Here is a situation I have seen countless times on Twitch with low level streamers both male and female alike struggling to build a following. They’re siting there live streaming like everyone else and their mom does these days. They look at their viewership numbers and proceed to have a stage five hissy fit about their lack of following and then they immediately point their outrage toward “titty streamers” and it often goes like this, “Maybe if I had big tits hanging out I would get more viewers.” I mean honestly yeah, that’s ONE idea, however I guarantee you, sweater meat is not the reason you’re in this low viewership predicament.
Let’s start with why the hell would you stream this? If you have any viewers at all, I am certain they don’t want to watch you piss and moan about boobs taking away all your happiness. Would you watch that stream when there are thousands of streamers to pick from? If you want to be a professional streamer you have got to be entertaining, bottom line, however that is not even remotely half the battle.
EVERYONE IS STREAMING, everyone, all over. Please take a moment to do the math in your head as to how many people want to be professional streamers. I am not saying this to discourage you, I am saying this to motivate you to look beyond the tits. “All you have to do is have tits and you’ll get viewers!” Yes, viewers do often flock to streamers that happen to have portions of their breasts exposed. Fun fact, I’m one of them. The women I watch are funny, entertaining and engaging and a low cut top doesn’t magically bestow them with those qualities. However cleavage does not equal streaming success. If you’re jealous that women dressed a certain way often encounter an influx of viewers who are only interested in leering at them, I think your streaming career goals are pretty low. Is that what you consider success? In a world where you can see bare breasts instantly because INTERNET, do you REALLY think tits are the only thing that brings those viewers in? If you really believe it’s JUST a body part that’s beating you out, then I can only conclude that your stream is terrible.
YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO A FOLLOWING. Just because you’re busting your ass, and doing everything you now how to do to gain an audience doesn’t mean you’ll have one or that you even deserve one. Hard work does not automatically mean your stream is good. As I said, EVERYONE is streaming, what are you doing to hit the game streaming demographic in a way that hasn’t been done before? What do you offer that viewers can’t get anywhere else? Again, I’m not saying this to discourage you, I’m saying this to push you to be more creative than just crying about tits.
While in New Orleans covering the Gears of War tournament, I was immediately drawn to the brilliant energy of Jourdan Kerl. You can’t miss her, she brings so much passion and personality to the broadcast team. I love how you can tell she has to contain her excitement with the rest of us as she conducts interviews and provides viewers with updates and tournament analysis. I cannot tell you how excited I am to introduce Jourdan to the SG readership as she was kind enough to grant me an interview.
Rebecca Rothschild: What is it about the GOW esports community that makes it so special for you?
Jourdan Kerl: Although I’ve never played GoW competitively, I have played the game for 10 years since Gears of War 2. The passion within this community is really unmatched, which you can see in every single game during any event or on many players streams. It’s one of those special titles that I believe resonates with so many diverse communities. I’m also willing to bet that it’s one of the most diverse esports scene. That goes from the players, which span many different countries and cultures, the officials and even the broadcast team. This diversity is also reflected throughout the game in its lead characters.
RR: Would you consider yourself a lifelong gamer?
JK: 100%. Without question, I will always be a gamer. Since I was a little girl, I’ve always been one of the guys. I grew up an only child with two boy cousins, who played with LEGOs and video games. I wanted to be the one standing in line when the latest title dropped at midnight in GameStop. I’ve always found peace in gaming. I’ll always be a gamer.
RR: What are some of your pursuits outside of gaming?
JK: Currently, I’m earning my master’s degree in journalism. My focus in this venture is to become an esports host/producer, so I guess it isn’t really “outside of gaming.” Haha! What can I say? I guess I can’t get away from it. Right now, it’s mainly graduate school. Since the program I’m currently in is a year-long venture, it takes up most (if not, all) of my time. I also enjoy spending time with my family and friends and exploring new cities, since I’ve moved about 3 times in the last year.
RR: Esports has come a long way, but there is always room for improvement. In what ways do you think esports could continue to improve upon itself?
JK: I think diversity is the biggest struggle right now for esports. I say that not just from a cultural perspective, but also for more women to be included in the competitive scene. There are talented female gamers out there, but I wonder how much of an effort is being made to recruit them.
RR: What would you say to people who are interested in esports but are fearful about being accepted by the community?
JK: I would say that I don’t know anyone who has been successful that didn’t take a risk. One of my professors told me during undergraduate career before a major presentation that “You can only be the performer or the audience. Depending on where you decide to stand, you’ll be received accordingly.” I really took this advice with me going into my first reporting event for the Gears Pro Circuit New Orleans event. I worried about how I would be received, but I constantly reminded myself that I could do this and that I was here for a reason. The feedback I received from the event was overwhelmingly positive, and I still tell myself how unbelievably blessed I was to be able to work that event. At a recent NABJ convention I attended, one of the guest panelists asked the audience, “if you knew what was on the other side of fear, would you still be afraid?”
One last note on this question, to be completely candid, as a woman entering a male-dominated industry, there is no feeling like being the only one in the room. However, that has never stopped me. I don’t think anything should ever stop someone from chasing their dreams either.
