Categories
Communities and Online Gaming

Twitch.tv’s Streaming Utopia:

Online Gaming’s Colonisation of Online Streaming Platforms within the Contemporary Digital Landscape

THE NEW AGE SHIFT

Within the modern digital climate, gamers have taken a dramatic turn in the eyes of society. Historically being associated with isolation, gamers were perceived to be the socially inept, spending hours inside alone in front of a computer screen (Hjorth, 2011), however, with the introduction of web 2.0, this stigma has shifted. In a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center, they found that amongst teenagers around the ages of 13 to 17, 81% stated that gaming consoles such as Xbox, Playstation and Nintendo Wii are easily accessible for them (Pew Research Center, 2015) and with nearly 72% of American teenagers playing online video games in one form or another (Pew Research Center, 2015), it’s clear that video games have become common within the contemporary digital culture (Cade & Gates, 2016). Gaming has become casualised, transforming into a popular activity that’s continuously recruiting many non-traditional players (Hjorth, 2011) and as a result, become part of the daily routine for the many millions of social networking site users across the globe (Hjorth, 2011). This change has been attested to be the result of the dramatic development and growth of digital accessibility and sociability (Hjorth, 2011), with social networking sites and online streaming platforms playing a key role in supporting gaming as a socially driven activity (Frostling-Henningsson, 2009; Hjorth, 2011). As a result, massive online gaming communities have formed on platforms such as Twitch.tv and Youtube; with their own unique participatory culture these platforms are encouraging users to create, share and interact with each other. These online streaming platforms have given gaming communities the infrastructure to construct their own unique style of work and amass a massive fanbase that rivals, and in some cases trumps, traditional media celebrities (Jin, 2010; Edge, 2013; Taylor, 2018b). Online streaming platforms have fostered a place for digital gaming communities to evolve, blossoming into the driving force behind the industry’s massive digital growth. Consequently, a unique ecosystem has developed that not only connects users from around the globe, but also encourages and rewards community creation, sharing, and involvement, in turn generating innovative and diverse economic opportunities for everyday gamers.

ONLINE STREAMING PLATFORMS

Stripping them down to their most basic anatomy, online streaming platforms are digital services that allow users to broadcast and share their overall gaming experience, from funny moments to skilful gameplay, for other users from around the globe who can tune in and watch these moments live (Deng, Tyson, Cuadrado, & Uhlig, 2015). More importantly, they allow the streamer to interact with their audience in real-time creating a uniquely idiosyncratic dynamic to the interaction between the streamer and their audience (Deng, Tyson, Cuadrado, & Uhlig, 2015) where both are experiencing these moments together, digitising the historic couch co-op style of play and redefining how users interact within a digital environment (Taylor, 2018b). Currently, Twitch.tv is the most popular online streaming platform, breaking internet records and becoming the fourth largest source of digital traffic in the United States (Deng et al., 2015), with over 34 million individual users actively tuning in every month (Twitch.tv, n.d). In Deng, Cuadrado and Uhlig’s 2015 study on Twitch’s relationship to gaming, the group found that the platform’s unique social features are very distinctive when compared to every other existing video platform in the contemporary digital landscape, and as a result, has created a complex and rich ecosystem (Deng et al., 2015) that is uniquely tailored towards gaming’s social nature, becoming a new form of social TV (Edge, 2013).

THE SOCIAL SIDE OF GAMING

While some scientific research has shown that online gaming has been demonstrated to increase the risk of social isolation, notably with younger gamers (Orleans & Laney, 2000), many academic studies have found evidence for the positive social outcomes of gaming online (Trepte, Reinecke & Juechems, 2012). For example, online gaming has been shown to strengthen and extend gamers pre-existing relationships (Williams et al., 2006). In her study on First-Person Shooters as a way of connecting people, Frostling-Henningsson concludes that, contrary to popular belief, online gaming is an activity that isn’t motivated by the desire to be secluded or alone, trapped in front of a computer screen, rather, it’s an activity that is fundamentally motivated by social reasons (2009). Online gaming creates scenarios that present gamers with the opportunity for cooperation and communication (2009) and online streaming platforms only enhance this experience, offering gamers the ability to extend their social reach and giving users a platform to interact and participate with others who share their interests. As more and more of these interests become shared over online streaming platforms, Mayra (2016) suggests that they can potentially lead to the creation and formation of real human relationships, relationships that are catalyzed by gaming activities and interests. Consequently, as these relationships grow into a networked web of connections within the social gaming sphere, we can see the creation of what Edge (2013) describes as global gaming web communities. These online gaming communities have a unique culture (Cade & Gates, 2016) and their very own loyal fanbase (Edge, 2013), not unlike traditional sporting communities.

