Video games used to be considered a distraction. Parents would yell at their kids and tell them that video games could never get them anywhere in life. Today, with the popularity of live streaming and e-sports, video game competitions are selling out huge arenas all over the world. Thanks to websites like Twitch, bringing in 100 million unique monthly viewers, people can not only watch someone play video games all day, but those streamers can make money doing it.
Kelsie "KayPea" Pelling, 28, live streams playing video games as her full-time job. Known as "Kaypea" to her thousands of fans, Pelling has been interested in computer games since a young age.
"I was first introduced to video games when I was eight or nine years old," Pelling said. "We were limited to one hour of computer time a day and we were never allowed to own a console."
Despite the limited play time, her love for video games only grew as she got older, eventually leading her to the game, League of Legends. “One of my brothers introduced me to League and I instantly became obsessed with it,” Pelling said. “After playing it for about a year, one of my friends showed me Twitch and I thought to myself ‘I can do this’ and I gave it a try.”
Pelling's popularity started to flourish as she played and streamed the game throughout her time in college, while also working towards a bachelor's degree. "It wasn't until after I finished university that I decided to make a schedule and really put a lot of time and effort into my stream," said Pelling. With all her concentration now on streaming, her popularity soared and her viewer count tripled, opening many doors including opportunities that could change her life. "At that point, I made the decision to quit my current job to start streaming full time," Pelling said.
Her new rise to fame unlocked offers that included moving from her home, in Canada, to the Netherlands to join League of Legends team SivHD. "I had to sacrifice my job security and had to step out of my comfort zone when deciding to quit my job, sell my car, give up my apartment, sell my furniture and moved halfway around the world for a chance at an opportunity I was not sure would work out," said Pelling.
Pelling has been professionally streaming for four years now, officially landing within the Partnered Program with Twitch about three years ago. Twitch's help center describes being Partnered as generating revenue through the streamer's channel via monthly subscriptions. But for Pelling, it means so much more than money. "My community is the most amazing and diverse group of people who open up and share what's going on in their lives," Pelling said. "They are always so caring and compassionate when one of the community members are going through a tough time."
In his article, The Ultimate Guide to Twitch Streaming, Michael Andronico gives the key steps on how to become a professional streamer. "Consistency is crucial — just as people tune in to their favorite TV shows at the same time every night, they should know exactly when you'll be live on Twitch," Andronico wrote. "Whether you broadcast in the afternoon or the wee hours of the morning, stick to your schedule, and make sure it's prominently displayed across both your Twitch page and social media sites."
Pelling not only sticks to a strict schedule of streaming for about 4 hours a day, with the exception of Mondays and Fridays for personal time, but also always prepares herself mentally and physically for her streams. "I try and get a good sleep and wake up at least three to four hours before stream so that I can perform my best," Pelling said. "I like to make sure I have some healthy food before or during my stream so that I have enough energy each stream.
A number of Pelling's viewers often comment about being inspired to stream because of her. Thanks to entertainers like Pelling, the Twitch platform and the plethora of talented video game designers, video games are no longer just a distraction, but now a high-demand, expanding career field.