(Disclaimer: Robert and I recorded this at the balcony area of Makati Shangri-la, hence the sounds you can hear in the background.
This was recorded and written a week before Tamago's closure. We wanted to publish this anyways as a look into the strength and the growing support for Filipino streamers)
Filipino streamers and content creators around video games have been present for a while now. One of the most popular creators, GLOCO, has had a YouTube account since 2014, and the oldest public video he has on that account was uploaded on July 12, 2014.
His most popular videos on the channel are his Train to Busan parodies, but we all know him for his comedic gameplay videos (and for stealing Suzzysaur's Logitech gear). He also has a sense of humor which reflects the good, the bad, and the ugly of Filipino gamers. As such he's occasionally been called as "the Pewdiepie of the Philippines."
But as you can tell from the title, this isn't a piece that centers solely on GLOCO or Suzzysaur, or any huge gaming content creator in the Philippines (though perhaps one day we can have them here). It's a piece about Filipino gaming streamers in general - the current state of our community and how we could continue growing this. And who better to discuss this than with Robert Yatco?
Robert Yatco is a prolific content creator himself as he's the managing editor of Ungeek Philippines a website that deals with all things geeks love. Him and his team has created quality vlogs on all the big events they've attended this year and all the most-awaited games they've tried out as well.
Here's a summary of our podcast in case you can't listen as of the moment:
The current state of the community (1:10)
Robert describes the Philippines' game streaming community as "ripe." He believes that the community at the moment is such a powerhouse and considers the popular Filipino streamers as the pillars of this community. He mentions that the passion of these popular streamers and the success they've found in creating content have in turn inspired more gamers to try their hand at sharing their experiences with a larger audience.
Robert also disagrees with naysayers who don't think that the community is at that point yet. "While sure there are still improvement points, I think in terms of raw talent or raw potential, we do have it. We have so many streamers in the Philippines - so many up and comers, so many people who have established themselves."
The Filipino gaming community was also given opportunities to display our passion and creativity through events and thus these have cemented us as a viable market for content creation.
"I actually am happy to see the rise of Eri Neeman. He was so hooked into the events. He entrenched himself in the gaming community and look where he is now? One of the shining stars of video game hosting right now."
What Filipino audiences want (4:33)
Robert categorizes favored content streamers in 2 ways. There are those who are personality driven, and those who go the immersive route. But Robert believes that those who make it can do a combination of both.
"In true Filipino fashion, I would say that currently the most popular are the kinds of streamers who are able to balance the entertainment part of it, by being an entertaining personality and/or host along side the gaming part of it."
He also believes that gaming as a whole is a great platform for those who are looking into streaming content because of the many opportunities for interaction as streamers experience the game with their audience. Hence why the audience typically latched onto gaming streamers.
What it takes to become the next streaming personality (8:00)
In a time where "anyone can stream" and content creation can be done just by going live, it takes a lot more for an aspiring streamer to standout. Robert however, believes in the "cliche" that passion matters the most in this community. He cites western streamers who have amassed millions of followers, stating their reasons for starting and how they've achieved success.
"Pewdiepie for example, started because he enjoyed doing this. So the people who will look at it immediately from a monetary standpoint might have a difficult time because part of what really, really pushes you to excel and for the market to communicate with you is passion."
Robert stresses an excellent point here about how a streamer's passion is what also drives the market to communicate with them. Anyone can stream, but there's a clear difference between people who stream for passion and people who stream for profit, and the audience can easily tell that.
"If your passion shines through, then I think that's more than enough. How entertaining you are to the people will come through. Your natural reactions will shine through," and through this, Robert believes that streamers can inspire the audience to either pick up the game, or watch more of their content.
Edited Content vs. Streaming Content (11:45)
We went off tangent for a bit and discussed how streaming content is actually on a whole different level from edited content in terms of moving sales purely because of its interactivity. And while the Filipino audience may have favored more edited content, a huge factor that hindered the local community from enjoying streamed content as well is because of infrastructure issues.
As the audience delves more into streamed content, the platform also becomes a more powerful tool for marketing games. Edited and packaged videos lack the interactivity that streamed content has. Hence, streamed content has the advantage of authenticity that compels a viewer to purchase the game even more.
An example cited in the conversation was how a local streamer, Nephalae (who yes, is a mutual friend of ours), convinced yours truly to keep playing Warframe just through a 30-minute conversation on his stream.
"Yes, it's more longform. But then it becomes authentic. When you see people honestly rave about a certain game or a certain product, you know it's coming from a place of actual interest, from a place of actual belief which peaks your curiosity," Robert adds.
Growing the community (21:57)
While we do believe that the content creator community in the Philippines is ripe, we also recognize that we're still small compared to the rest of the world. And because of this, we notice that content creators, whether they're from publications, bloggers, or streamers, tend to collaborate more than compete.
It's a phenomenon that we notice that's different from what we've experienced outside the local community.
"I think everyone understands that it's not about competition right now. I would say that it's about coopetition. Normally of course, you would want to grow and thrive but I think there's no sense for one entity to grow. Because that's not going to dictate the industry."
From an individual perspective, Robert added that there is no harm too at looking into best practices of those who have already made it.
"They all did something right. I'm pretty sure that some of these streamers have their own issues and own problems, but there's no harm in looking towards them, seeing what worked for them. But not copying it per se! But learning from the things that they do and just adding your own personal flavor to it," Robert advised.
Quick tips (28:11)
Before Robert talked about technical tips in relation to my question about common mistakes that streamers often make, he briefly mentioned that Tamago is planning to have educational seminars on streaming. Something to look forward to in the near future for aspiring streamers.
But moving forward, Robert stressed the importance of three things. The first is to work on the quality of the audio as it is often the first thing that the audience notices. The second is to be wary of your safety and security. Steam names, addresses, personal contacts, and of course credit card information are just some of the things streamers can accidentally flash on screen that people can use for criminal acts. And the third is to not let yourself slip into full-on gaming mode, which means that you stop talking and interacting with your audience even when they don't exist yet. It's important to train yourself to keep talking and commenting on things that are happening so that the audience doesn't lose interest.
Overall it was a lengthy and packed conversation with Robert, and there's a lot to pick up from the insights he's shared.
What other conversations do you want to hear about? Let us know and we'll try to set things up.