With an ever-increasing market valuation within the video games industry free-to-play games are becoming more interesting for researchers. These types of games have no cost to play but seem to generate substantial amounts of revenue. One associated cause of this is the simultaneous rise in popularity of video game streamers. Video game streamers have been considered a form of influencer and have become interesting for researchers in this field to study. However very little of this research has been focused on the intersection between freeto- play games and streamers, or how gamers as consumers perceive product endorsements in their favorite streamers videos on YouTube or Twitch. This research focused on FortNite as the free-to-play game due to its success in the monetization process as well as its rapid growth in popularity since its release in 2017 to becoming one of the top Battle Royale competitive games across gaming platforms. As such the following research provides a new avenue for insights into gamer’s perceptions of streamers YouTube videos specifically exploring how players perceive streamers as influencers and how these internal perceptions shape their experience of the streamers videos and their own gameplay. In-depth semistructured interviews were conducted revealing that gamers perceive streamers in 3 distinct ways, as entertainers, an inspiration to play and as endorsers. Streamers are perceived as entertainers by showcasing high-level gameplay. Gamers consume this content because it is perceived as fun, relaxing, and an engaging way to learn. Streamers are an inspiration to play by inspiring competition, collaboration, curiosity and commitment in gamers through their expertise in showcasing the game. Finally gamers perceive streamers as endorsers through their videos as skins are perceived as giving social status, the battle pass is perceived to provide rewards, skin choice is highlighted in the player's game, and new game mechanics are promoted. The practical implications of this research and links to existing theory are discussed as well as new possible avenues for research into the topic of free-toplay gaming and influencer marketing.

Additional Metadata
Keywords media, business, Free-to-Play gaming, Gamer perception, Influencer marketing, FortNite, Video Game, Streamers
Thesis Advisor T. de la Hera
Persistent URL hdl.handle.net/2105/50063
Series Media & Business
R. King. (2019, June 27). Gamer perception of endorsements from FortNite Streamers on YouTube. Media & Business. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2105/50063