THE CULTURE BEHIND IT ALL

Thanks to its unique position in the digital climate, having developed within online streaming platforms, modern gaming culture has matured to reconceptualize the staple principles of web 2.0, being participation, engagement, creativity and collaboration (Hjorth, 2011). The community has seen to fundamentally absorbing these principles, situating them at the core of their universal values, and providing the groundwork for defining their culture (Hjorth, 2011). Essentially, gamer culture can be described as a participatory culture (Comunello & Mulargia, 2014) involving a large community that encourages individuals to create, engage and share with one another (Hjorth, 2011). It’s these fundamental attributes that have attracted the gaming community towards online streaming platforms. Driven by the plethora of ways gamers can create and distribute their content and the vast potential for community engagement that the culture values so highly, gaming communities have clung to sites like Twitch.tv (Edge, 2013). Specifically, Twitch offers every gamer the environment to find and engage with a community situated around the games they love (Deng et al., 2015). Users will find an overabundance of games, personalities and experiences ranging from popular first-person shoots to older role-playing games, each of which has a sub-community of their own and the potential to gain a large viewership as a result (Deng et al., 2015). Twitch encourages these communities to keep innovating and growing, spurring users to create, share and engage with one another, in turn, constructing an ecosystem that has become the primary catalyst in creating online streamers and events which reach a massive global audience and generate millions of dollars a year (Edge, 2013; Jin, 2010).

A NEW STYLE OF INCOME

With the rise of gaming’s popularity, the title of ‘professional online game player’ has rapidly risen to become one of the most desired and sought after jobs for the youth of today (Jin, 2010) and, thanks to online streaming platforms, many new doors have opened, allowing gamers of all shapes and sizes aspire to forge a new professional identity in the industry (Taylor, 2018b). Streaming platforms which allow gamers to create content as well as locate and engage with their community, such as Twitch.tv, have established the fundamental groundwork required so that everyday gamers to start making millions, subsequently constructing ‘streaming’ as a new aged form of online work (Taylor, 2018b), or as Edge (2013) describes it, “a new type of social TV that provides an interactive platform for audiences to engage, on a personal level, with their favourite gamer personalities and communities” (p. 33). Consequently, streaming has become a potential, and very viable, pathway to success, as seen in recent years where many gamers are transforming into wealthy celebrities (Jin, 2010) which was almost deemed impossible a decade ago Edge, 2013). On top of providing everyday members of the gaming community an opportunity to make money, online streaming platforms have also become integral to the competitive online gaming scene (Edge, 2013). These platforms have become the backbone and main pathway of communication that the eSport league relies on to reach their audience (Edge, 2013). For example, Twitch.tv is consistently used to both host and broadcast massive global gaming tournaments. These are tournaments consisting of professional players from around the globe competing against each other online, cheered on and supported by an audience of gamers watching from the comfort of their homes producing online crowds ranging in the hundreds of thousands (Deng et al., 2015; Taylor, 2018a). These tournaments draw many parallels with traditional sporting events, however, due to their online nature, a single event has the potential to bring in significantly more viewership (Deng et al., 2015) effectively creating the new job category of professional gamer (Jin, 2010).

To think that online streaming platforms weren’t crucial enough, they continue to provide much needed economic support to professional gamers ‘on and off the field’ (Edge, 2013). With platforms such as Twitch leading the charge for the monetization of online gaming content, everyday streaming has manifested as an additional source of income for both professional and non-professional gamers, providing a much-needed source of stable income (Edge, 2013). On average, a committed gaming streamer can earn roughly $20,000 USD in a month just from daily streaming alone, with some of the more popular streamers earning hundreds if not thousands more (Disguised Toast, 2018).

Disguised Toast, one of Twitch’s most popular streamers, created a video breaking down the mechanics of earning money on Twitch. He explores just how a professional gamer or aspiring streamer could go about making an income through the platform, stating that there are four monetary channels. The first is through donations, where viewers virtually tip the streamer with money during one of their streams (Disguised Toast, 2018). Second, the streamer runs advertisements throughout the stream, much like traditional media channels (Disguised Toast, 2018). The third is through viewer subscriptions, a feature on many online streaming platforms where viewers pay a monthly fee to support a streamer, in turn, receiving special benefits or privileges (Disguised Toast, 2018). Finally the fourth is through sponsorships, which, much like more traditional industries, is where a third party would pay the streamer directly to use a product or play a game as a form of promotion (Disguised Toast, 2018).

