This gam­ing life is but a stream

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - FRONT PAGE - MATT BROWN

A pas­sion for gam­ing and an out­go­ing per­son­al­ity is the per­fect mix for stream­ing suc­cess, and Ron­ald Diaz, aka ‘ dizzy­baku’, has both in spades.

An Os­car care­giver by day, come 6.30pm Diaz puts on his head­set, fires up his mi­cro­phone and en­ter­tains the young and old around the world as they watch him play video games on­line.

‘‘I stream on any con­sole I want, Nin­tendo, Plays­ta­tion, Xbox, it de­pends on what the com­mu­nity wants,’’ Diaz said.

‘‘I’m not into the ‘I just play video games with some in­put’ type of stream­ing. The chat de­cides what goes on.’’

Stream­ing video games, mak­ing art and even ‘irl’ (in real life) is ex­plod­ing in pop­u­lar­ity around the world. View­er­ship records were be­ing smashed month-on-month, and this year the in­dus­try would be worth more than $1 bil­lion.

Diaz, orig­i­nally from Mis­sis­sippi, in the United States, had been in New Zealand for about eight years. After meet­ing his Kiwi wife at a sum­mer camp in the US, he quit univer­sity - which he couldn’t re­ally af­ford any­way - and moved to New Zealand.

‘‘My wife is the most sup­port­ive per­son of my stream­ing. She pretty much forced me to do it,’’ Diaz said.

‘‘She has a spe­cial role. She takes over and at­tracts all the view­ers. She’s my se­cret weapon.’’

With more than 1000 fol­low­ers, Diaz was still a fairly small-time streamer. For per­spec­tive, the top Twitch streamer, Ninja, had more than 8 mil­lion fol­low­ers.

Diaz streamed on the Mi­crosoft plat­form, Mixer, a smaller stream­ing plat­form that was in a strong growth phase. Mixer’s grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity came with it be­ing bun­dled in Mi­crosoft’s Xbox One gam­ing con­sole.

‘‘I play any­thing but Fortnite. It’s be­come ‘the streamer game’. It’s a kind of re­bel­lion on my part, if I can be suc­cess­ful not play­ing Fortnite, then I think I’m do­ing al­right,’’ Diaz said.

Fortnite clocked up more than 8 mil­lion hours streamed from Jan­uary to April this year. It was the most streamed game ever.

There were ben­e­fits to stream­ing from New Zealand, such as some­times get­ting new game re­leases first due to the time dif­fer­ence.

‘‘Des­tiny 2 came out and due to time zones and game re­lease dates, I was the first per­son on the plat­form play­ing it. That was prob­a­bly my big­gest stream.

‘‘You can get a lot of views do­ing that, but they don’t stay. You’ve got to think of what to play, but also keep the view­ers as a com­mu­nity, it’s a great chal­lenge.’’

‘‘Fight­ers were the first games I started stream­ing, so I like to keep them in the ro­ta­tion.

‘‘The bal­ance is to be able to play games and talk, so mul­ti­player or fight­ing games are the best.’’

‘‘Stream­ing has changed my life. It’s an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, I love do­ing it.’’

Ron­ald Diaz at his stream­ing rig, which he likes to call his ‘potato’.

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