MomoCon 2016: Online Personalities During the Online Personalities panel, MomoCon gathered together TotalBiscuit, ProJared, Blakinola, LilyPichu and Matthew Mannheimer to discuss monetization on YouTube, following your passion and a myriad of fandom questions on gaming. John Bain, TotalBiscuit, calls out that being a professional YouTuber 5 years ago was impossible. Twitch didn’t exist. Monetization wasn’t streamlined. The only way to make a name for yourself was to sell your soul to Machinima. This was because when streamers were first rising in popularity, YouTube didn’t allow players to be paid through views of game footage directly. There was a loophole where Google made agreements with larger streaming groups and then players could be paid through these third parties but they would take a large cut first. Blakinola shared a tale of when he was younger and getting started. It was a 60/40 deal with a network and he was looking forward for the chance to get his foot in the door and have someone work with him to improve his product, outreach and grow the fan base. Turns out he was wrong. The panelists all agree streaming groups are pointless. They will take a cut, promise support but rarely deliver. If you are a streamer who wants to break into the business, you are better off honing your craft on your own. Blainkola counts himself one of the fortunate ones because he was able to get out of this contract and venture out on his own. One fan asked what the panelists recommend a rookie streamer do to improve their content while they have a small audience. Bain responded, “Find trusted friends who are genuine…who are brutally honest.” Even with his large following, Bain still prefers to reach out to other YouTubers to critique his work over subscribers –fans have a skewed answer and will sometimes just be positive to have their voices heard. Jared offers hope that the initial climb is painstaking to earn every view, subscriber and comment but there is a barrier when you start to hit the right metrics for YouTube’s algorithm to show your videos in front of searches more often – success breeds more success. “Make content you are fulfilled to make. Make what you want to see – something you are passionate about and hopefully success will follow,” says Bain who admits to seeing lots of streamers rise in popularity then crumble once their heart is no longer in the product. Another fan asks if it is better to stream games that are popular or ones they are passionate about. Jared said, “Do what you are about. I choose what I have a connection with instead of what is popular.” One of Jared’s recent videos was about a 1980’s DOS game that most of his viewers probably never heard of, but it’s what makes him excited. “[The game industry] is ultimately a creative industry and people will spot tasteless shills,” Bain advises. While discussing the recent rise of celebrity streamers Bain throws out that Conan’s Clueless Gamer segment seems like a corporate mandate to generate more fan interest. However, when Deadmou5 streams it is because he is engaged and cares about the community. “Some will try to exploit the market…I don’t care about celebrity streamers.” Bain says. Despite any temporary spike these streamers have, Bain seems to think they will ultimately be a fad. Blakinola offers a different spin, “There’s a certain appeal to watching people do something you are used to seeing them do. I would love to see Barack Obama stream Battletoads.” The remainder of the panel covered the panel’s Game of the Year, thoughts on Pokemon Go, Favorite game of all time or what one game they would delete from history. For more information on streamers, online personalities and the video game industry read our MomoCon coverage this year and attend next year! Level Up, Friends!