Five months ago, the nonprofit 1,000 Dreams Fund set up its BroadcastHER Grant to provide financial aid for women who broadcast on the livestreaming platform Twitch. It received more than 600 applications, and it has selected 50 winners, each of whom will receive a grant of $500 to $2,000.
Some of the broadcasters have their eyes set on event like Blizzard’s fan convention BlizzCon, while others are competitive players who would like to attend Valve’s The International competition for the multiplayer online battle arena Dota 2. Others are using the funds for networking at Twitch’s annual event TwitchCon, which brings streamers together from all over the platform.
Other streamers will use their grants to purchase hardware, like upgrading their monitors or graphics cards or getting their own rig set up since they currently share with a partner or family. But broadcasting isn’t just for folks who play games; many of the finalists are developers and artists who are creating in the gaming space. One is a software engineer who develops software for gamers, and another is a composer who applied for the grant so that she can buy more musical instruments and recording equipment.
Emily Mulgrue, one of the Twitch BroadcastHER Grant recipients, is currently at the Swedish accelerator program Stugan working on her witchy visual novel game Grimoire. She streams her game development process as a way to keep herself on track.
“I started streaming my game dev process to try and be as productive as possible — having an audience holds me accountable while working at home, alone,” said Mulgrue in an email to GamesBeat. “I think it’s important to be a visible woman working in games, and what better way to do that than by streaming the development of a game?”
The grant will help Mulgrue purchase broadcasting peripherals, like a new microphone and headphones, as well as upgrade her computer so that she can stream more resource-intensive games.
“Part of my stream is to analyze games from a developer’s perspective, but I’m not able to both play and stream some types of games with my current hardware,” said Mulgrue. “A new capture card will let me increase the variety of games I can show and discuss.”
Twitch is increasingly becoming a home for developers who want to share their development process. Developer William Chyr streams work on his game Manifold Garden almost daily. Some small recurring game jams have even popped up on the platform, like KrassJam by the indie dev Krassenstein, where developers will work on themed projects over the course of 72 hours, streaming all the while.
Broadcasting can help developers find audiences who provide emotional support. Mulgrue says that she’s grateful for the community she’s found, even though it’s currently quite small.
“I found out about BroadcastHER through a fellow woman in games after she posted it to her Facebook,” said Mulgrue. “I’m so humbled and happy; since my stream is so small I haven’t felt eligible for many opportunities. I’m incredibly pleased to have been chosen; if I’m completely honest, I don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet!”