Given that football is considered to be the most popular sport in the world, it’s no surprise that the FIFA series of games has consistently been among the best-selling year on year. More than that, increasing numbers of professional FIFA players have shown that virtual football can be more lucrative than the real thing.
A recent study showed that professional FIFA players are earning more money than a quarter of professional footballers in the top four divisions of English football, with the average prize money earned by the top ten players in 2017 eclipsing the average salary for a League Two player. Some professional teams such as West Ham United and Paris Saint-Germain have even started their own esports sides.
With esports as an industry valued at $696m and expected to be worth more than $1.5bn by 2020, now is as good a time as ever to get involved on the scene, and with sites like YouTube and Twitch easily available to millions of potential viewers, it’s also more accessible than ever. Here are some tips on how to capitalise on these factors and become a FIFA streamer.
1. Be a personality
It goes without saying that most people watch streamers for their skills, but no one wants to watch a blank slate, even if they’re the best. Make sure you have something to offer in terms of viewer interaction – if you show an appreciation for your audience, you’re bound to increase its size. This means asking for what they’d like to see more of or less of from you and keeping the lines of communication open. A knowledge of football can’t hurt, either.
In a more general sense, people like a showman, but a relatable one. The most popular streamers are known for being followed outside of their esports exploits, communicating to their fanbase via blogging and social media profiles about their lives.
2. Have the right kit
This might be one of the harder steps to accomplish, especially if you’re just starting out and the promised untold riches haven’t quite begun to fill your bank account, but you need to make sure your tech is up to scratch. This means: a powerful computer that can run FIFA at a high level, a good quality headset and microphone for that all-important communication with your audience (and other streamers – collaboration being another key part of building a following), and a quality webcam that is well-positioned to give a clear view of you. A minimum resolution of 720p is recommended.
3. Have patience
Every streamer with a large audience was in the exact same position when they started: with 0 followers. Unless they became a viral sensation, it took them time to amass followers to the level they’re currently at. Obviously, any streamer’s ambition is to have thousands of followers, if not more, but too much ambition can be frustrating if the results of your work don’t seem to immediately reveal themselves after a few days or weeks of FIFA streaming. FIFA is a double-edged sword: it’s an extremely popular game for streamers, but this means the marketplace for FIFA streamers is saturated. As such, you must work to retain your current audience while attracting new followers. It’s a balancing act.
4. Have a consistent schedule
Schedules work for all forms of programming, be it television, films or radio shows. Audiences know when their favourite forms of entertainment are going to be available for them to enjoy during the week – they’re not sitting around, twiddling their thumbs and waiting to be pleasantly surprised. The same goes for streaming. Every successful streamer has a more or less fixed schedule to which they try to adhere, and which they do their utmost to inform their audience about. The entire process of a schedule saves your audience the trouble of always having to check if you’re online, and your consistency will nurture loyalty among your fanbase, which will appeal to new viewers.
5. Network with other streamers
There’s an element of competitiveness in trying to get more followers than everyone else, and that’s good for self-motivation, but streaming (especially FIFA streaming) is about building a community of like-minded gamers that support each other and come together to make each other, and thus the profession of streaming, succeed. This support is partly the reason why esports is where it is today. Being nice to your peers may not seem like go-to behaviour when on the internet, but it’s one of the most important parts of knowing how to become a streamer.
These tips aren’t the whole story – it would be naïve not to think of the luck involved in becoming an accomplished FIFA streamer, as well as the long hours of practice to get good at the game. But they are guaranteed to put you on the front foot as you start to stream.