Thanks to online streaming platforms, online gaming has become increasingly economically sustainable. This being said, Taylor (2018a) fears that the industry and more importantly, the culture of the gaming community as a whole could be at risk as a result of the monetisation of gaming content. In her article exploring the mass monetization of Twitch, Taylor suggests that the current trajectory of the platform could lead to Twitch losing the unique culture that made it special in the first place. She states that if it falls into the trap of being another avenue for mainstream media or simply fade into a generic mass marketing tool, the platform is at risk of devolving into a space where transformative work is rarely seen (Taylor, 2018a). Sadly, Taylor implies that there is a very likely potential for online streaming platforms to deteriorate into another branch for commercial content, and in the case of Twitch, squandering the fundamental values that encouraged the community and culture that defined the platform and were the driving force behind its massive global success (Taylor, 2018a).

CONCLUSION

With the digitisation of the world and the introduction of web 2.0, online gaming has taken a dramatic turn in the eyes of contemporary society, morphing from being perceived as a desire to be isolated into a socially stimulated activity (Trepte et al., 2012) and recruiting many non-traditional players as a result (Hjorth, 2011). As such, gamers have started to form communities around their shared interests (Mayra, 2016), creating an online gaming culture that perfectly mirrors that of what Jenkins (2006) describes as a participatory culture. Due to their strong values surrounding creation, distribution, engagement and interactivity, gaming communities have naturally been attracted to online streaming platforms (Edge, 2013) which, over time, have enhanced the experience for all users and generated a new form of work (Jin, 2010; Edge, 2013; Taylor, 2018b). Thanks to these streaming platforms, the concept of professional gamer is much more accessible and obtainable, not to mention significantly more lucrative than in the past (Jin, 2010; Edge, 2013; Taylor, 2018b). On top of this, everyday gamers can now make a sustainable and fruitful income through streaming online (Jin, 2010; Edge, 2013; Taylor, 2018b). Within the contemporary socio-cultural landscape, online streaming platforms have redefined what it means to be a gamer, bestowing everyday gamers with the potential to reach a larger global community of others who share their same interests and providing the economic support and infrastructure for those who wish to pursue a viable career in the field that they love; forever shaping what it means to be a gamer within the contemporary digital landscape.

Written by Nick Chen

27 replies on “Twitch.tv’s Streaming Utopia:”

Hi Nicholas, I really enjoyed reading your paper! As someone who has always enjoyed playing games, even more so now during Covid-19 lock downs, I found this to be a very insightful read.
An interesting point you raised is that online gaming strengthens and extends pre-existing relationships. I noticed this especially as I have been home more and found gaming as a great way to be entertained and stay connected with my friends. I have also noticed a lot of ‘influencers’ that have become known for other things (fashion, beauty, food etc) now streaming on Twitch.tv too, so that they can engage with their followers in a new way. It would be really interesting to see another paper written once Covid-19 has been globally managed, to see just how much this changed during the pandemic!
It’s also really intriguing to see the way gaming has become mainstream. It reminds me of the boom of ‘nerd culture’ – much like The Avengers: Endgame becoming the highest grossing movie ever. In the past, superhero movies reminded me of The Big Bang Theory – now it has not only been accepted, but completely blown up. Do you think these two shifts have anything in common? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Once again, great paper – well done.

Hey Grace, Thanks a million for reading my paper!!
I’m glad it made enough sense to the point where you could bring your personal context to my paper. What games are you and your friends playing? Recently my friends and I have been getting into online Uno drinking games with a bit of high stake Monopoly thrown in.

I did notice there was a lot more variety to the types of streamers nowadays but I haven’t really delved into them yet. What does fashion or beauty streamers content even look like? Would it just consist of them shopping or trying out new styles? If you have any recommendations I’d love to suss out a stream or two to see the differences between gaming streams.

I think you’re spot on with the Covid-19 stuff, I’d be super interested in seeing how online streaming platforms develop throughout the pandemic. We can already see video streaming platforms such as Tiktok and Youtube blowing up even more than usual so I’d love to see a professional scholars point of view on Twitch’s growth in the coming months.

