North Carolina is home to some of Twitch’s most influential live streamers


The service hosts more than 90% of all video game streaming, according to a report from Streamlabs, a maker of livestreaming software. — Dreamstime/TNS

When it comes to watching people play video games on the Internet, there’s no company more dominant than Twitch, the video streaming service owned by Amazon.

The service hosts more than 90% of all video game streaming, according to a report from Streamlabs, a maker of livestreaming software. And the company has repeatedly rebuffed competition from tech giants like YouTube and Facebook.

Millions of people, many of them young, come to the service every day to watch others play video games and interact with them via chat. Fortnite, the video game phenomenon created by Cary, North Carolina-based Epic Games, is especially popular on the service.

The user base has made some of Twitch’s most popular players incredibly influential and rich, as players can earn a cut of the advertisements shared on their channels or can put their content behind paywalls. The platform’s top stars reportedly earn millions of dollars annually.

What is Twitch?

Founded in 2011, Twitch was one of the earliest livestreaming services.

It gained popularity for its interactive tools, allowing users to send chat messages in real-time to streamers, and the ease with which people could share high-quality streaming of the video games they were playing.

While it is known for video games, it is also used for a variety of functions, from interview-style shows to live music.

During the pandemic, the service has become a mainstay of social interactions for young people stuck indoors, who use it as a digital gathering place. The service’s user base grew 26.2% in 2020 to 41.5 million people, according to the research firm eMarketer.

“Twitch is benefiting hugely from the overall spike in live video viewers,” Peter Vahle, an analyst for eMarketer, wrote in a report. “While more people are watching video game live streams on the platform, nongaming channels like ‘Music’ and ‘Just Chatting’ are attracting many first-time viewers.”

Who are NC’s most influential Twitch streamers?

Several popular Twitch streamers have ties to North Carolina, including some with millions of followers.

Here are a few of them:

Karl Jacobs

The 23-year-old streamer Karl Jacobs has seen his popularity explode over the past year.

Once just a cameraman for the mega-popular YouTube personality Mr. Beast (real-life name: Jimmy Donaldson), Jacobs has turned his appearances on the Mr. Beast channel into a popular following. Jacobs now has 3.3 million followers on Twitch, where he plays Minecraft and hosts chat shows.

Mr. Beast’s production crew, which has more than 80 million subscribers on YouTube, is based out of Greenville, where Donaldson grew up. On Twitter, Jacobs gives out a Greenville address for fans and businesses to send things.

JoshOG

Originally from North Carolina but now living in Colorado, JoshOG (real name: Josh Beaver) has around 1.7 million followers on Twitch.

He is known for streaming games like Call Of Duty and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) and for streaming up to 12 hours per day.

The 29-year-old often tweets about North Carolina, especially his love for the sweet tea at Bojangles.

CohhCarnage

CohhCarnage, the Twitch name of 37-year-old Ben Cassell, has created a following of 1.4 million people on Twitch, where he plays games like PUBG and Final Fantasy.

Cassell, based in Durham, is so popular on the platform that Twitch signed him to a multi-year contract to keep him from streaming on other platforms, the website GamesIndustry.biz reported.

Timmac

38-year-old Charlotte dad Tim MacRae was able to quit his day job as an IT specialist after creating a large following on Twitch.

MacRae now has more than 530,000 followers on the streaming service, where he is known primarily for playing the game Grand Theft Auto under the name Timmac.

After quickly gaining a following on the site, where he provided amusing narrations to Grand Theft Auto, MacRae soon made more than double his salary as an IT specialist, The Charlotte Observer reported.

“It’s the jackpot of jobs,” he told The Observer.

JoeWO

Based out of Hickory, Twitch user JoeWo (real name: Joseph Wohala) has garnered more than 500,000 followers on Twitch.

He is best known for streaming the game Call Of Duty: Warzone and competing in Call Of Duty tournaments.

He’s also created an equally large following on the social media app TikTok, where his videos often get more than 100,000 views.

Wohala recently graduated from UNC-Wilmington. – The Charlotte Observer/Tribune News Service

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