eSportsListsSteamers vs. eSports Pros: 5 Main Differences

Kimmy McGregor3 years ago

The role of video games in modern society has changed quite a bit in the last decade. Gaming enthusiasts are no longer viewed as a subculture. The video game industry produced over 119 billion dollars in revenue in 2018 alone. It’s not just developers and publishers that are raking in the cash. This growth of popularity has spawned two new high-earning professions: streamers and eSports professionals.

These two careers are very lucrative and have caught the attention of gamers young and old. It’s not hard to see why. Both streamers and professional gamers spend a lot of time on their computers while gaming. In order to make this experience as enjoyable as possible, we recommend checking out Game Gavel’s top 5 picks for laptops under $2000. These machines will be more than enough for you to set up a high-quality stream and compete with other players without any technical issues.

While the two titles are often used interchangeably, streaming and eSports are two different sides of the same coin. They both work within the video games industry, but there are several differences worth noting. Here are five of the biggest differences.

1. Job

Perhaps the biggest difference between a streamer and an eSports professional is what they actually do. Streamers do just that. They stream their gameplay on the Internet for fans to watch. eSports professionals, on the other hand, are all about competition.

The popularity of eSports is on the rise and shows no signs of stopping. There are estimates that the eSports industry will have an audience than 557 million by 2022. It has become so widespread that games & big sports brands like ESPN have taken notice. You’ll find eSports tournaments being played in large arenas. They’re even broadcast to viewers all around the globe.

Like traditional sports, eSports professionals are working to beat opponents and bring glory to their teams. Players often sign lucrative contracts to join teams and compete in tournaments.

Meanwhile, streamers are just playing. While they can partake in some competitive action, the stakes aren’t nearly as high as they are with eSports. Streamers are more focused on providing commentary and putting their personalities on display.

Of course, the worlds of streaming and eSports can intertwine. Many eSports gamers will turn to streaming to earn some income when they’re not part of a league or tournament.

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2. Platforms

Another big difference is how these gamers communicate with their audience. As we mentioned earlier, eSports games are often broadcast on television or through the web. The great thing about eSports is that the broadcast is controlled by the league itself. All professionals have to worry about is playing and winning.

For streamers, that luxury doesn’t exist. They have to do it all themselves. This includes creating an appropriate gaming space, setting up streaming equipment, investing in lights and software, and more. Streamers also have to find the right streaming platform and build an audience all on their own. When eSports pros sign onto a team, the audience is already there. Streamers have to attract attention and develop a rapport with their viewers to keep them there.

As you can see, streaming is a bit more involved. Luckily, there’s a lot of help available. Streaming platforms like Twitch, Microsoft Mixer, and even YouTube Live that make it easy for your audience to find you. Plus, there are many great software options to capture and broadcast your games.

3. Money-Making Potential

Whether you decide to pursue streaming or eSports, there’s some serious money-making potential in these professions. However, where that money comes from is very different.

For eSports players, there are three primary income streams. These include salaries, prizes, and sponsorships. Salaries vary quite a bit based on the team and your merits. Typically, these salaries are paid monthly. Prizes are where the big bucks come in. Big competitions can have multi-million prize pools, making them very lucrative.

Sponsorships can be a bit of a mixed bag. Brands are putting a ton of money into eSports. Having a professional gamer advertising a brand can lead to increased sales from the community, so it’s not hard to see why companies are investing in the sport.

With that said, you have to be very popular to get those sponsorships. Brands will also offer these deals with streamers, so it’s not exclusive to eSports by any means.

Speaking of streamers, the primary source of income comes from streaming itself. There are a few different ways to generate income from a platform like Twitch. Typically, it’s through the use of advertisements, subscriptions, and donations.

The cool thing about streaming income is that there really is no cap to how much you can earn. One of the most popular streamers in the world, Ninja, earned more than $500,000 a month at the height of his popularity from streaming alone.

4. Longevity

Despite all of the money that eSports players can get during their time in the sport, it usually doesn’t last long. The average career length for pros is only about a year or two. That’s a pretty drastic difference compared to the multi-year long careers that other sports professionals have.

Typically, eSports players will turn to streaming after they retire. With streaming, there are no set guidelines for how long you can play. You’ll find people of all ages on Twitch and Mixer. As long as you can keep captivating your audience as you play, you can continue to earn income and prolong your career.

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5. Flexibility

Finally, let’s talk about flexibility. if you’re looking to get into eSports, you better make sure that your skills are fine-tuned for competitive titles. Some of the most popular games for eSports include League of Legends, Overwatch, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike. The types of games you participate in can affect your prize money and income. It can be a bit limiting, especially if you’re someone who prefers to play different genres.

Meanwhile, streamers have carte blanche to play whatever they want. There are some titles that do better than others. Many of the most popular Twitch games of 2018 were also played competitively in eSports. However, you’re not restricted to playing just those options.

The streaming industry is quite broad, allowing you to find your niche pretty easily. There’s a large following for content related to the Sims, Minecraft, and even indie titles. The options are endless. As long as there are people who are interested in watching you play the games you love, you can find success streaming.


As you can see, streamers and eSports pros aren’t exactly the same. If you’re thinking about diving into the world of video game entertainment, think about your options closely. Keep these differences in mind to choose which one is right for you. Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself! Why not try both?

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Kimmy McGregor

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