In regards to your question, I believe that the recent boom of both ‘nerd’ and gaming culture go hand in hand. In my opinion, since pop culture shows (like The Big Bang Theory) so closely link the image of ‘nerds’ and gamers together, the two end up complementing each other as a result. When one takes a step closer to being accepted into the ‘mainstream’, the other does too. This being said, the two being tied together doesn’t mean it’s a good thing but I think it’s a huge reason that there has been a huge cultural shift towards both gaming and nerd culture.

Thanks again for reading my paper and writing such a well thought out. I hope I answered some of your questions and can’t wait to see you in class (you still owe me that apple).

Hey Nick!
We’ve been playing a lot of COD online (the mobile version especially) and Animal Crossing on the Switch mainly. UNO drinking games sound fun I might suggest it to my mates.

For beauty influencers, a lot of them have been streaming on Animal Crossing on Twitch, such as Maddi Bragg (probably not your style but that’s okay). I think it’s interesting the release of Animal Crossing coincided with Covid-19 – it’s difficult to tell whether these beauty/fashion influencers would be posting about it so much if they weren’t self-isolating. I even saw the band Spacey Jane have been hosting Mario Kart tournaments as a way to connect with their fans.

Thank you for your detailed response. I appreciate it!

Hiya Grace,
Dude I was lowkey addicted to animal crossing just before iso started. It’s a strangely satisfying game hey. I haven’t tried COD mobile yet, If I get that COD craving I usually just play it on console but maybe i’ll give mobile a crack.

That’s actually a hell interesting point, I personally can’t imagine those beauty influencers posting as much gaming content without isolation making it more socially acceptable but who knows… It’s kinda interesting how gaming is just universally becoming more accessible and accepted as a standard part of society. I remember as a kid, finding a girl playing online would make lobbies go dead quiet before it erupted with screams of “GIRL GAMER” followed by hordes of children trying their best pickup lines but nowadays it’s pretty normal to find a few girls scattered around and even more so when you look at games like Animal Crossing or Mario Kart.

Speaking of, as if Spacey Jane were hosting Mario Kart tournaments, that’s kinda elite.

Hey!

COD mobile is free and a lot of us don’t have Xbox Live. I’ve been playing it on my Xbox with Zac, but only when we’re together.

Yes I totally know what you mean. I have loved playing video games my whole life but felt like a bit of an outsider when I played as a younger girl. Now, it feels much more welcomed! But especially for those games like Animal Crossing or Mario Kart – the less violent games…

Yes! Keep an eye out or I will hit you up for a game… Do you have a switch?

Hey Nicko

Your paper was presented and communicated extremely well, you always sustained your argument and provided excellent examples to back up your arguments. I enjoy your statement about streaming becoming job and a viable revenue stream. Your paper doesn’t mention the negative impacts and the difficulty it is too reach pro-gamer / streamer status. For example the large investment in streaming gear, long hours to reach an audience of a different time zone, the mental and physical effects of gaming for large amounts of time. l would love to hear your opinion on this side of the industry and also on the social impact of bullying streamers through tactics like swatting?

Heya Lochlan, Thanks for checking my paper out!

Your words are so kind, thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed the paper, I tried making it not so boring and to use examples that anyone could relate to, gamer or not so I’m glad it turned out well 🙂

In relation to your question, I think any industry in the spotlight will always have a shadow and streaming is no exception. You’re spot on about the amount of time, energy and money streamers have to invest just to try to make a name for themselves. I know for a fact that streamers basically need to stream every day for around 10 hours to be able to form, maintain and hold a community and this isn’t even counting how many thousands of hours it takes on a single game for one to become skilled enough to reach pro-gamer status. I think this side of gaming is something that is rarely touched on within society, let alone academic research and I agree, I’d love to see it be looked at further.

In all honesty, the sheer toll both physically and emotionally that comes with creating online content can be seen everywhere, not just within streamers; just look at your favourite and most successful YouTuber, they are consistently having breakdowns due to the stress that comes with trying to please the insatiable hunger of the entertainment machine all while having to deal with being in the spotlight and the target of constant hate and trolling, which ties in nicely to your last question.

I think that with the anonymity of the internet comes trolls and hate, it’s just a given. This will arise in whatever form it can best take to match the platform and in this case, it’s swatting. Personally, I think that swatting is just another avenue for cyberbullying and it’s not gonna go away, as long as there are streamers streaming, you’ll always have the constant potential to get swatted. It ties back to the emotional toll the comes with making online content and is part of the job. I’m not condoning it at all but I believe that no matter what industry you’re in if you’re in the spotlight, you will be the target of hate and bullying in some form or another. In an ideal world, we would be able to grow past this but it’s the reality of the situation.

