Op-ed: Rookie mistakes don’t stop Musk’s gaming debut from drawing millions
Despite rookie mistakes, Musk's debut gaming stream draws millions, spotlighting potential of X platform for content creators.
Elon Musk officially became a gaming streamer on Oct. 3 as he streamed himself playing Diablo IV on his X social media platform.
However, what surprised the world is that self-identifying gamer “Elon” experienced a first stream that was no different from anyone else starting up a gaming channel for the first time, with one major exception. Elon had almost 5 million views on his debut gaming stream.
Elon’s rookie mistakes in first livestream.
Elon started the stream with no game sound or mic audio, along with a blown-out webcam and a flickering video stream. Minutes into the stream, Elon complained that he “couldn’t read the comments.” For a moment, Elon looked like a sad teenager lamenting that no one entered the chat for their premiere streaming event.
Throughout the first 9 minutes of the 40-minute stream, Elon continued to be more perturbed by the fact that he couldn’t read what the world was saying about him than getting the refresh rate of the gaming stable or altering the camera exposure so viewers could actually see his face.
Regardless of the technical issues, the stream reportedly had over 1.3 million concurrent viewers, a number that dwarves the average viewership for top Twitch streamers, which tends to vary between 40,000 and 80,000 over streams of up to 8 hours. Thus, while Twitch streamers are often online for much longer than Elon’s first attempt, he received more views in 40 minutes than xQc, one of the biggest Twitch streamers, will usually get over an entire day.
Eventually, after 9 minutes of confusion, Elon commented, “I wonder if there’s a scaling issue with comments,” alluding to the idea that he’s so popular that he’s broken his own platform due to the sheer volume of comments. Although, at this point, most streamers would assume that no one is commenting and start playing the game to encourage engagement, Elon knows he has millions of viewers just by simply going live to his 158 million X followers.
Finally, 11 minutes into the stream, Elon began reviewing his character build, still not engaging with the viewers, allowing them to listen in on his conversation with whoever was helping him with the stream in the background.
After 16 minutes, Elon addressed the viewers and thanked them for their patience.
By 17 minutes, Elon had his first death and returned to town to repair his armor.
He survived around 40 seconds on his first run.
Once his second run started, Elon played on silently, avoiding both death and any interaction with his viewers.
Why did Elon Musk livestream Diablo IV?
Musk was showcasing how to use the popular streaming tool, Open Broadcast Software (OBS), to stream directly to X rather than more common platforms like Twitch, YouTube, or Facebook. Given the potential reach of streaming on X, compared to platforms that limit the reach of content to subscribers, there is undoubtedly a use case for streaming gameplay on X.
Aside from the ‘rookie’ mistakes the multi-billionaire tech entrepreneur made during the stream, it made a strong case for content creators utilizing the platform, especially given the recent moves to offer ad share revenue to creators based on views.
A stream on X has the potential to go viral after the fact and gain millions of views, which correlates directly to ad revenue for creators who are a part of the program.
The test performed by Musk indeed raised the profile of streaming games on X simply by the fact of who he is. However, I am sure there will be streamers out there who question his approach.
The future of X streaming and gaining exposure.
I can’t shake the feeling that Musk seems to be saying here, ‘Look how easy it is to stream on X; you can get millions of viewers,’ while delivering a very low-quality streaming experience for his viewers.
Streamers who consistently stream for over 10 hours a day put a lot more effort into their content to ensure engagement and enjoyment from their fans. Perhaps had Elon hosted an upcoming streamer with real ability but lacking reach or joined them in a game, we would have seen the potential value of streaming on X.
Perhaps web3 games will see Musk’s attempt and ignite some fire in the X streaming ecosystem. Formerly known as Crypto Twitter, there is a burgeoning community on X for crypto projects, whereas platforms such as Twitch and YouTube Live are more of a white space. The ability to utilize large followings on X to showcase the power of web3-enabled gaming could be the lifeline the exciting web3 niche needs to gain further traction.
Musk closed out the stream saying, “we’ve got lots of things to improve, we’re going to work on that and make it great.”