One humid morning this past summer, Omeed Dariani drove his black Tesla sedan through the foothills east of San Diego, looking apprehensive. That day, he was on his way to meet the streamer Roberto Garcia, who was supposed to be at home but had instead gone to a casino outside the city to celebrate his girlfriend’s birthday.
He is thirty-eight, with a dry, ironic wit and a nervous habit of twirling his goatee, which is rapidly going gray; his clients are, for the most part, young, boisterous, and unpredictable.
of Online Performers Group, a talent-management company dedicated to professional video-game streamers, who broadcast their game play and commentary live over the Internet.
Dariani’s speedometer crept toward ninety miles per hour.
“We just need to get there before he starts to drink,” he said.
Garcia, known online as Towelliee, is a star broadcaster on Twitch, a streaming platform whose popularity has turned recreational gaming into an improbably viable career.
Each month, a hundred million visitors watch their favorite personalities play video games on Twitch, spending an average of nearly two hours a day there.
This audience is large enough to make the site one of the twenty most trafficked in the U.
S., yet it’s perhaps more apt to measure Twitch against a different medium.
With viewership numbers that rival those of MSNBC or CNN, Twitch is less like a conventional Web site than like a kaleidoscopic television network: thousands of channels at once, broadcasting live at every hour of the day.
Shortly before noon, Dariani pulled up in front of the Viejas Casino & Resort and handed his keys to a valet.
He strode inside, eyes scanning the acres of slot machines.