Who is CouRage? How an esports fanatic became a streaming legend - Dexerto
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Who is CouRage? How an esports fanatic became a streaming legend

Published: 15/Oct/2019 17:05 Updated: 11/Nov/2019 17:32

by Jacob Hale

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You may know Jack ‘CouRage’ Dunlop as one of your favourite Fortnite streamers, but since discovering competitve gaming with Halo 3, he has played a part in both the growth of esports and livestreaming.

CouRage cites Halo 3 as the game that was responsible for “truly changing his life” in 2007. It was the first game he fell in love with, and the title with which he discovered the glory of competitive gaming, attending his first MLG event in Meadowlands in 2009.

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Never one to stick with one game though, CouRage moved onto playing Call of Duty, but it was the release of Fortnite in September 2017 that helped him become the phenomenon he is today. His stream following grew by millions and he became recognized as both an entertainer and a supremely skilled player. 

Interning at MLG

MLG/YouTubeCouRage got his start in esports broadcasting on MLG’s Esports Report

While he had enjoyed playing Halo back in the day, it wasn’t until 2014 that Jack made his first real step into turning a beloved hobby into a potential career when he was invited to be a summer intern at Major League Gaming.

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His first foray into entertainment was with MLG’s daily Esports Report, filling in for a sick Chris Puckett. He did such a good job that he was invited to be a co-host on the show for the next six weeks, before returning to college as an electronic media and film major at Towson University, Maryland.

Such was the impression that CouRage had left on the audience and his fellow MLG staff, however, that he was invited to join the broadcast talent team at MLG’s first event of the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare season, MLG Columbus.

Believing that he was capable of commentating, CouRage threw himself into the deep end and, as would become obvious in the next few years, he came out on top.

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Casting

MLGCouRage has been the voice behind some of the biggest moments in esports history.

CouRage quickly rose through the ranks at MLG, and by the time Black Ops 3 rolled around, he was a main event commentator, the one that fans wanted to watch. His work, commonly alongside Clint ‘Maven’ Evans, became an essential part of the Call of Duty esports show.

A natural-born entertainer, he broke the expectations of esports commentary, providing a much-needed element of juvenile fun with his over-the-top enthusiasm and questionable catchphrases and sayings.

Jack started streaming when he wasn’t commentating, playing wager matches with pro players and leading personalities in the CoD esports scene – it seemed a natural fit for him from the off.

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For two years CouRage was on and off streaming whilst working with MLG before he took the biggest and bravest step of his career.

Joining OpTic Gaming

HECZ/YouTubeCouRage formed a frendship with current NRG co-CEO Hector “H3CZ” Rodriguez in his time with OpTic.

On March 2, 2018, CouRage officially announced that he was going to be leaving MLG and esports commentary, before revealing on March 12 that he was to join OpTic Gaming as a full-time streamer. 

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His streaming efforts had grown since the release of Fortnite Battle Royale in September 2017, and joining OpTic was a landmark moment, representing the incredible efforts Jack had made in recent years to grow his personal brand and become an entertainer in his own right.

This was the start of something truly incredible for CouRage – he hadn’t taken the traditional route, but he was now a full-time content creator for OpTic Gaming and his stream immediately became even more popular than it already was. 

He had been gifted with the OpTic juice and he took his opportunity and amplified it to 11, becoming one of the fastest-growing streamers on Twitch and immediately integrating himself into a solid community with some of the biggest names on the platform.

One of the turning points in CouRage’s career came very early in his OpTic Gaming tenure – at the end of March 2018, he was hosted by Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins for over 130,000 viewers whilst playing Fortnite. At the time – and even now – a Ninja raid is just about all a streamer could ask for to see success, and CouRage took advantage of the opportunity perfectly.

In November 2018, only eight months after joining, it was announced that CouRage was leaving OpTic to fly solo, and so began the most fruitful period of CouRage’s life and career so far.

Going solo

CouRageJD/TwitchCouRage was fast-becoming one of Twitch’s most popular faces.

There was no doubt that CouRage had all the makings of a premier-level Twitch streamer, and within a few short months of joining OpTic, it became clear that he didn’t need the backing of an organization.

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On March 12, 2018, CouRage had 142,000 followers on Twitch. By the time he officially left the organization on November 16, 2018, he had surpassed one million followers, with that figure more than doubling in the 11 months since.

With the emergence of Fortnite esports, CouRage has had the opportunity to return to the casting desk and bring his fun, energetic style of commentary to an international audience that may have only previously watched his streams. He would call the action as $100m was shared between some of the world’s best Fortnite players.

He became a force much like he was in Call of Duty. As well as being one of the most popular streamers of the game that had taken over the world, he was the face that viewers expected to see on the desk when watching a Fortnite tournament. 

Joining 100 Thieves

CouRage joined 100 Thieves, one of the fastest-growing organizations in esports.

Not long after CouRage left OpTic, rumors surfaced that he was going to be joining 100 Thieves, the organization ran by OpTic’s former star Matthew ‘Nadeshot’ Haag. It was a slow burner, but they officially announced that CouRage would be joining on May 28, 2019, in a truly next-level esports content matchup.

In the months since, CouRage has become more than just a streamer or a commentator – he’s become a mainstream star. This is no more evident than in his (perhaps not real) relationship with pop sensation Ariana Grande, who he has always had an affection for.

On August 7, 2019, CouRage released a parody video of her new single Boyfriend, featuring Ariana herself. It was a clash between two worlds that seemed destined to never cross, but on a deeper look, it reflects everything Jack embodies. He pokes fun at himself, he has a mind for content unlike any other, and he puts himself in positions that he knows will help him grow, much like all those years ago when he first interned at MLG.

