Gaming is not a real job, or why it actually can be.

27 June 2017 on rants. 7 minutes

The past few days have been… interesting to say the least. In case you are not familiar what I am talking about, I’m talking about Alex Mauer, the composer who recently went into a full meltdown as she went on a DMCA spree on no less then 74 (!) YouTube videos to attempt to strong-arm the people behind said videos to mount action against Imagos Softworks. Notably, she mentioned that she does not ‘consider playing video games a real job’ (I might be paraphrasing here). Given that it’s a sentiment that I know not only she has, but many people have, I think it might be a subject worth discussing.

To start this off, I think it might be worth it to summarize the most common arguments these people have:

Youtube Gaming is not a real job because it isn’t.

Youtube Gaming is not a real job because it takes less effort.

Youtube Gaming is not a real job because you don’t get proper wages.

Youtube Gaming is not a real job because you don’t work from 9 to 5.

Youtube Gaming is not a real job because you are begging for cash.

There might be more arguments, but I’ll limit myself to these. If you think I missed any, feel free to use my Tumblr ask to give me more arguments and I’ll try to refute them in a future blog post. Having said that, let’s provide my rebuttal to these arguments.

Gaming is not a real job because it isn’t.

This argument is a logical fallacy. It relies on itself to exist. In my language this is called a circular argument, and effectively says nothing other than that you think it isn’t. If you are going to make a point about this subject, NEVER use this type of argument. It says nothing and makes you look foolish with no way out.

Youtube Gaming is not a real job because it takes less effort.

Youtube Gaming takes as much effort as you are willing to put in it. For example, I run a Youtube channel for archiving Twitch livestreams (for the sake of this argument, these would be identical videos I would upload if I weren’t livestreaming as there is 0 chat interaction. While it is not monetized (unless Nintendo slaps their big floppy Content-ID over it) it is clearly a low effort channel, and as a result, it doesn’t get any views ( :( ). On the other end, we have Tear of Grace who clearly has put a lot of effort in both editing and making his videos. While Tear clearly is the other end of the spectrum, a lot of people are more in-between, doing some editing, usually to improve the audio and display text on screen while playing to provide the audience with some flashy lights to watch.

And to say that it takes zero effort of these people is just plain wrong and not to mention disrespectful to the YouTubers in general. YouTubers aren’t usually popular based only on their skill in Video Games. They are popular because they have personalities that are appealing to people. For example, Jim Sterling has a fairly clear-cut personality he puts on when it comes to the Jimquisition, and it is a carefully crafted one at that.

Youtube Gaming is not a real job because you don’t get proper wages.

Last it be from me to state that I know anything about ad revenue as I’m not trying to get any, but I’m sorry? You can run ads on your video and earn cash from it or run a Patreon. While it isn’t a safe method of getting your wages (you live and die based on your view counts), if someone gets to make their livelihood of the cash you get from running a YouTube channel, why shouldn’t you consider it a proper wage. It might not be a stable income sure, but if the income is there, they can live of it meaning that they must be doing something right.

Youtube Gaming is not a real job because you don’t work from 9 to 5.

More specific towards YouTube gaming I guess is this argument (it doesn’t really apply to livestreamers, but this is about gaming videos). It’s a good argument on it’s face, but it has a major flaw in it. While a YouTuber might only upload ~20 minutes of content each day, the amount of editing, rendering and uploading can easily take up to an hour (or even two or three, depending on the amount of content), as one must decide what content to cut, leave in or provide additional visuals to. That is ignoring any reviewers, who not only have to write a script for their video (unless they do it unscripted which means they need to get a good image of the game they are playing before they make their video) but also have to do the previous steps of editing, rendering and uploading their videos, meaning that a YouTube job can easily reach that amount of time and investment. And then I’m not even talking about the importance of interacting with fans and viewers.

Youtube Gaming is not a real job because you are begging for cash.

An argument that has recently arisen out of Patreon, this argument could be made into an entire blog post. With Youtube heavily cutting into ad revenue as of late (thanks PewDiePie and JonTron! Your behavior has affected everyone on the entire website. Congratulations, hope you two are proud of yourself), many YouTubers are flocking to Patreon to get their cash instead, this time directly from the fans. And while this may sound like begging, and I’m sure that there are channels with big enough shilling of their Patreon that it is nothing but begging, many YouTubers seem to understand that they shouldn’t too agressively shill it and just leave it there as ‘if you want it, you can do it’, with maybe a Patreon symbol/link in the description or end cards. And that is what Patreon is in the end. I can watch someones YouTube channel without having to pay for their Patreon, but if I think their content is good enough, I have the choice to support them (when I finally get access to an online credit card that is). So yes, while it may seem like begging in some cases, I genuinely believe that Patreon is only there if you want to support your creators and you are never required to do so. If you do happen to follow one of the more unscrupulous content creators who do permanently lock their content behind Patreon (I’m not talking about the concept of ‘you see it before everyone else does, I’m literally talking about permanently locking away their content), then seriously reconsider whether these are creators you want to watch and maybe explore for some new ones.

Anyway, I hope that was a good discussion and a good rebuttal towards these opinions. While I may not run a popular YouTube channel or anything like that, I do feel that when it comes to content creators on YouTube that they should be able to make a living of it, if the situation allows for it. Calling it not a real job when it’s clear that these people can put the same amount of effort into it as someone who does have a real job, is not only insulting towards the content creator, but also towards people who do have ‘real jobs’.

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