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Columbus-based Gamers Finding Success with Online Careers

Walker Evans Walker Evans Columbus-based Gamers Finding Success with Online CareersJess Brohard chats about her career as an eSports Host with Columbus Underground.
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If you you want to make a name for yourself in the theatrical arts, you’ve got to move to New York City and if you want to strike it big in the movies, then you need to relocate to Hollywood. But if you want to build a following in the world of video game streaming, the only traveling you’ll need to do is to the spare bedroom where your setup is housed.

Seven years ago, Westerville native Jess Brohard decided to take her love of video games to the next level — pun intended — and decided to start recording video clips for publishing online.

“It was very low production value, I had some basic lighting, but I didn’t really know what I was doing,” she stated. “I taught myself the basics and shot a little video in front of a green screen. Edited that and kinda worked my way up from there. After a year and a half I was able to get hired on at a gaming startup as a full-time eSports Host.”

While the career path to eSports Host has become a bit more of a clear one in 2020 through new types of college degrees, the road to gaming-based jobs has been very entrepreneurial for many in the industry. Brohard explained that her “DIY” skill set and mentality has helped to open many different doors.

“A lot of times I wish I had majored in communications and set myself up for a more traditional career path, but with me doing it all myself — it’s become one of those jack of all trades, master of none situations,” she stated. “I have a basic understanding of all of these things.”

Similarly, OSU alum Mitch Long has been able to combine his love of entertaining with a love of video games into a growing Twich following under the pseudonym OGPickle.

“I’ve been on Twitch for about three years, and I actually did it for awhile and gave up because there’s a lot of difficulties with mental health issues, and an algorithm that makes it difficult to grow,” he explained. “I ultimately got back into it for the love of entertainment — I find myself wanting to make people laugh.”

Long said that in addition to being a source of revenue, Twitch provides him with a perfect place to balance his mutual enjoyments of cultivating an caring online community, “practicing bad dad jokes,” and playing the types of video games that he enjoys most.

New Opportunities for eSports and Streaming Careers

Local startup eFuse was launched in December 2019 as somewhat of a “LinkedIn for Gamers.” The company secured $1.4 million in funding prior to launch, which is indicative of the investor interest in this rapidly growing ecosystem.

“We’re building a network of gamers so that they can connect with each other, but also connect with opportunities,” explained eFuse Founder & CEO Matt Benson. “From scholarships to jobs to playing in a pro tournament or joining a pro team.”

The kinds of opportunities that eFuse aims to provide could help newcomers into the world of eSports and streaming, who may otherwise have difficulty in climbing the ranks in 2020.

“A lot of streamers will say that they’d rather have an audience than make money,” stated Long. “I think at my core value I feel that way, but when you get to a certain level, you want to maintain finances. Twitch is growing, and setting records, but as far as spending goes, a lot of streamers have gone down. It’s so saturated and difficult to grow.”

Brohard adds that women have an additional set of challenges to overcome in a very male-dominated industry, and encourages them to stick together and remain collaborative.

“Seek out those other women, because you have to form those friendships,” she stated. “I think that a lot of time, women are taught growing up that there’s this competitive zero-sum game. It’s so toxic, and you can’t work like that. Be supportive and genuinely happy for your sisters.”

Follow Jess at https://www.twitch.tv/jess

Follow Mitch at https://www.twitch.tv/itsogpickle

For more on eFuse, visit https://efuse.gg/

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