ~100% this week, they’ve added new board members, holiday sales were up, and Xbox signed a recent partnership with them. In this breakdown, Patrick O’Shaughnessy breaks down why he finds the company interesting and how they’re still making money in a digital-first era. Link


🎮 Fun & Games

A New Streaming Record: Spanish streamer TheGrefg obliterated the historical record for concurrent viewership on stream with around 2.5M viewers. He was revealing his custom Fortnite skin. Although Fortnite isn’t as mainstream as it once was, they have a knack for theatrics and events that draws millions. The achievement is also indicative of the deep dominance that Spanish Streamers bring to the industry, where only four (Two members of Dream SMP,, Ninja, and Dr. Disrespect) of the Top 15 streaming leaders not having ties to the Latin American & Spanish streaming communities.  Link

Steam — A Year In Review: When it comes to PC Gaming, there’s no platform bigger than Steam. The team behind the platform recently released their 2020 Year in Review. The highlights? Steam Showcase helped drive nearly 10M demo activations forthcoming games and Steam plans to launch in China (will this limit launch titles for US/China titles)? Link

25 Years of Pikachu: In celebration of it’s 25th anniversary, Pokemon hosted a press conference to unveil its vision for the year ahead. The plan includes new trading cards, merchandise, partnerships, and of course, video games. They also plan to host a series of “activations'' highlighting each of the games in-world regions. Even celebrities like Steve Aoki (unofficial) and Katy Perry (official) are joining in the fun.  Link


😎 Other Cool Reads

“Crafts in the Time of COVID”: In their piece about Animal Crossing, Alex Custodio explores the fraught relationship between publisher + community, community + capital. Where the publisher reserves the legal right to control third party services in games and where third party services help games flourish, the community often suffers the negative consequences of the tension -- what does it mean if the publisher suddenly changes its policies in such a way that negatively affects community? Link

From the perspective of political economy, we can also critique the way that the exchange of crafts in New Horizons is contingent on Nintendo’s platformized business model. Although videogames have been platform-dependent since their inception, the emergence of networked infrastructure has catalyzed a transformation of the larger market architecture that shapes cultural production.

Documenting Life Through Games: There seems to be a recent in games all about documentation. Pokemon Snap and Umurangi Generation are two such upcoming releases, but Season, which was teased at The Game Awards is another such example: navigating climate change by capturing the vestiges of the past. IGN | SuperJump

“Your mission of recording stuff and talking to people is how you uncover that history. There's things that are happening in the present that are important, and there are things that have happened there in the past that are important, and you're uncovering that. As much as it is like a road trip, it's more like the idea of being a stranger in a strange land and trying to understand and do something there.”

Rival Peak: In an interview with Genvid’s Jacob Novak, this article explores how Genvid pushes the boundary on interactivity in livestreams. Rival Peak is unique in that it’s not quite a video game, but more of an interactive reality show that encourages viewers to participate passively and encourages asynchronous play. Link

"What I think game developers will find is there is an entire audience that wants to have game-like interactions, but either don't have the time or the skill to understand what is going on," he says. "The opportunity to create entertainment that is not quite a video game but not quite television is going to be a massive new entertainment field. This is going to be significant. I think you will double the size of the video game industry.”


⚡ Quick Bytes

  • Hogwarts Legacy, an upcoming Harry Potter-focused RPG, has been delayed until 2022. The title is likely the first of many AAA anticipated 2021 drops that will be delayed. Link 

  • Nathan, a popular Minecraft Twitch streamer, inexplicably lost all of his 21k followers. More problems at Twitch? Link

  • Valorant released its latest character, Yuro. Valorant is budding into Riot’s next big esport, and is one of the top 10 most watched competitive titles. Link

  • Ubisoft announced it was partnering with Disney to create a new open-world Star Wars game. The announcement marks a departure for the franchise, who had previously released all Star Wars-titles via an exclusive partnership with EA. Link

  • CD Projekt’s Co-Founder released a video statement responding to the launch of Cyberpunk 2077 on last-gen consoles Link

  • Riot & Bungie are teaming up to sue the creators of cheating software for some of the world’s biggest games Link


😍 Our Current Favorites 

Fawzi (@fawzitani)

I’ve become more interested in the concept of digital hype houses, where (primarily) gamers support and nurture one another’s followership and community. When I think about how difficult it is to move up the ladder in creator platforms like Twitch and Substack, one point of success that aspirational creators always see is when creator’s uplevel each other. This can take so many forms: calls outs in a newsletter, hosting streams, playing on a Rust server together, etc. I’m especially excited to tune into Alexandra Botez’s Blockchamps this Saturday. All hosted in Minecraft. Link

Further reading: Wired dives deep into Dream SMP lore and narrative. Link

Max (@MaxLowenthal)

I mentioned a few months ago that an all-time childhood staple, Pokemon Snap, is finally getting its long deserved sequel after nearly 20 years of waiting. I’m thankful to say that its sequel, New Pokemon Snap, is not one of the casualties of the 2021 delays that many are expecting to see this year. It was announced that the game is officially dropping on April 30th of this year, only a few short months away. I’ve already made moves to secure my pre-order, and highly recommend checking it out if you like Pokemon. Link


P.S. Like The Pause Button?

You can help make it even better by:

  • Liking this post on Substack — just click the ❤️!

  • Sharing it with your friends

  • Coming to write with us! Send us your pitches here