Streamers are Burning Out
Worker burnout isn't a new conversation, but its gained more attention in the gaming industry in the past few years. Records of crunch have gone up, but the frustration with crunch and the demands put on workers in the gaming industry has also reached a new high. Between newly-forming gaming unions and public demands for industry change, the gaming industry has had to reckon with how it is structured.
Burnout in the gaming industry isn't just affecting those who create games but those who make their living making content about gaming. eSports and competitive gaming have reached new heights of popularity, and the demand for content around games has put a strain on creators to keep up.
As an industry, we typically expect those creating content to have a consistently chock-full schedule; whether explicitly stated or not, there is a demand to grind and to beat out the challenging algorithms of varying social channels. Metrics like views and engagement can make or break a streamer's ability to get contracts or sponsorships, directly affecting their pay and livelihood.
Many streamers start small and have dreams of creating a community around what they do. While many do it as a side-gig to whatever job(s) they hold, others want to make it their life. They're independent workers, many of who aren't covered by an agency or a union and go without guarantees that other workers have, such as PTO or insurance. Those at the peak of their trade pull 70+ hour work weeks as full-time content creators, with obligations to work outside those hours by attending sponsor events, conventions, etc. This demand for time is an expectation of the industry, not an exception, on top of which many streamers face harassment from the community members they make content for. (Twitch has a long history of trolling and swatting, the likelihood of which increases with gained exposure.)
However, that mindset is starting to change. Streamers are burning out and bringing attention to how the industry creates draining demand for content creators.
Last month, Pokimane announced a "mental health" break from streaming and social media, citing a need for a "mental reset." Other popular streamers like Jacksepticeye have been outspoken about the demand placed on streamers and the need for breaks, and now smaller streamers are beginning to follow suit. (Those wanting to read more on this should check out NPR's article detailing streamer burnout stories.)
I wanted to ask the community: what are your thoughts on content creator burnout? Would you support your favorite streamers having a less consistent schedule?
Drop your thoughts in the comments below!