Wow ok sorry for rambling on there a little but I hope I answered your questions and gave enough of my opinion on the matter aha. Thanks again for reading my paper and raising an extremely interesting conversational topic, I hope more people look into the negative toll that comes with streaming and creating online content because I think it’ll become a much larger issue as we continue to develop as an online society.

Hey Nick

I agree with everything you said! I definitely believe as streaming becomes even more main-stream, the academic studies will come along with it. I did have some academic literature I read in a previous unit but unfortunately I couldn’t find it. I think it will be interesting see if streaming companies or agencies become a thing, where businesses will hire or sponsor streamers to work for them. They could provide gear, general care, schedules etc. while taking a share of the profit. This could help provide streamers more stability, protection and psychological help from bullying etc. I think this industry is still in its infancy phase and will continue to grow larger and more profitable. I am looking forward to see how the industry changes and grows over time.

Hi Nick,

I have just finished reading your paper. And as a girl that nearly never plays online games at all, I must say this paper is rather interesting to read.

For me, one of the most fascinating and interesting point to know is that online gaming nowadays could become a legit source of income. The power of Web 2.0 is undeniable. It has allowed people to earn a living through their personal interests. Just like those YouTubers that I constantly watch, making beauty videos or vlogs could also become their full-time job. And they are paid really well.

Here is my question for you. I am curious to know whether you think traditional academic studies are still as important as before? Since nowadays people could make millions through online social platforms and it does not require a degree at all.

Lastly, although my paper is about how online social networking could empower women, which is completely different from online gaming, I still hope you could take time and read it as well.
Below is the link to my conference paper if you would like to check out my perspectives on the power of social networking:
https://networkconference.netstudies.org/2020Curtin/2020/05/10/timesup-movement-social-networks-influence-on-personal-identity-within-social-media/
Feel free to give me a comment as well!

Kind Regards,
Shong Wut Yi

Hi there Shong Wut Yi,
Wow, thanks for coming all the way from your stream and reading my paper, it means a lot. It’s crazy how web 2.0 has given users so much freedom to forge jobs and communities around their favourite things hey.

When it comes to your question, I think that the way they are now, most forms of traditional academic studies need to be reworked. Information is so abundant and accessible now, anyone can find the information they are looking for. You’re right, you could become a social media influencer without a single degree but I think it runs deeper than that. Anyone can pick up the same marketing book I use in my Marketing classes at Curtin and they will have the same knowledge as me just without the 3 billion dollar student debt. Take Bill Gate or Mark Zuckerberg, two massive names who both dropped out.

But all this being said. I think that traditional academic studies do still matter and it’s all due to the way society and the business world is structured. A lot of the time your resume won’t even get a second look if you don’t have a degree, I know that this is usually how it works in the suit and tie world. On top of this, there are still jobs and roles that society needs filled. Doctors, Lawers, Virus Researchers, they all need this higher form of education. Andddd obviously, we can’t all be social media influencers.

So long story short, I think that traditional higher tertiary education is not as important as before, while perplexingly, still being as important as before. I think it all boils down to what field you’re in.

Anyway, thanks heaps for checking out my paper, I’m glad it could reach you even though you had little knowledge on the subject. I’ll try to get to yours if I have time, I’m a bit swamped in assignments and still have to check out my friends’ papers.

Hi Nick,

I very much enjoyed reading your paper. Especially as a non-gamer, and someone unfamiliar with the Twitch platform, it was an insightful read.

Your initial comment on the ways the stigma has shifted from gamers being socially inept, to the ways Web 2.0 has transformed user relationships was very engaging. It was also interesting to read that online gaming can strengthen existing relationships. Do you think that since online gaming can be motivated by social reasons, this enhances a users ability to form new relationships in person? Or is this type of relationship formation and social communication purely online? Especially in the sense that online users have the ability to network on a global scale, and thus may never meet their gaming friends face-to-face.

The ways in which professional gamers on Twitch can create a sustainable income was fascinating. Do you see the future of professional gamers becoming similar to influencers in that they will be utilised as a marketing tool, thus taking away part of its unique culture?

Brilliant paper, I look forward to your feedback.

