Meet the Gladstone man paid to play video games
IT'S the career every young gamer dreams of.
Matt Gregory, known online as Anthropic, gets paid to play video games.
The 24-year-old Gladstone resident is a streamer - someone who plays games for a live online audience.
While the concept may seem strange to those who didn't grow up surrounded by gaming culture, it is fast becoming one of the most popular - and lucrative - forms of online entertainment.
The top streamers in the world are international celebrities, hauling in millions of dollars a year.
Mr Gregory broadcasts on the popular Twitch platform, playing for hours every night, seven days a week, with thousands of followers.
And while he's not yet able to call it his full-time job, his subscriber count has grown considerably over the past few weeks.
50 people now pay him $5 a month to ensure he keeps his channel growing.
"I'd like it to be my full-time job, but I'm looking after (one-year-old daughter) Ellie full-time, so that's my real job," he laughed.
"It's a hobby that I make a little bit of money from."
Mr Gregory said most people did not recognise streaming took a lot of work to be successful.
Streamers compete for viewers in a crowded online marketplace, with rivals all across the world - and there's always someone doing something new and different.
"I used to think it was about being the best person at the game, but that's not true at all," Mr Gregory said.
"We (Australia) have our own eSports team, and some of them have tried to stream, but because they're professional players people don't connect with them the same way.
"Every moment, something funny has to happen to keep people watching, otherwise (viewers) just click off.
"I'm constantly changing and improving... it takes a lot more experience than I think people realise."
To keep his followers engaged with his content, Mr Gregory interacts with fans on social media, produces a highlights video each month and makes sure he's always doing something fresh and different on his stream.
He switched from playing competitive multi-player games like League of Legends and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds to the role-playing classic Skyrim recently for a change of pace, allowing him to get a little more creative with the characters he inhabits.
He uses a green screen to ensure viewers have an unimpeded view of the games he's playing, and keeps a stack of props and gimmicks on hand (including a Rubik's Cube and plastic money) ready to be called on at any time.
He also tries to distinguish himself visually from his competition.
"It's a character I've made that I always wear a bowtie," he said.
"If you look on the browse page on Twitch you see thousands of gamers, and I wanted to stand out."
While some of his family were skeptical when he started the hobby two and a half years ago, they came around as his channel started to find success.
"Mum didn't believe it until she started seeing how much money I was making and how many followers I had," Mr Gregory said.
"I told her to compare it to macadamia nut trees, (which) take 10 years before they produce any nuts.
"So that's a big time investment before you're getting any return."
But as with everything on the internet, streaming is not all fun and games.
Producing any kind of content and putting it in the public eye opens the door to those who use the cover of anonymity to harrass people.
Mr Gregory said dealing with online abuse was a skill he learned like any other.
"Most trolls or people that have malicious intent are just looking for attention... so when people come in to my chat and be like 'You're fat', or 'You suck' (or worse), I just ban them," he said.
"I used to get defensive (but) it's not worth even that five minutes, because it lowers the hype and the positivity of the stream, so it makes all the other viewers feel bummed out."
Online gaming recently made international headlines after an American man was charged with making a hoax 911 call about a "hostage situation" late last month.
The call was allegedly designed to lead authorities to the home of another man he was arguing with over Call of Duty - a harassment tactic known online as "swatting".
Police officers arrived at a different home and fatally shot a 25-year-old man.
Mr Gregory said he was aware of the incident and was careful not to divulge too much information about himself online.
"I think that I'm glad I'm in Australia, our police wouldn't just come and shoot me," he said.
Though anyone with a webcam and a powerful enough PC can begin streaming, Mr Gregory said a good internet connection was vital.
"It was really terrible when I started - I mean, it wasn't terrible, I got a lot of followers, but I was playing without NBN," he said.
"I had a 1MBps upload on normal ADSL2.
"When we were looking for a house, my wife was pregnant and I was streaming ... she wanted a bigger house for a baby, and I wanted NBN."
Mr Gregory said he felt "blessed" to be part of what he said was a generational change in entertainment.
"It's just like TV but it's not controlled by big business," he said.
"It's independently owned, people broadcast their own content, and people watch because they connect."
Click here to watch Anthropic's live stream, usually between 8pm and 1am every night.*
*WARNING: Mature language.