So I recently received some good news. After applying back in December for the Razer Sponsorship Program I was accepted into the Level 1 Program which provides me with money off certain purchases made within the next two weeks.
Great I thought; let's check it out!
I'm not going to go into the exacts of what was offered as I don't know how much of that should be considered 'privileged' info, but what I will say is that the package allowed me to walk away with a standalone microphone & headphones for a bit over £150.
Now here is a question for you ladies & germs:
Are you surprised by that?
Now I need to point out; the Level 1 sponsorship program is aimed at "supporting up and coming content creators".
Now I'm looking at these products and what I'm running with my Streams and YouTube Channel and really I don't think my audio is really that bad. My headset I love, it gives great clarity sound and records pretty good voice audio all for the great price of ~£35 off Amazon.
What I suffer from is a gaming rig being held back by pretty old-ish CPU and no video capture hardware, but make no mistakes, almost every game I buy nowerdays I can run at a good framerate (30-60) with everything maxed out - unless of course you're talking about Dragon Age: Inquisition, ~3 months after launch and it's still totally unplayable even at low settings for me).
No the issue is that game capturing requires processor power, something that is not a luxury to me and so after running the game (and making it look nice; because where's the point in streaming a game if it looks shit?) and then capturing that audio/visual for upload, there really isn't much left in my poor computer.
Would spending ~£150 on a new mic & headphones improve that? Plus why would an "up and coming content creator" want to spend that sort of cash (note: this is after the Sponsorship Program Discount) on audio input/output?
Clearly I am misunderstanding something here? Is the plan to use famous YouTubers like Pewdiepie et al who use this hardware as a plug to sell? Dragging people in off the internet and saying "hey kids! Look at Pewds! He's a millionaire by playing games online! Buy our stuff so you can be a millionaire too!"
The thing is it doesn't work that way. I've watched SO many videos of people 'just playing games' and in a lot of cases you can see them desperately trying to be the next Pewdiepie, often imitating his words & catch phrases, but all they are doing is playing games online and hoping for that golden ticket.
- As someone who's hobby involves dabbling in writing blogs, recording podcasts & streaming games; it is not that easy! To get a professional product that is marketable (and that's the important word here) you need countless hours of editing, and lots and lots of extras to make it actually look better than something from Aurora Cable TV.
Which then leads me onto my next thing that I just don't understand: the streamers themselves.
Looking on just one form of social media (Twitter) I am frightened by both the YouTube and Razer Twitter Accounts, namely because of the people they feature.
So recently there was a lot of kerfuffle over the Razer Blackwidow Chroma which retails for about £150 by itself (full price).
When this started being shipped out my Twitter feed was awash with photos of what I can only describe as 'young adults' bearly out of their teens clutching these as they perform the 1265th 'Chroma Unboxing' on YouTube.
What is going on here? I mean seriously who spends that sort of cash on a keyboard? A fucking keyboard?!?
What are we talking about? Is this the 1% spoiling their kids with whatever they ask for? Are these students who (just like I did) are spending their student loans on gifts for themselves instead of tuition fees like it's supposed to?
I literally don't understand it.
When I was growing up (and I'm including everything before I was 25 here, because it's only past that age did I realise how much of a child I was even then; and to an extent still am and forever will be) I never had a top of the line PC, never! Because they are expensive!
If there was any option of cutting back at the time of purchase, I always would - and things like keyboards are one of those cutbacks, because let's face it a Mercury Brand £10 will let you write a CV and play the latest FPS just as well, anyone claiming otherwise is either an actual professional gamer, competing in the annual sponsored tournaments netting an actual salary off this where there micro seconds make all the difference, or (and this is more often the case) an arrogant A-Hole!
Over time I have made the occasional upgrade, like how about 10 or so years ago I upgraded my mouse to a Diamondback which still to this day I love, but even then it was still only about £30 so hardly a big expense.
Am I just getting too old for this?
Seriously, this online world scares me where the rules of gaming are being not only broken but flaunted in the style of a neo-pagan festival!
It used to be that what was inside your rig was what mattered, that the gaming elders who had been there in arcades tossing US Quarters into games of PacMan were revered as those who would dispense their sage knowledge of the pitfalls of bad consoles and hardware clashes.
Now it's all Iced-Gem haircuts and £150 keyboards while emptying the contents of your handbag on the Internet to millions of viewers.
I don't understand how this happened on my watch. We were there being pioneers of communication and entertainment, mixing the old with the new, forging ahead to ensure that not only was the classic remembered, but it was immortalised.
Now the classic is archaic and marginalised with far too many people knowing of Gaming Geek History only in the form of a quirky T-Shirt, or a statistic to be quoted at the right time as if acting as a badge of honour to prove one's geekiness.
I don't know how we got here, where the unacceptable and extreme is now considered acceptable and mundane, where the ridiculous & obnoxious is celebrated with fame & coin.
But one thing is for sure. I'm afraid.
I'm afraid of how at only 31 years of age I can fail to understand the digital world, that it's moved on in such a way and direction right out from under my nose.
I'm afraid that this will carry on and with every year my own disconnect will grow until I'm left typing with a single finger at a bright world that is moving too fast for me to even begin to comprehend.
And more so than any of the above; I'm afraid that somehow, with our use of ICQ, online clans, Roger Wilco & Dialup Internet; we're somehow responsible for this dire online world...
- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley