Why Drake on Twitch Matters: The esports evolution

On 15 March 2018, whilst most of Europe was sleeping. Ninjas and Drakes were reeking havoc on the interweb with Gridiron and Rap.

BBC, CNN, CNET, Sky, & Fox all broke the news. The record for concurrent viewers of an individual’s Twitch stream was broken last night when #1 Twitch streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, musicians Drake & Travis Scott and American football player JuJu Smith-Schuster.

At one point, more than 600,000 unique viewers were watching the Twitch stream at the same time. That’s more people than tune into Match of the Day.

But what does this all mean? Who is Ninja? Why is Drake playing Fortnite and what the hell is Twitch?!

Tackling these important issues in reverse order, Twitch is the world’s largest live streaming platform for video games. That’s right… people watch other people play video games. A lot.

The average Twitch viewer watches more than 50 minutes a content a day. People Twitch out more than they watch television. They watch gaming more than they read the news. It’s the ultimate platform for engaged content because they can chat directly with the talent.

375m people watched Twitch last year, that’s going to rise to 550m this year. If you aren’t aware of Twitch – you will be. It’s the biggest media channel you’ve never heard about.

Drake recently stated that he plays Fortnite in between 20 hr. Recording sessions. Whilst it’s “cool” that Drake plays Fortnite. He’s just another one of the 55+ million Fortnite users that have started playing “PUBG + Minecraft” in the last 6 months.

Fortnite is a game where 100 people land on an island without anything but an axe. They can chop down trees and buildings for wood, hack bricks and stones for clay and mine steel for metal. With this, their characters can build.

After the players find their materials to build and their weapons to fight, it turns into a battle where characters construct forts and fight all night.

It’s wildly popular because the barrier to entry is low (it’s free) and the skill level required to be decent is low (you can hide or build epic forts).

Drake plays it because he’s a millennial. He plays it because people play games.

Now, why is that important? Because Drake playing it with a professional gamer is one of the first times that gamer culture is being brought to the mass audience in a chic fashion.

It’s cool to game and if you don’t think so – you are lame. If Drake and Bieber game, then why wouldn’t you?

This is important because a hip-hop superstar is admitting that he was also a kid in his mom’s basement playing Mario Kart or Golden Eye and now he uses Fortnite to destress…

Or just open up a new fan engagement tool/revenue stream.

Watch this space. Fortnite esports is coming. I plan on being at the forefront of it.