Micro donations for eSports
With Flattr, social micro donations, helping out with funding the DreamHack EIZO Open Fan Award this weekend I wanted to share with you a few thoughts about ESports, monetization and micro donations.
ESports is so much more than just the players, it’s also about the people creating the events and all the amazing casters (people who broadcast commentary for the game play) out there. During the past month or so, I’ve slowly been nudging my way into this community again. I currently follow casters like TotalBiscuit, HuskyStarcraft and Day either via YouTube (linked) or Twitch.tv.
Twitch.tv features video from the top gaming personalities, players, tournaments, leagues and commentary, in addition to the most active and interesting discussions around video games.
Through their streaming you will either earn money via ads or subscriptions (from users who’ll then get it ad free). This is a great concept, and an easy way to get support from your fans. Neither of this is really a micro-donation, but it’s close to it. Which leads me on to talking about the actual use of micro-donations.
This weekend there’s going to be a StarCraft II tournament in Stockholm, DreamHack EIZO Open. They are having their Fan Award partly funded via Flattr, which is a micro donation service. According to DreamHack’s website it will work as the following:
We at DreamHack have already put in 10 000 SEK to guarantee a great start to the award, you decide who will be get the money by voting for your favorite player by using the social micropayment system Flattr. Flattr has also sponsored another 18 000 SEK that will be shared out among the audience in Stockholm who can use it to flattr their favorite players.
Sign up to Flattr today and flattr your favorite player to vote for them, you can also donate funds to the award via Flattr!
Wow, i wanna flattr, vote and donate to the award! How does it work?
If you are on the event, you got a voucher, just do as it says!
If your at home:
1. Go to flattr.com/register. If you sign up with Twitter or Facebook it´s a 5 second process.
2. Add some funds to your Flattr account with your credit card or PayPal.
3. Flattr your favorite players to vote for them here!
4. To be extra awesome, you should also donate via Flattr to the award here!
If you’re into the StarCraft II scene, and know some of your favorite players are going to be at this tournament? You can vote for them as well, straight from home!
How can eSports actually benefit from micro donations, when there’s already services like Twitch and YouTube for monetization?
I believe that most fans want to support whom ever they are a fan of, both in terms of spreading the word and if they can help out with money. Not all people can afford setting up a subscription on Twitch, or sending PayPal donations ala $10 or €10. These would be the normal restraints.
Unfortunately I feel that there might be a fear, and genuine concern that your followers will pay you less money because they can skimp it down to €2 a month split between all their favorite people. This is true and very understandable. The average monthly is higher than €2 (I haven’t seen any numbers in a while) and a lot of people are significantly higher. There’s also donations through Flattr, in this case, which can even it out.
If I’m participating in the eSports community, how can I use Flattr to my benefit?
This is always important when it’s about money, be clear about what you’ll do with money if you’re asking for it. If you’re already successful enough through ad-revenue, say like TotalBiscuit and the Yogscast, maybe you could say specifically where you’d use the money from micro donations, maybe you would collect it to a charity you appreciate, or fund a tournament/fan award of sorts yourself.
What I’ve seen in the Flattr-community is that people appreciate transparency when it comes to your received donations. Especially among the successful people (there are users who get between €500-€2000 a month) I have seen that communicating back to your fans about what you’ve earned via micro donations will
1. Remind them that the option is there,
2. Give them positive feedback that you appreciate the support,
3. Gives you the opportunity to find more people who might be interested in trying it out, thusly helping yourself and other people in the community.
Some of the most successful cases have been people who’ve already been successful in their field. The greatest examples are Podcasters from Germany, WikiLeaks and some Open Source projects. I’m hopeful that this can become something awesome to use for casters, competitors and organizers alike!
As I final note I would want to say: If you do sign up for Flattr and hope to get money from it, tell people about it. Add the links to your info, add your stuff to the site so it shows up in the catalog. And keep your fingers crossed!