Battle royale video game Apex Legends reached a million downloads within eight hours of its release, far surpassing blockbuster Fortnite.
UT gamers are hopping on the Apex train, and their live streams can be found among the thousands of channels on Twitch. Jordan Gladstone, competitive director for Longhorn Gaming, said although it is new, Longhorn Gaming embraces the desire for an Apex esports team.
“(Apex) took features from games that weren’t even battle royale, and it’s a big genre bender,” Gladstone said. “It’s universal in a sense that everybody can appreciate something about it.”
As online gaming becomes more popular and destigmatized, opportunities open up for UT gamers. Gladstone said that Longhorn Gaming events average about 100 attendees, whereas in prior years, there would only be 100 attendees for a whole semester.
Biology junior Talon Romero said he saw an opportunity after winning prizes in gaming tournaments. He now streams under the channel Slayer24tkr on twitch.tv.
Paul Toprac is the associate director of game development at the Moody College of Communication. He said the appeal of a game boils down to how fun it is, but creating a fun game is easier said than done.
“Any new game is risky,” Toprac siad. “You can never be sure how players will react to new games and whether there will be enough players to make the game financially successful.”
Mechanical engineering senior Adam Bolin said the fact that Apex is free has contributed to its popularity. He said games such as Apex are more enjoyable to watch because they are fast-paced and compatible with live streaming.
Bolin said he streams Apex himself under the name FimbleThimble on twitch.tv not only for the possibility to make income, but because he enjoys the interaction.
“I think it’s fun on both ends — being able to always be talking to random people (and) being able to have communities around certain streamers and the games they play,” Bolin said.
Romero hopes to become a twitch.tv affiliate, a title that allows streamers to have subscribers who each pay five dollars a month. He said streaming can be a reliable source of income if a person has versatile skills and a large enough audience.
“If you’re good at first person shooters, you can pick up any other game out there and learn the mechanics of the game,” Romero said.
Gladstone said he attempted streaming in the past but knew he wouldn’t be able to break through in his favorite game, Hearthstone, because of established celebrity streamers.
Bolin, however, plans to stream more consistently when his schedule is set after graduation. He said he is comfortable putting himself online.
“If you asked me four years ago, I would not be inclined to (stream,)” Bolin said. “Now, I (spend) so much time playing these multiplayer games (that I’m) used to interacting with people.”
Esports are now sponsored by brands such as Coca-Cola and the U.S. Air Force. Toprac said that new games will come out to rival Apex.
“Apex is either going to continue to grow at a rapid pace and just blow Fortnite out of the water, or it’s going to burn really fast and just die off quickly,” Gladstone said.