In the relentlessly on-demand world of livestream gaming, few are as in demand as the YouTube creator Valkyrae.
Last month, over 650,000 fans viewed her playing the space-cartoon multiplayer game Among Us. A few days earlier, she starred as the blood-spitting heroine in Machine Gun Kelly’s new horror-tinged music video, “Day Walker.” Valkyrae, who goes by Rae, also announced a web talk show, “Q and Rae,” and was declared the “Queen of YouTube” by the online e-sports news site Dexerto.
Stream Hatchet, a gaming analytics company, estimates that fans spent 24 million hours watching her during the pandemic. “Rae is the fastest growing live streamer in the entire world, and now the biggest female gaming streamer in the world,” Ryan Wyatt, the head of YouTube’s gaming division, declared on Twitter in October.
The 29-year-old gamer can now add company executive to her accomplishments. Valkyrae, whose real name is Rachell Hofstetter, was named today as one of six owners of 100 Thieves, the e-sports team juggernaut and lifestyle brand in Los Angeles. Jack Dunlop, 26, better known as the Fortnite megastar CouRage, was also named as an owner.
They join Scooter Braun, the music manager; Dan Gilbert, the Cleveland Cavaliers owner and co-founder of Quicken Loans; the rapper Drake; and Matthew Haag, known as “Nadeshot” and who is the former Call of Duty champion who founded 100 Thieves. “One of our core beliefs is to build a brand that is by gamers, for gamers,” Mr. Haag said.
As co-owners, Valkyrae and CouRage will receive equity in the company, which Forbes magazine recently valued at $190 million. Part of their role is sweet talking and signing new talent in the fickle, youth-driven world of high-profile gamers, either as e-sport athletes or livestreaming personalities.
They will also seek moneymaking initiatives beyond actual gaming, including expanding the company’s popular street wear line (think Supreme for streamers) and working with the Creative Artists Agency, which signed 100 Thieves in October, on entertainment deals in film, television and podcasts.
“Rae and Jack have such great instincts in the gaming community, which matters now more than ever because so many young kids want to be entertainers in the digital space,” Mr. Haag said.
The appointment of Valkyrae, the company’s first female owner, is also an acknowledgment of the growing influence of female players, who now make up nearly 41 percent of video game users in the United States, according to Statista.
“My girlfriends and I have been playing video games since we were 6 years old,” Valkyrae said. “It’s not that women gamers are new. What is new is that we are more visible now.”
Live From Beverly Hills
In a Zoom interview last month, Valkyrae was still reeling from her title change. “Yeah, apparently somehow I am co-owner of 100 Thieves, which is insane,” she said, flashing a toothy grin that is well known to her fans.
She was seated in her usual spot: a white ergonomic gaming chair by Mavix, before a 27-inch HP Omen gaming monitor in the bedroom of her new modern home just outside of Beverly Hills. Her blue-light glasses and large wireless headphones made her resemble an air traffic controller, tasked with managing an endless livestream.
“I started streaming when I was 23 and I just haven’t stopped,” she said. “I’ve been doing this every day for years and years.”
Women like Valkyrae and Pokimane, a 24-year-old Canadian-Moroccan streamer with over seven million followers on Twitch, are part of a new generation of high-profile female gamers who have a cultural footprint that rivals that of Hollywood actors and pro athletes among Gen Z.
Corporations have noticed. Valkyrae recently teamed up with Sweetgreen, a salad chain, as the face of its Crispy Collections menu, and Totino’s, the frozen-pizza brand, has sponsored her streams. On Tuesday, she joined Jimmy Fallon, Questlove and the cast of Netflix’s “Stranger Things”…