RR: When did you know you wanted to be more than just a spectator when it came to esports?
JK: Initially, I wanted to develop video games, which is why my bachelor’s degree is in computer science. However, the first job that I really wanted was to be a meteorologist, but that didn’t last long considering my fear of tornados. Back to gaming, I always read GameInformer magazine growing up and watched IGN. I found that — although, I can develop and code games — I wanted to dictate the stories and create content around gaming, but didn’t really know how. I attended graduate school to figure out how to develop my skills on camera and create my lane in esports. 11 months later, I’ve served as a floor reporter at a Gears of War event, freelanced for several esports publications and now hoping to continue to produce content for esports in bigger ways. I’ve never been a “sit and watch” kind of girl though; I’ve got a lot of ideas, so that wouldn’t do. Anything is possible!
I want to thank Jourdan for taking the time to chat with me. Keep an eye out for Jourdan on the Gears Pro Circuit streams and follow her on social media (IG & Twitter: @jourdankerl).
Ninja disclosed in an interview that he does not stream with women to avoid rumors that he is dating them. He said he did not want to put his wife through that experience. I understand his instinct, I respect that he wants to protect his wife. I don’t think Ninja is a sexist, I don’t think he at any point meant to do women harm, but unfortunately he did with this comment. And you know what? THAT’S OKAY! He is human, he can make a mistake, and because it’s been made so public we can all LEARN from this.
Ninja knows women have a much harder time with harassment on Twitch. He knows how much work goes into being a successful streamer because he’s done it himself. I will never say Ninja hasn’t worked hard, BUT he also has not dealt with the challenges that too many women suffer while on Twitch. He is privileged in that he was met with support and acceptance while many are met with threats, aggression and hatred. I think anyone could agree it’s easier to climb a mountain when there isn’t a rabid animal trying to tear you to shreds. His choosing to cut women out of his streams gives the trolls a BIG win. He sits in a place of acceptance with adoring fans and the money that comes with it, and meanwhile he has emboldened the enemies of women. Again, I know he worked for those things that he has, I know he didn’t mean to do this, but he has done harm and it would be great if he and his fans could at least TRY to understand this.
Twitch is a place where money can be made. I know Ninja is first and foremost a passionate gamer, but streaming is also a job for him, that makes other streamers, women included, essentially his work colleagues. He doesn’t HAVE to stream with colleagues who are women but him saying that he refuses to work with women for his reasons would not hold up well in a proper workplace. The reality that men won’t work with women because they feel women are a liability is REAL in today’s job market. Women don’t get hired for jobs because men don’t want there to be rumors, or they don’t want their wives to be jealous. Unfortunately Ninja’s comment runs too close to this issue and so it triggered the frustration of women unable to get hired or advance, ESPECIALLY in the games industry. I can tell you from experience as someone who has worked on games. I know Ninja doesn’t support that bullshit, he was just following his instincts, again this is all okay, but I think the anger toward him is worth studying.
I understand people are screaming and yelling at him and I don’t think that is warranted, but women need allies at the level Ninja is at. He chose to be a public figure, that often signs you up for wars you didn’t wanna fight. It’s not fair, but it’s also not a hidden fact. Streaming with Ninja gives people exposure to a massive audience, him writing off all women cuts off their access to that exposure. So now that privilege is only extended to men and his statement could instill fear in other high profile streamers to avoid streaming with women. Can you really not see why that is sad? Why that would anger women? He claims to be an ally to women, and in a lot of ways I think he has been, but in this particular case he’s saying supporting women is just too much drama and not worth it. Meanwhile, women suffer from fates FAR WORSE than dating rumors in the streaming community every day and they often do not have the support and success that he has.
Back when I was new to covering esports, I was eager to jump in to the Halo scene as it was and still is my favorite game franchise of all time. I was immediately met with a collective cold shoulder from fans and players as I tried to engage them so I could tell their story. Being a woman in that space at that time was incredibly tough to navigate, so I gave up on covering esports for a long time. This time around, things are different, not perfect, but definitely different. There are a lot of new faces now and one that grabbed me immediately was Lottie Van-Praag who popped up in the Halo scene as a presenter. She brought a lot of energy, intense passion and was well versed in game knowledge. I loved seeing a woman making her mark in the scene and being welcomed with open arms. I was over the moon when she made her very quick transition to broadcaster at the desk.
I caught up with Lottie at the Halo Championship Series in New Orleans and she is an absolute delight! She radiates with positive energy, you could tell there was no place she would rather be at the moment than right there in he middle of all the HCS action. I couldn’t be more thrilled that she gave me the opportunity to pick her brain.
Rebecca Rothschild: What drew you into esports and Halo in particular?