Hey Mia, Thanks for all the praise! I’m glad to see you enjoyed the paper even though the entire concept is forign to you 🙂

To answer your first question, I think that the social side of online gaming definitely can help with developing social skills applicable in the real world, specifically in relation to basic communication skills and one’s ability to form relationships. Take the in-game voice chat within games like the Call Of Duty franchise for example, many players make friends with people they are just meeting by casually chatting with each other while working together to slaughter the enemy team. Situations like these encourage and stimulate gamers into making quick connections with their team members, constantly developing their relationship building skills which is something that can easily be transferred to the real world. This being said, you can’t discount the fact that gaming is mostly anonymous, with the user’s real persona hidden behind an avatar, which is a major factor in making gamers comfortable with talking to hundreds of new people on a daily basis. End of the day, I think it comes down to the individual person. To some, online gaming could help them gain the relationship building skills they’re lacking where others it might not help at all.

In regards to your second question, we are already seeing professional gamers being a key aspect of marketing, manifesting is a variety of forms. On platforms like Twitch and YouTube, creators can be sponsored to play and promote a new game, sell or highlight a brand’s equipment or even just give an unbiased review of a product. A similar thing is happening when it comes to the competitive scene. Just like traditional sports stars, Esport competitors get sponsored by massive brands to promote or use their products. Personally, I don’t think sponsoring individual gamers it’s taking away from the participatory culture that underpins gaming culture if it’s done in an upfront and honest way, none of this hidden promotion stuff. However, as I touched on in my paper, if the platform in it of itself (in my case, Twitch) starts to become more and more commercialised then the culture could start to be at risk.

Thanks again for reading my paper and taking the time out to have a chat with me! I’ll see you soon 🙂

Hi Nick,

Thank you for such an in-depth response! You have certainly created a space for me to learn about a different side of the digital landscape.

Could the in-game voice chat, with the example of team games such as Call of Duty be similar to that of a sports team communications in terms of gameplay, or would it be purely social and unrelated to the game?

With these skills being transferrable into real-world relationship building, could this potentially lower inhibitions of gamers to talk to strangers being that most identities on games as you said, are anonymous?

The marketing side of gamers was something I had not previously thought about before your paper, it will be interesting to see where this goes in the future. Even an analysis to see how much more content and sponsored content for that matter, was created during isolation as a result of COVID-19 would be quite interesting.

Hey again,

I’m glad you’re so intrigued ahaha it’s kinda fun to talk about in this light – not usually something I get a chance to do.

To answer your question, voice chat is definitely key if a team wants to do well but it really does depend on what game you’re playing and what league. Taking COD as the example, if you’re just playing casual games then normally the chat is pretty social with the odd call out here and there. However, if you enter the competitive league (where the game tracks your statistics and ranks you, dividing the players by skill and matching up equally skilled players) the game quickly switches to a more serious tone. Think something like a paintball game if you’ve ever played. The chat would be similar to that 🙂

Yeah I definitely think that gamers would be more inclined to worry less about image and focus more on someone’s personality. Like I said before, it all really depends on the individual and how comfortable they are but I’m sure the majority would be pretty good at talking to strangers. I’d be keen to see an experiment where they observe how quick gamers form relationships with other users who they don’t know in a virtual context different from gaming.

One thing I will ask, do you think that non-gamers, specifically adolescent girls would focus more on appearance when talking to strangers? I know your paper is on adolescent girls identity as a result of visually focused social media platforms so i’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

I definitely agree, it’d be cool to see what comes out of isolation. I remember Grace Jones saying in an earlier comment that many beauty influencers are actually streaming games like Animal Crossing as a result of isolation. Have you noticed other ways that digital content creators are branching out and diversifying their content?

I am always eager to learn something new, thank you for bearing with my lack of knowledge on your topic!

Thank you for clearing up the different uses of the voice chat feature. I have played paintball before, so thanks for the analogy!

It would be an interesting experiment to see how quick gamers form relationships in a different context. I definitely think adolescent girls focus more on appearance when talking to strangers. For example, if a girl is going to a party, they will want to look their best, especially if they do not know everyone who is going. I think a lot of girls see appearance as the initial cause for people wanting to talk to them if that makes sense? On another note, the girls may potentially want to post a photo from said party on their social media, and therefore feel the need to look ‘perfect.’

I have noticed a difference in the type of content that is being created at the moment, perhaps not as dramatically as Grace Jones’ example. I have seen portrait photographers do photoshoots via Facetime. I have also noticed quite a few influencers have taken this time to launch a business or ‘side hustle’ as popularly termed. Photographer/influencer Sam Dameshek released his online academy teaching people about photography, which has been perceived as a positive pass-time for users in isolation. Famous TikToker Addison Rae also released her own loungewear merch. Whether this was planned prior to COVID-19 or not I am unsure.

