Natalie Acquisto from Perth, Australia was a make-up consultant before she discovered her talent in the gaming industry. Now known as NatChats online, the South African born 26-year-old has become one of the most successful female gamers Down Under. She gained 20,000 followers in just three months and is Australia’s only partnered streamer with Facebook Gaming.
Now, she has more than 300,000 followers who pay to watch her play Call of Duty and Fortnite. She says that she was initially hesitant to make the move to gaming full-time, which she viewed as risky, but her bet paid off. She has also had to contend with resistance from her family — especially her dad, who initially encouraged her to pursue a more traditional career path.
She says older generations find it hard to understand that in 2020, gaming can be a legitimate profession as technology evolves and new jobs emerge. Rather than depend on earning a living through gaming conventions, competitions, or paid partnerships, streamers can now develop their own business by interacting with fans.
And we HIT 300k FAM😍🥰❤️ wow THANK YOU so much for THE LOVE, And SUPPORT. What a WILD couple of months. It's been an…
On Facebook Gaming for instance, Acquisto earns points, or stars, each time fans respond. These stars translate into dollars, which she supplements with the sale of merchandise and subscriptions from fans, who pay $7 a month to watch her play. Although Facebook claims 30% of her earnings, with roughly 700 subscribers, she’s earning approximately $41,000 a year plus donations.
According to data commissioned by Google, the female video gaming community has grown by 19% in the last year. Although the industry grapples with a lack of diversity, in the United States, gamers are almost evenly split between men (54%) and women (46%) according to the Entertainment Software Association. Still, representation is lacking when it comes to development, with data showing that just 24% of game developers are women.
In addition, gaming has been criticized for promoting a culture that dismisses and is even abusive toward women. Stereotypes about so-called “gamer girls” have led to online harassment of female gamers, further gatekeeping the $150 billion industry. Thankfully, women like Acquisto are changing the rules of the game by fostering representation and showing that women can excel in the field.
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