Angus Hartmann spends up to 12 hours a day playing games and making YouTube videos. (ABC News: Penny Travers)
Angus Hartman is an NBA player, but unless you’re into online gaming you probably haven’t heard of him.
Better known online as Killzamoi, the Canberra teenager is Australia’s top NBA 2K YouTuber, with more than 92,000 subscribers.
His channel features videos of himself playing the basketball simulation game, along with running commentary.
Hartmann’s YouTube following caught the attention of United States video game publisher 2K, which last month flew him to Los Angeles to be scanned into the latest version of the NBA game — a rare opportunity few YouTubers have had.
As a result, the 19-year-old can now play as an identical animated version of himself on the NBA court.
“When I was first told, I was shocked. Really the only people who are scanned into the game are very big rappers,” he said.
150 HD cameras inside the Pixelgun trailer captured every angle of Hartmann to create a scan to upload into the NBA 2K20 game. (Supplied: 2K Games)
When gaming becomes a day job
Each year millions of people go online to watch esports and gaming videos — be it to improve their own game or for sheer entertainment.
For gamers with a following there are opportunities to be had and money to be made.
“It’s underrated how much people watch gaming. It’s a big, big market,” Hartmann said.
The in-game Hartmann looks exactly the same as the real-life version, just a bit taller. (Supplied)
But, for most YouTuber gamers, their now lucrative businesses began as a way of having fun with friends and family.
Hartmann received his first games console when he was six years old and started his YouTube channel when he was 11.
“I remember always being into gaming: playing with my brother and my dad,” he said.
But it wasn’t until 2013 that he became hooked on NBA 2K, when the game released its MyTeam mode, allowing players to draft their own top basketball team.
In 2017, while his school mates were enjoying a gap year or getting started at university, Hartmann dedicated his time to his YouTube channel.
“I’m more entertainment rather than a ‘how-to’ person. Even if I’m doing a how-to video, my goal is to still make it entertaining for people,” he said.
“I get tweets sent to me that people are enjoying my content and it makes them happy — and that’s what makes me happy.”
Hartmann’s hobby has now turned into a paying job, which he said brought in enough money to support himself while living at home.
“My friends are doing part-time jobs, full-time jobs, but I make the same if not a little bit more,” he said.
“But that could change. I could be doing really well and if I don’t upload as frequently as usual then I can go down and my next payment isn’t so great.”
He spends about 12 hours a day playing games and making videos, which all need to be done at a time that works for his main audience in the US.
“I get up at 3:00am and stay up until I finish a video and get it out about 8:00am Australian time,” he said.
“I never call it work. It’s too much fun to call it that.”
Online skills crossover into real life
Hartman coaches under 14s basketball and plays for two Canberra teams. (ABC News: Penny Travers)
While Hartmann is making slam-dunks online, he still has his feet planted firmly on the ground.
“I know I could be a lot more dedicated to my YouTube; I could sit in my room all the time and play the game and try and upload every day,” he said.
“But I am young and I want to live my life and have fun with my friends. That’s why I travel a lot and don’t post as often as I probably should.”
When he’s not gaming, Hartmann is either playing or coaching basketball in the real world.
He even has his own Canberra team called the Killzamoi Killers.
“We have uniforms that I originally created in 2K but then I brought them into real life,” he said.
Ball skills he acquires online he also puts to use on the real-life court.
“The game is very realistic, so you are able to take some things from the game and put them into real life,” he explained.
“There have been times where I’ve played NBA 2K the day before my game and the next day I try something in my actual game and it’s worked out.”
Advice for aspiring YouTubers
When Hartmann started making YouTube videos eight years ago, he said he had no idea that he could make money out of it.
“I did 300 videos without even applying to get paid,” he said.
He recommends aspiring YouTubers find a way to create unique content that showcases their personality and avoid “doing what everyone else is doing”.
“You don’t want to start your YouTube because you want to make money,” he advised.
“You want to start it because you’re wanting to have fun and enjoy yourself and enjoy what you’re doing.”