Hi Nick,

You mentioned online gaming as participatory, which led to a question. I think we can all agree that multiplayer games are bigger than ever (Fortnite as the stand-out). However, do you think their success comes as part of larger social change, or rather, had online games been as reliable as they are now in the past (increased and more reliable internet access), single player games that we know and love would be multiplayer games?

Interested to know your thoughts.

Rebecca

Hey Rebecca, thanks for reading my paper!

To answer your question (well the first part), I think multiplayer games were just as successful in the past as they are now and the social changes we are seeing are only serving to enhance and extend the experience to new users who wouldn’t have bat at eye at the medium in the past. You can’t deny that games like Fortnite and Apex Legends have swept the global consciousness but the same could be said for the Call Of Duty franchise. I’m pretty sure everyone, gamer or not, knows about COD and that has been a long running multiplayer franchise. This being said, it’s clear that gaming and the community around the medium is growing in popularity and as a result, there are more players than ever willing to try these new games helping them to trump long standing records of the past.

In relation to the section part about single player games becoming multiplayer, I’m a little confused as to what you’re asking. Could you clarify a little??

Hi Nick,
I’ve really enjoyed reading your paper as someone who knows a little about Twitch. We can see how the gaming industry and the television industry converged to make livestreaming platforms (DLive too!). Twitch has been a great platform for indie video game producers to show the video games to the public and also the best part is that some livestreamers have been playing retro games again. This does not only give exposure but also a nostalgic feeling.

I totally agree that being a Twitch streamer is now a job. It might have seemed a bit farfetched to consider it as a type of job but let’s be real, being a Youtuber as a main job has been possible for almost 10 years (I think). I mean who would have thought that sitting in front of a camera and talking to it bring people money?

However, given that it is so easy to create an account on Twitch, scammers have been around, impersonating popular streamers, gaining a lot of views and probably money from ‘fans’. Do you think that Twitch should find another solution instead of just banning them as it seems scammers continue to rise on the platform?

On an ending note, I am inviting you to read and comment on my paper which is about teenagers using online games a an escape from reality
https://networkconference.netstudies.org/2020Curtin/2020/05/11/online-gaming-on-a-quest-for-escapism-from-reality/
Again, great paper and I look forward to your response! 🙂

Heya Elisa, thanks a million for reading my paper!

Twitch is a nifty lil thing hey. Even though I talked about it in my paper in a relatively negative light, i’m actually quite interested to see how the platform will integrate other forms of digital media, or rather, how and if they will successfully incorporate more traditional forms of media.
Sadly, I haven’t run into DLive yet, what type of platform is it? I’m assuming it’s similar to Twitch but maybe not as popular? Are there any stark differences between the platforms? I know you said you know little about Twitch but any insight would be cool.

But yeah, I definitely agree that it all started with Youtube. Just think about creators like Phillip Defranco, or Smosh. They are definitely the two big names I remember from back in the day and if i’m not mistaken, they are still bringing in huge numbers. If i’m not wrong, I think Smosh is under a whole new team from the original two who started the whole channel… huh, now that I think about it, it kinda parallels traditional T.V shows changing casts for new seasons.

Anyway, to answer your question, I didn’t realise that there were many people effectively cheating the system. It seems like it would be hard to fake being a popular streamer but anything is possible hey. But I’m pretty sure that to start getting paid Twitch verifies you and checks your content (I could be wrong tho, I don’t stream so I don’t really know the nuances). However, I can’t really think of a way that Twitch can do anything more than ban the account. I’m gonna guess that the fake profiles are made on dummy accounts created specifically with the intention of re-streaming content so I really don’t know how they could do anything more. Do you have any ideas?

Sorry for going a little off topic there, but I hope i answered your questions 🙂 Thanks again for reading my paper.

Hi again, Nick
Thank you for replying.
Actually, DLive started in 2018 which is 7 years after the rebranding of Twitch. Twitch has been trying to stay clean from controversies by implementing stricter rules and policies and people have to abide by them religiously or else they are banned or receive a suspension. On the other hand, DLive is in a light regulated space where there is still freedom of speech and some NSFW contents. So DLive does not really filter the streams because I guess they really want to give people a platform to share their honest opinions which can spark controversies but still want to be heard.

Yeah I guess it can be difficult for Twitch to control and filter out the scammers considering there is a lot of accounts out there and in one hour multiple accounts are being created. Probably the only way that Twitch notice the scammers is when the ‘fans’ are reporting them. Actually, they receive money when they provide a link (selling skins or giving some sort of giveaways) in the chat box while impersonating the real streamer. I do not have any ideas how Twitch can prevent scammers from appearing haha but it is concerning that the platform is making streamers and the viewers feel unsafe, given that Twitch has a responsibility to protect their consumers.

