Lucas Nuzzo spends his days juggling the various obligations of his full-time class schedule, social life and 50-hour work week. The stress of this can sometimes weigh on Nuzzo, especially since his job requires him to entertain hundreds of people daily.
Nuzzo, a fourth-year in psychology, is a video game livestreamer. Six or seven days a week, he streams a variety of games under the moniker “MrMouton” to an audience of 200-400 individuals on Twitch.tv, a popular livestreaming website.
Two years ago, Nuzzo began to livestream. What began as a hobby soon became a line of work. Since then, Nuzzo has acquired 700 subscribers, individuals who pay monthly for streaming benefits, 13,000 followers, and Twitch users who do not pay for monthly benefits. He also receives $1,000-$2,000 monthly in separate donations from his viewers by playing games such as Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and World of Warcraft.
“It was more just like a thing that I thought would be fun to do,” Nuzzo said. “Like I could do this while going to school and make it a kind of job … I play video games and people think I’m funny and watch me. That’s pretty much the best way to describe it.”
Twitch.tv is a streaming site with a continuously growing user base. According to a statistic from May 2018, the site has 15 million daily users. A popular Twitch streamer named Ninja was even featured on the cover of ESPN Magazine in September.
As the popularity of livestreaming grows, so does Nuzzo’s prospective career. Currently, his stream is in the top 1 percent of all broadcasters on Twitch. This success did not come without Nuzzo’s hard work.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize how difficult it actually is,” Nuzzo said. “Most people are like, ‘Oh, I like video games. I like playing video games.’ Do you like playing video games eight hours a day, seven days a week, almost every single week? I don’t take it for granted, though … There are way harder things to do than what I do.”
Nuzzo became involved in the live-streaming industry when he was 16. At that point, he was not streaming himself, but was recurrently featured on popular streamer Destiny’s broadcast. He continued to collaborate with Destiny in the following years, slowly taking up the role of a community manager and stream regular. He credits Destiny as a big part of his success.
“I was a viewer who became friends with [Destiny,]” Nuzzo said. “[The viewers] find me because of him usually, but then they watch me because they like my personality.”
In any Twitch livestream, viewers are able to interact directly with the broadcaster through a chat box. Nuzzo said this open dialogue is a big factor of his success. Not only does it provide interactivity, but it also allows Nuzzo to be conversational and closer with his audience.
Nuzzo said his tendency to interact with viewers makes his stream more appealing, but it also brings additional enjoyment to his viewers.
“One thing that a lot of people don’t understand … as weird as it sounds, I genuinely bring these people joy,” he said. “I can make people’s days and that’s such a weird thing to think about is that, me, a 21 year old who plays video games full-time, can genuinely make people happy. Stuff like that, it kind of puts it in a new perspective.”
Before discovering a career in streaming, Nuzzo wanted to pursue a career in psychology. Sarah Cavender, longtime friend of Nuzzo and student at Wright State University, said she believes his interest in psychology manifests itself in his streaming and relates back to Nuzzo’s tendency to interact with viewers.
“I remember that being something he wanted to do,” Cavender said. “He just wanted to be somebody to talk to others and be there for them and help them through whatever they’re going through … I always knew he was going to go into some kind of job where he was working with people.”
For Nuzzo, connecting with people is important. He said his ability to form relationships with his viewers gives him a sense of fulfillment and is something he’s proud of.
“One thing that I remember, more than anything else … there was a viewer who donated me $5,” Nuzzo said. “He was like, ‘Hey, I’m from Romania and I don’t have that much money, but I wanted to give you this and let you know that you make me feel way better.’ That kind of just stuck with me.”
Nuzzo plans to spend his first year after graduation pursuing a career in streaming. Despite the stress his job can bring, Nuzzo said he wouldn’t want to do anything else.
“I can’t imagine myself without streaming right now. It’s my income. It’s what I love to do.”