How Techstars’ GameWisp is taking over the 350 million-person YouTube gaming market

Carlin Sack

Despite a few hiccups during their first beta test on Friday, over 100 users stayed engaged with GameWisp’s new product for over an hour. That’s because people are hungry for what GameWisp, a member of Techstars Chicago’s current class, is offering.

How Watchroom blends live streaming and video viewing

GameWisp’s Watchroom product allows gaming video creators (who record their gaming sessions and post it on platforms like YouTube) to interact with their fans via live video commentary so they can explain gaming strategies, etc. The Watchroom is something of a mix between live streaming and recorded video viewing.

Watchroom has the potential to be used by the over 350 million people that view gaming video on a monthly basis. These people account for over 3 billion views a month (and that’s a conservative estimate).

“The gaming video community is one of the largest markets of consumers that few people seem to be aware of,” co-founder Eli Hooten said. “It is a huge market that is barely being tapped at this point.”

How they help gaming video creators monetize

Creators of these videos, like PewDiePie (the highest YouTube earner with over 3.7 billion views) or Guude (a creator with over 400,000 subscribers who beta tested with GameWisp on Friday), are still trying to find ways to monetize their channels. Right now, creators’ fans try to support them any way they can - whether it be via PayPal or other general monetization solutions.

But GameWisp is offering a single solution that allows them to interact with their fans while still monetizing. This solution is smart, not to mention perfectly timed. Fan bases are eager to engage in ways other than commenting and Tweeting while creators are eager to monetize their venture.

“Many of these creators, especially the ones who already do this full time for a living and have several hundred thousand to millions of subscribers, see themselves as a business,” Hooten said. “So in a sense, we have to approach converting them as a business-to-business transaction.”

As GameWisp gets creators on board to help them monetize, it will be looking for ways to monetize itself. A few ideas now include providing video creators with a way to charge users monthly subscriptions for exclusive content or a one-time charge for Watchroom events - so that GameWisp can then take a commission.

What GameWisp is working on now

GameWisp started about two years ago in Nashville as a cloud backup and sharing solution targeting the gaming community, but pivoted to focus solely on gaming video. Now they are at the point of jumping in to try out their product with live users, iterating and then doing it all over again so they can get in the hands of more creators and more fans.

Friday’s beta test for instance proved that the Watchroom platform was stable with over 200 simultaneous connections on the site. Now the seven-person GameWisp team is looking to try larger tests and then even larger ones after that.

“Watchroom came out of talking to video creators and viewers and assessing their wants and needs with regards to interactivity,” Hooten said. “While we still have work to do to improve it, the essence of the solution is there.”

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