Hi Nick,

Love how you chose to look into Twitch surrounding the gaming community!
As an avid user of Twitch, I am such an advocate for how it brings a social side to gaming. I could see how people may think that Twitch creates a socially inept environment. People sit there and watch people play video games for hours, but I think the way that the streamer is communicating with the audience in real time, makes it feel like you are with someone. It almost provides a safe space or feeling of comfort for many.

I like how you brought the idea of monetisation into the conversation, by mentioning how it could be ‘over running’ the platform. I do believe this is very real and can be quite annoying for the viewer. I was watching a stream last night and I had 2 ads before I could watch, and then after a few minutes I had another, while the stream was minimised. I ended up changing to a different streamer because it was ruining my experience. Do you think when certain streamers reach a certain level of fame, it can affect the experience for the viewers in terms of the social aspect?

Really great read though and would love your opinion on my paper!
https://networkconference.netstudies.org/2020Curtin/2020/05/10/the-emergence-of-social-scenarios-in-mmorpgs-to-form-relationships-and-varying-communities-on-and-offline/

Thanks,
Alana

Nick Chen, Thank you for such an informative paper. I am no longer an active gamer but your paper has brought me up to date with the current trends.

Throughout your paper you do place much emphasis that these streaming platforms make these participatory communities possible, but have you considered the community themselves? When going into the history of gaming especially when considering arcade games that are still available at most malls, there is also that sense of community and participation in those spaces. Yes digital amplifies what already was there and that I do agree on and yes streaming platforms might provide the space but could it not be that these streaming platforms saw an opportunity that was already there? What are you thoughts on it?

In conclusion you do mention that gaming it done in isolation and that these platforms provide that sense of community, do you think that being a part of this community is perhaps to feel like they belong?

I have written a paper about teens making use of SNS to find that sense of belonging and I would like to invite you to read it, perhaps it would provide you with more insight into these communities.
https://networkconference.netstudies.org/2020Curtin/2020/05/11/teens-in-social-networking-spaces-and-what-community-means/

I look forward to your response.

Regards
Tyrone

yo nick,

Super interesting article. What do you think about certain streamers like ninja signing to platforms? Do you think it will change the landscape of how streaming will be done?

Hey Nick! My name is Nick too!!!
Anyways i really enjoyed reading your essay and i totally see how online video streaming could be the next big thing and how everyone wants to be the next Ninja. I’ve always found interest in video streaming and how the whole thing works, i’ve even written 3 essay regarding twitch.tv throughout the years.

My question for you is.
With how popular Twitch.tv and online video game streaming is, how does is pose as a threat to websites such as YouTube where the published media are more as a one way communication rather than Twitch.tv’s interactive form?

Also i would love if you would give my essay a read. I hope you’ll enjoy it! https://networkconference.netstudies.org/2020Curtin/2020/05/18/cyber-racism-and-misrepresentations-of-asians-on-the-internet/

Hey Nick,
As someone who has many connections to Twitch (a few of my friends are partnered, and a few others work professionally in eSports) I found your paper very interesting.

I noticed that, whilst a lot of your research applies to all streaming platforms, your research focuses on Twitch. I was wondering if you believe that the rise of competing platforms, most notably Mixer, will have an impact on anything you’ve written about, or whether you think things will stay the same, regardless of streaming platform.

I look forward to hearing back from you.

Hey Nick,

I thoroughly enjoyed your article and the insight you had on Twitch.tv and it’s internal community. Do you think the controversial and problematic implementation of the ‘Twitch Safety Advisory Council’? Do you believe the community backlash and rise of competitors to Twitch have any possibility of challenging the ‘utopia’ of streaming that Twitch has become?

Look forward to hearing from you,
Ethan.

Hi Nick,
Your paper is really interesting, you’ve mentioned how gamers have changed over time with the help of streaming platforms and how streaming / gaming have became a career for many which really caught my attention. since we are on the topic of streaming would you say that streaming is able to help people with social anxiety to gain more confidence over time?

if you would like a read, my paper is base off social anxiety and gaming community.
https://networkconference.netstudies.org/2020Curtin/2020/05/10/online-games-provide-a-safe-space-for-individuals-with-social-anxiety/?preview_id=216&preview_nonce=d00f10d8d6&preview=true

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *