A number of positive things came out of February’s GameBlast19 event, an annual gaming marathon in honour of SpecialEffect. We played video games for 24-hours straight to raise funds and awareness for this amazing charity; had the opportunity to support them in their mission to help many more physically-disabled gamers around the UK; and even received an invitation to become a Twitch Affiliate.
It’s not something I’ve been aiming for but with all the extended stream tests completed before the marathon itself, it just sort of happened. During a 12-hour playthrough of The Elder Scrolls Online I received the notification that the Later Levels channel had hit all requirements: over 500 minutes broadcast in the last month, seven unique broadcast days in the same period and an average of at least three concurrent viewers. (Big thank-yous to Tim and Jake from GeekOut South-West, TriformTrinity and Nana Marfo for helping with that last one.)
My other-half has been excited about our invitation since. He’s been a Twitch fan for a number of years now, regularly watches his favourite channels, and jumped at the chance to go to the community meetup in November. To him, getting an affiliation invitation is a pretty big deal; and not because it now enables us to earn money through subscriptions or supports the daydream of giving up our jobs. It’s because it’s a form of acceptance by and acknowledgement from a platform he thinks quite highly of.
But I still haven’t accepted the invite yet though. It’s still waiting there in my inbox. I’m just not sure it’s something I feel comfortable doing, and there have got to be second-income and tax implications. I’ve always said blogging for me is a bit of fun and something I’ve never intended to turn serious or into a career – and that’s exactly how I feel about streaming too. Earning money from it regardless of how small the amount is seems like a sure-fire way of turning a hobby into ‘work’.
There’s also the fact that it’s a hell of a long way from Affiliate to Partner. I don’t go into anything halfheartedly and if we started on the program, I know I’d get wrapped up in making it to the next stage. But that’s a whole of lot of effort I’m not sure we’d ever be able to properly give; although we’ve already met two of the partnership application requirements, going from an average of three concurrent viewers to 75 is an awfully big hurdle and it’s one that work and family commitments would make even harder.
More important to me than the affiliation invitation was reaching the ‘Build a Community’ achievement recently for gaining 50 followers and five unique chatters in a stream (thanks again to those same people above). It’s meant we’ve been able to assign a VIP role to ten viewers who have always been incredibly supportive, as a way of showing our appreciation for all their help. You’ll just have to tune in the next time we’re online and check your icon in the chat room to see if that’s you!
But… Pete did raise a valid point. He fully understands and respects my reasons for being hesitant about going down the Affiliate path, but he pointed out that we could donate any money earned through Twitch straight to SpecialEffect each month. So far this rationale has been the strongest thing keeping me from hitting delete on the invitation; but the pressure of succeeding and the fear of turning a hobby into a job have prevented me from clicking on the ‘Get Started’ button so far.
So what to do? I’d be interested in hearing everyone’s thoughts: what would you do? While I gather opinions and mull the situation over, I’ll play a few video games and possibly stream them – just for fun.
Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.