MOUNDRIDGE — To a casual observer, one room in Clayton Hodson's home bears a resemblance to NASA's mission control.
Multiple computers and monitors illuminate the area from which the Moundridge resident creates videos and live streams video game play to engage with other players and enthusiasts around the world. Hodson also reviews video games and accessories.
"I have some days where I'll just play whatever I feel like and then other days I'll play popular games to try to bring new people to my channel," Hodson said. "Most of my content revolves around Grand Theft Auto, because I do some funny stuff when I play that game."
His live streams attract people who are either gamers themselves or those who are entertained by watching an expert navigate a challenging game.
"People like watching somebody really, really good at the game," Hodson said.
Video game skills are only part of what draws in Hodson's audience.
"When you're live streaming, it's a little bit more than just sitting there, playing a video game,” Hodson said. “You have to pay attention to the comments coming in.”
Hodson responds quickly to people who comment on his videos, cracking jokes and responding to both taunts and compliments.
“You have to actively engage people who are typing in the comments feed,” Hodson said. “Not everybody does that, but I do that because my audience really likes it.”
In the gaming world, Hodson goes by “Soverign92”. His Facebook page has nearly 1,500 followers and some of his YouTube videos have more than 3,500 views.
“According to Facebook, a lot of my content is popular in Australia and England,” Hodson said. “But I think that’s mainly due in part to the time of day in which I do it.”
Hodson uses a microphone, compressor and mixing board to enhance the audio quality of his videos.
“I’ve got live audio effects that I can cue up at the push of a button,” Hodson said.
He learned the importance of having clear audio by watching live streams put out by other players.
“Even if the video content is not necessarily the best, you can get away with that if you’ve got good audio,” Hodson said. “I thought, ‘some people are having some success with it, so why not give it a shot?’”
His productions have caught the eye of some players who even donate money to him to help cover the costs of his streaming software, internet connection, equipment and video games.
“I’m a relatively small content producer right now — I don’t have any sponsors — but I do have people sending me money on PayPal and Patreon,” Hodson said. “They like what I do and they understand there are a lot of costs that go into doing it.”
Hodson has played video games since a young age, and appreciates being able to continue doing so through the internet service offered in Moundridge.
“They were really needing to modernize the internet in this town and I’m glad they did that,” Hodson said. “It allows me to do things like this.”
Learning new skills for his live streaming efforts — from graphic production to online marketing — provides Hodson with a challenge he relishes.
“My goal is to get to the point to be able to just do this for a living,” Hodson said.
To watch Hodson’s videos and live streams, visit https://www.facebook.com/soverign92 or https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5Caw7HBtFteadN8Vl3xaWg.
Contact Patricia Middleton by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her stories on Twitter at @MacSentinel.