Lottie Van-Praag: I had grown up with gaming from a young age, since the days of Halo 1 and 2 I was hooked on my consoles. Halo is the first game that got me hooked and my brother and I would complete the campaigns again and again; Halo was what bonded us together. I vividly remember playing Tomb raider on my PC and in complete awe of the graphics, almost unable to believe that I was battling a tiger in an underground cave. My love for gaming has only grown and I now find myself hosting and presenting some of the best esports in the world, my experience of gaming has been and continues to be incredible. I love getting lost in another world and having challenges to overcome in game as well as watching how the industry grows. E3 is a demonstration of how gaming can evolve, it’s so much more than game play now, it’s the graphical enhancements and the beautiful artwork that so many designers create, as well as the communities around gaming that have taken me under their wing while I present the esports they love. Every part of gaming to me is an example of how hard an industry can work and grow to its upmost potential. I see so many talented females in esports now and truly believe that they can continue to game knowing that the industry is behind them, and that is from my personal experience. I am completely aware that there is a gender gap but if we all work together to abolish this stereotype I believe one day we will see an esports world filled with a mixture of both male and females on our screens.
RR: What do you think is the biggest misconception about being a broadcaster in esports?
LVP: The biggest misconception of being a broadcaster has to be the amount of research we do in order to do our jobs properly. The hours of work and research and preparation I do in order to give the best I can to the esports fans and viewers is crazy, I will never go under prepared. I want to give the best I have for a broadcast and know exactly what I am talking about and who I am talking to.
RR: Is having a seat at the HCS desk pretty much the peak of what you want to do with esports or do you have goals beyond that position?
LVP: Oh for sure, I always think it’s important to reach your goals and this is a goal I didn’t see coming my way as quickly as it did. I am unbelievably grateful for being part of this amazing game and the community that drives it continuously with love and passion. I also think it is important to make new goals especially once you have reached your current ones, so despite what I have achieved so far in such little time, I only want to get bigger and better at what I do.
RR: You also love playing sports. Is there anything from your athletic sport experience that you use in your gaming?
LVP: 100%! I used to represent my country in Lacrosse and have done that since I was 14! I see massive similarities between gaming and sports and when I game or try and breakdown a play that I am watching from the desk, I can’t help but notice the teamwork and tactics that are there in front of me. Having a team ethos and knowing how to work together efficiently makes a perfect esports team and traditional sports team.
RR: If you could make one wish for the future of esports, what would it be?
LVP: To be a part of a future in esports that accepts every culture, race, gender, shape and size into the community and celebrating the different people all over the world coming together to play games they love.
You guys see why I love this lady so much? Thanks again to Lottie for being so open with us here at Sugar Gamers. If you wanna keep up with Lottie follow her at @Praagy08 for both Twitter and Instagram. If you wanna see Lottie in action, catch her on the Halo Championship Series streams.
There is no esports fandom quite like the one that is dedicated to the Gears of War Pro Circuit. They have patented their own signature brand of hype. That’s why I was elated that the entirety of the GOW hype machine was making their way down to New Orleans, a city that can house their level of passion.
It seemed like there was a record breaking amount of roster swapping this season, but the truth it has become the norm. It took me a moment to orientate myself with who was now playing with who. My tournament notes were a complete mess. There were so many solid performances this weekend so I guess it all worked out, even if I’m a little cross-eyed.
Optic Slaps Another Brick On The Wall
I was playing catch up before coming to NOLA and watching what had been going down in the circuit this season. I came to the Big Easy with the understanding that I would most likely see an optic victory, however there were plenty of moments where it was in question. Echo Fox made a noteworthy effort all weekend long to be a thorn in the side of Optic. There were countless moments where I thought the check Icy’s mouth was writing could very well be cashed. These two were going at it hard and it was wildly entertaining.
EVERYONE on these two teams were in fine form. There were only a few games where it seemed as though Mental was a little off, but he bounced right back to seal the deal. It honestly felt like he was experimenting with new strategies. As for Echo Fox, strategy was definitely on the front of their minds. Part of what pushed their team to second place was their signature smooth rotations and killer smoke grenade usage.
Favorite Series: Elevate v. EU’s Finest
While Elevate was perhaps a little shaky in their dealings with EU’s Finest, they managed to hold their own and make some serious moves. Elevate worked hard to play to their strengths and they were able to rally after a very strong start from EU’s. I would say Elevate forced EU’s to pull out some of their fancier tricks. Marsh was making himself quite a nuisance with his evasion capabilities which unfortunately for Elevate, helped disrupt their rotations. In the end EU’s Finest simply had tighter rotations and a more solid grasp on the map.
Tip Of My Hat to Ghost Gaming
I have to say Ghost Gaming surprised me a lot at this event. I saw a great deal of focus and I could honestly have seen them making it into top three without much of a problem. Alas, they’ll have to settle for 4th for now, but they earned that spot no question. They had several instances of pure momentum going. I think the only slip up from what I saw wasn’t so much technical as it was mental. When they would get stopped short they seemed to have a hard time getting back the same amount of gusto. When they were on, they were playing flawlessly you could see them truly enjoying themselves.
This particular event was also host to Halo’s HCS which meant double the fun for me as I made my best effort to cover both. I have to say, as far as which side was having more fun…I respectfully have to give that title to the Gears side of the room. I’ll be curious to see how this all shakes out in San Diego.