If you’re a big fan of Starcraft 2 or any Real-Time Strategy games, at least a big enough fan to search them on Youtube, there’s a real possibility you’ve heard this term before. But what exactly does it mean? I sat down with “Crota”, purveyor of the Youtube channel Blizshouter, to find out.
“The difference between a shoutcast and a commentary is that the shoutcaster has no prior knowledge of the game,” Crota said, “A lot of players like that aspect. It’s like watching a live sporting event; they don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Crota, 28, of Irvine, California, got into shoutcasting when family life began to limit how often he could actually play games.
“I would get in a bad mood when I would play and lose,” Crota said, “My wife said ‘you need a new hobby’, one where I could be happy with my gaming experience.”
Crota also wanted increase American awareness of e-sports, already popular in Europe and Asia. He credits this disparity in popularity to an American preoccupation with machismo.
“I don’t know how many times I’ve been called a ‘nerd’,” Crota said, “but as [e-sports] become more popular and people come to understand it more, it will be more integrated.”
Since starting out as a shoutcaster Crota said he estimates spending “in the realm of $2500” for software and hardware upgrades, but striving toward integrating e-sports into mainstream American culture makes it all worthwhile.
Crota said his channel stands out among the various other shoutcasters populating Youtube because of his extensive technical knowledge of the numbers at work behind the gameplay. Having worked as a game tester, game theory and numbers have always piqued his interest.
“I wanted to figure out how I could use those numbers to my benefit,” Crota said.
And benefit he has, blowing his initial aspirations out of the water.
“I used to joke that one day I would have more subscribers on my channel than videos,” Crota said.
Currently, Crota’s channel offers roughly 1,400 videos. His subscribers, however, have multiplied into the neighborhood of 35,000. Feedback from these subscribers is part of what keeps Crota going, though not all of the feedback is good.
“It’s a little disheartening having trolls telling you that you suck,” Crota said. “You’ve got to take everything with a grain of salt, not everyone is going to be entertained by the same thing. That makes me feel a little better at the end of the day.”
Crota’s perseverence has obviously spelled success for his shoutcasting endeavors. His channel was recently picked up by Machinima, and he’s been invited by Team Malaysia to cast the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals of a tournament coming up in October. He’s also working out the details for his own Starcraft 2 Open Tournament, date to-be-announced.
Sage Advice (for players): “Never stop producing workers. They are your whole backbone; your ability to create a large army.”
Sage Advice (for shoutcasters): “Whenever you’re shoutcasting, figure out exactly what it is you are trying to describe. Figure out your niche and find your own voice. If something doesn’t feel natural to you, don’t try to imitate it.”