Matt Newton’s Game Theory
“How long do they let you out of the retirement home so you can play Fortnite?”
So, the trolls are jumping into the chat today, and it seems my age, not my game play, is the joke of the hour. Browsing through the platform, you’ll be hard-pressed to find many older gamers with white beards grinding to earn a Victory Royale in the game. And, for some, apparently that’s fodder for ridicule. The rest of my watching audience comes to my defense — we’re a community, after all — and I wink with a smile, “Son, I was playing video games before you were even born. It’s not about age, I’ve just leveled-up in life before you.”
While the technology may be new, the concept of spectating someone else’s video game play is rather familiar. Having spent much of my adolescence in the 1980s, I spent countless hours in arcades, standing over someone’s shoulder as they pumped quarters into Pac-Man, Donkey Kong or Dragon’s Lair. Only today, your audience is online and global. My on-and-off-again affair with gaming recently grabbed hold when my kids started playing Fortnite, and as a parent, I felt the best way to monitor their screen time was not to limit it, but instead to be a part of their habit. Combine that with a love for video content creation and a background in film/TV/radio, my fascination with online gaming platforms turned into a passion for streaming — and quite possibly a new career path as I near the age of 50.
It takes some explaining to friends and family when you talk about earning a living playing video games, but like any form of entertainment, there’s an inherent audience for that type of content, and people are willing to support it. You take a little performance art, a dash of talk show, a good measure of entrepreneurship, and a whole lot of community building and package it all up in the joy of video gaming — and you have yourself a stream. It’s quite humbling, really, to know that you’ve gone this long in life to unexpectedly discover a calling where you can turn on a video game, click “go live” and suddenly have viewers from all corners of the globe interacting with you. When you’re engaging people in a live format, doing something enjoyable, it can truly have an impact on you and others.