Players prioritize streaming over training
Professional streaming is becoming a very profitable way of making a living.
With an increasing number of streaming platforms emerging, good players are able to sign great deals for their streaming time.
Even though Twitch and Azubu are among the most well-known streaming platforms in the esports scene (at least in the US and Europe), China is not lagging behind.
Platforms like HuoMaoTV, DouYu, and PandaTV have been steadily expanding, and the esports base in Asia is huge.
According to the Singaporean pro iceiceice, the payouts from Chinese streaming companies to top players are much higher than platforms like Twitch and Azubu. But this also has a negative effect, as players choose streaming over training.
Said iceiceice in the interview with CNET:
“Streaming is destroying their careers, because they prioritize streaming over training. It pays so much better, like ten times better.
You can win The International every year, but streaming is going to pay two times more if you’re a top streamer. Amounts above $500,000 are pretty common in China.”
Jacky ‘EternaLEnVy’ Mao, another professional Dota 2 player, has also recently mentioned a $1 million streaming deal (including $250,000 in donation money on top) with the Chinese platform PandaTV.
In the deal, he and two former team members were supposed to stream a combined 250 hours per month — more proof how lucrative streaming in China can be.
With more profitable sponsorships than those of the American and European competitors, Chinese professionals can more readily support their competitive gaming lifestyles. However, streaming is not as easy as it sounds.
These are significant time commitments: Players are expected to stream up to 90 hours per month. And this comes on top of the hours they are expected to put into training sessions with their professional teams.
Top players must weigh rewards
There is no doubt that it’s incredibly difficult to become a top player in a game like Dota 2. But with the expansion of the esports industry, the growing rewards from prize pools and sponsorships are definitely making it worth trying to get there.
This year’s The International Dota 2, for example, offered a prize pool of more than $20 million.
The winners took home more than $9 million, and after taxes and the organization’s share was deducted, each of the five players put more than $1 million into their pockets.
The runner-up got away with a little under $500,000 for each player of their five-man squad — still a pretty sweet deal.
But how does a player know what to prioritize day-by-day and hour-by-hour?
Is it more rewarding for a top player to dedicate the time to stream and get paid, or is it more beneficial to train with a top team hoping to claim a tournament prize?
There are surely risks to both sides. On the one hand, streaming payoffs are highly dependent on the signed deals and the size of a player’s fan base.
On the other hand, training for a tournament does not necessitate winnings on the other side. Balancing both is a tall task and could eventually result in not being able to sustain either one.