Speaking to The Post, Betar outlined his motivations for upending the apple cart after nearly a decade of easygoing reliability on Twitch. While he still enjoys creating content, it’s an all-consuming lifestyle, and he’s ready to branch out.
“I want to be able to experience more, and I definitely have since I’ve gotten in there with YouTube, WME and different companies I’ve been working with," Betar said. "But do I have an endgame? I guess I’d say the answer is ‘no.’ ”
While there is potential for Betar to parlay his new role as part-owner of Complexity into more of a background act and, as he put it, “slowly kind of fade,” he’s said that’s not his aim. These days, the streaming star is trying to put more on his plate — not less. Becoming a part-owner of Complexity made perfect sense to him because he’s a big Dallas Cowboys fan, and he said that team owner Jerry Jones is “plugged in” and takes a hands-on approach to gaming rather than just “owning or investing in something and just being like ‘Yeah’ and letting it run.”
“Right now I’m just trying to expand as much as I can without compromising," Betar said. "I want to be able to branch out and get my feet wet in a role — just kind of experience it.”
In recent times, an increasing number of prominent content creators have linked arms with esports organizations. This benefits those organizations, which frequently have a difficult time generating a reliable cash flow via the precarious business of esports alone. For example, FaZe Clan, the esports organization that announced its plan to go public with an estimated $1 billion valuation last week, generated much of its notoriety due to its stable of content creators — not its competitive performance in video games. But when creators like Betar receive splashy titles like “part-owner,” what do they actually do? Betar said that at Complexity, he does more than just flash his pearly whites and boost the brand.
“I’m really plugged in and texting [CEO of Complexity’s parent company, GameSquare Esports] Justin Kenna and [Complexity founder] Jason Lake — trying to talk to them as frequently as I can and making sure we’re on the same page with stuff,” he said, using a recent pop-up store in Frisco, Texas, and a merch drop that paired Betar’s name with Cowboys iconography as examples of things he’s helped plan. “It’s not just like, ‘Here’s some money each year, promote the brand.’ I have a drive to make this as big and as good as I can because obviously I am now also an owner of this.”
Betar’s recent move to YouTube has helped facilitate this dynamic. With streaming now taking up less of his life than before, he can not only spend time with his family — one of the stated goals of his move to YouTube — but also travel.
“I’m not online as much as I was, so I’m also able to do stuff like this Complexity trip, for example, to go to the pop-up," he said. "Before, that might have been more difficult to make happen because of what I was doing as far as streaming hours go.”
Betar is also pleased with his decision because it meant putting Twitch in the rearview mirror just a month before an anonymous 4chan user leaked a vast trove of Twitch’s data including source code and streamer payout figures. Betar’s pay was part of the leak, and he said viewers ventured over to his YouTube chat just to ask him about it.
“Ultimately, data breaches are terrible, right?” he said. "You don’t want info that’s not supposed to be out there out there. So obviously, [Twitch] really dropped the ball on that."
In chewing on the ramifications of the leak, Betar used sports, his hobby-turned-business-pursuit, as a comparison.
“I’ve always thought it’d be interesting to have it be like with baseball players or football players, where their contracts are always announced," Betar said. "After the leak, I still can’t really tell if it’s a good or bad thing that people have an idea of roughly how much some of these guys and girls make.”
At the very least, the leak revealed just how few people are able to make a livable wage on Twitch despite the numerous hours put in by millions of streamers. Betar said he hasn’t burned out or lost his passion for streaming like a growing number of his fellow content creators, because even before moving to YouTube, he prioritized taking breaks.
“Kids are doing 200-250 hours per month, and some of the older streamers are still doing 200 hours a month," he said. “It’s abnormal what I do; usually I’ll take a solid week or two weeks in the summer to spend time with family — grandparents, in-laws and everyone. People online will make fun of me and say I’m a part-time streamer or that I don’t even stream, but those breaks are so crucial to me. Honest to God, I think that’s why I haven’t experienced burnout.”
Of course, many streamers are not established enough to risk taking a hit to their subscriber counts, as viewers are liable to wander into the open arms of a bigger name with more hours on the clock. In that regard, Betar has been fortunate. As a streaming institution with nearly a decade of experience, he’s built an audience that will stick with him through breaks and, now, a transition to a new platform. Still, he recognizes the mindsets streamers can get into when they spend more time being on-camera personas than regular people.
“Burnout is a very, very serious thing in the industry,” he said. “You can get so locked in on these numbers and trying different things like, ‘Oh, is this going to work better?’ Ultimately, having that balance in life and being able to step away and just kind of take a rest is an extremely valuable thing.”
But no matter how you slice it, streaming professionally is an especially time-consuming job. Betar isn’t done yet, but there might come a day when he decides it is time to fade out for good.
“I’m 31," he said. "In the gaming space, I’m an older guy, for sure. I was playing games when I was 16. If I thought about a 31-year-old playing games [back then], I would’ve been like, ‘Man, that guy’s so old.’ As of right now, I still have this passion to create content and stream. Five or 10 years from now, I don’t know where I’m going to be. Maybe at that point, after two decades of streaming, I’ll be like, ‘You know what? I think I’m good.’ ”
Betar is, however, encouraged by the fact that as he’s gotten older, started a family and diversified his interests, members of his audience have done the same.
“I’ve always wondered: Am I just going to fall off one of these days, like when I’m 35?" Betar said. "But ultimately, the community we’ve curated is getting older as well. Instead of being 21 and talking about, like, ‘Yeah dude, I was at the bar,’ now we’re talking about [things like], ‘My kid is going to kindergarten now.’ It’s developed into this spot where we’re all kind of growing together.”