The South Africa gaming community is growing constantly, with more and more people looking to turn what was once a hobby into a potential full-time job.
We spoke to Andrew ‘PenguinZA’ Hodgkinson about what it means to be a streamer in South Africa, the unique challenges he faces, and where he sees the community heading.
Hi Andrew, would you mind briefly introducing yourself?
Hi Ryan! My name is Andrew ‘PenguinZA’ Hodgkinson. People can find me on twitch at https://www.twitch.tv/penguinza . I am also the Hearthstone caster for nAvTV . I am mostly a Hearthstone streamer, however I do stream other games which some of my viewers either want me to play or those which have been donated to me, such as Rocket League, Layers of Fear and many others!
Currently I have 143 followers on Twitch, and 1,809 views on my channel which is more than what I anticipated when I started streaming.
I currently have a follower goal of 200. When I reach this, I am going to torture myself and entertain my viewers by playing more Layers of Fear (I have 20 minutes in this game and about 10 days lack of sleep)
What is your current set up?
I have a very simple setup for the games which I play, here is my setup:
- CPU– Intel Core i5-4460 3.2 GHz
- RAM– 8GB DDR3 1333 MHz
- GFX– nVidia GTX 460
- Mouse– Razer Naga (Molten Edition)
- Keyboard– Razer Blackwidow Chroma
- Gaming Pad– Razer Goliathus (Extended)
- Headset– Razer Kraken USB
- Webcam– Logitech C525
How difficult is it working with South Africa’s internet issues as a Twitch streamer ?
Streaming in South Africa, especially in areas without fiber lines is a real challenge.
Streaming to twitch in a decent quality requires a solid upload speed. Normal ADSL does not always offer this. Living in East London, the fastest line that is available in my area is 10mbps. This is only 1mbps upload which can choke your line.
Being able to stream is amazing, but if your own experience is going to suffer, then you won’t enjoy it at all.
Currently I use a cellphone as my 4G signal is really good. This gives me the upload that allows me to stream in a good quality, and not to your detriment. Unfortunately this is very costly, and obtaining sponsorships for this is very difficult as gaming does not offer the companies much exposure as they would like and the return on it is very difficult to measure.
Where do you see South Africa’s Twitch community heading in the future?
South Africa has a big twitch viewership community. There are not many streamers who keep to a schedule. Once the internet infrastructure improves for the country as a whole, I could see more people trying it out and seeing where it goes from there.
I know that if I could turn this into a career I would most definitely do it, however having a lack of infrastructure to do such will be the downside for the next foreseeable future.
Is there going to be growth? Of course. Gaming is one of the biggest growing industries in the world, and evidence of such lies within the Telkom DGL Masters series.
Is there going to be growth in terms of viewers? It will most likely stay where it is right now because of the infrastructure. Once this becomes better, it would most like start growing.
Maybe someone will see this, maybe Twitch as well and I will get a partnered stream which will allow people to change the quality and not watch at the quality I stream at (All about keeping the dream alive!)
What are you personally playing at the moment and what are you most looking forward to in the coming year?
Currently I play Hearthstone both off and on stream. Right now, I am addicted to Rocket League. I have insane amounts of fun with this off stream!
Gaming wise for the year, I can’t wait for the Digital Gaming Championship. I have a few big things in terms of how production for Hearthstone at the event. I am also really excited by the news of new Hearthstone expansions, and that the crew at DontNod have announced Life is Strange 2 (I played the first one on stream, and… well… There were tears).
Where and how can people contact you should they have questions or to tune into your stream?
You can give me a follow on Twitter with the handle @ThePenguinZA, Facebook or any email correspondence.
Most importantly, my stream can be viewed here.