Now, CouRage is one of the most followed personalities on Twitch and is a name that has become synonymous with streaming and gaming. He’s a character that transcends the industries in which he belongs and will continue to break barriers in gaming and esports.

Taking over

CouRage’s life motto is a simple one: “Don’t take part, take over.” It’s something that he has repeated time and time again throughout his short streaming career, a saying that he reiterates every time he hits a major milestone. He’s even been teasing a merchandise line called “Take Over”, proof of his commitment to the phrase.

Taking over is something he has done almost naturally, and his success is a direct result of his innate abilities as a gamer, a broadcaster and a person.

CouRage’s unrelenting energy, with the pterodactyl screeching and natural juvenile excitement, is a trait he has brought to every walk of life – in streaming, casting, and the real world. His understanding of every platform he utilizes is second to none. Neither is his ability to plug his channels at every available moment, be it with his gifts to his friends or in 100 Thieves founder Nadeshot’s vlogs.

MLGCouRage has been working in the industry since 2014.

He has surrounded himself with the right people from the get-go – from teaching professional Halo players StarCraft II in his younger years, to befriending streamers such as Ninja and Timthetatman, and hiring Swpah as an editor to bring his YouTube content up a level. These are all well-calculated moves that have seen Jack go from Halo fan to Call of Duty caster, and superstar streamer in the space of 10 years.

His self-deprecating humor makes him instantly likable, and the storylines he builds through his content make it near-impossible to get bored of. His ability to poke fun at his weight or his inability to get a girlfriend is endearing, but also completely relatable for the average viewer – no matter how successful he becomes, he feels like a regular person, just like anybody else tuning in.

You can simply look at his relationship with Connor, a young Fortnite player who accidentally fell into Jack’s hands and the hearts of his thousands of viewers, to see that the man knows what makes people tick. Their ongoing friendship, which most closely resembles a relationship between two brothers, is symbolic of the kind of person CouRage is.

And that’s exactly what makes him the legend he is today.

Business

Twitch staff accused of tricking streamer into promoting brands

Published: 7/Oct/2020 21:28 Updated: 7/Oct/2020 21:34

by Alan Bernal

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Twitch streamers are speaking out against the broadcasting platform for attempting to promote brands within individual chats. Content creators are slamming the practice, especially since they have no control of removing the adverts from their channel.

One longtime YouTuber and Twitch streamer who goes by ‘The Black Hokage’ noticed a staffer had dropped a message in his Chat. The purpose of the text, sent by ‘newcryka,’ was to have the streamer acknowledge the listed brand with 400 Bits attached to the post.

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He immediately took issue with the move: “Yo, are you promoting something?… You got a Twitch staff symbol next to your name, are you promoting sh*t in my Chat?”

After posting the interaction on Twitter, more streamers slammed the apparent unsolicited advertisement from the streaming platform.

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“Creators beware! Twitch staff is now going around donating spare change in an attempt to trick you into shouting out brands without proper compensation. Don’t fall for it,” The Black Hokage said.

Twitch partner and viral streamer ‘negaoryx’ responded: “Which is great, because we can’t moderate anything said by Twitch staff in chat, so we can’t even purge it… great…”

There is a function that lets people ‘/Clear’ their channels messaging log, which lets “broadcasters and chat moderators to completely wipe the previous chat history.” This feature doesn’t apply to messages from Twitch staff accounts.

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However the means, content creators and the wider Twitch community got an indication that the streaming platform could experience more intrusive marketing campaigns.

Some believe that The Black Hokage’s clip could have been a Twitch advertisement staff member testing out a new form of social engagement tactics meant for branding – and the thought isn’t unfounded.

In early August, an outside company released how its latest marketing scheme made use of Twitch’s donation alerts to get a branded sound bite played on a streamer’s channel. Their video showed multiple instances of a Twitch account surprising streamers by donating $5 to get a brand’s name and current offerings played on their page.

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The idea was immediately chastised for its way of engaging in promotion and sponsorship for a company without consulting or locking a paid deal with the individual streamer. However, despite inevitable backlash, advertisers are still trying out new methods of outreach.

The Amazon-owned streaming site has been incorporating more ways to engage audiences with branding promotions and advertisements.

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Twitch
Amazon solutions for ads have directly integrated Twitch channels and streamers in the past.

“Twitch video and display media, as well as new Twitch audiences, are now available for inclusion in Amazon Advertising campaigns, and Amazon audiences are available for inclusion in Twitch campaigns,” Amazon wrote. “We’re delighted to share that we are combining Twitch’s hard-to-reach and highly engaged audiences with Amazon Advertising’s integrated full-funnel advertising offering.

Days after Amazon announced it had added Twitch to its Amazon Advertising portfolio, the streaming site announced it was testing out mid-roll ads for channels. This too was vehemently criticized by everyone from Twitch streamers to viewers, and the idea was later abandoned.

Twitch
Twitch has been experimenting with new ad campaigns that have drawn ire from viewers and streamers.

A feature that hasn’t gone back to the drawing board has been the picture-in-picture mode for ads that minimizes and mutes the main stream while playing a fullscreened promotion. This too was received with angst from viewers.

Twitch’s latest attempt at finding a more engaging way to introduce ads to its reported 17.5 million daily users has, again, created ire from its partnered content creators.

As Amazon and Twitch continue to create advertising solutions for its highly-valuable and impressionable audiences, the platform’s streamers will be on the lookout for more marketing tactics that look to benefit off of their communities.