|You can enjoy watching someone play video games on Twitch /Photo by Alberto Garcia Guillen via Shutterstock|
Long before Twitch was able to take advantage of the culture of game streaming, the act of streaming video games while being played has been an online staple for quite some time already. This is because those not fortunate enough to have their own gaming consoles but are nonetheless still interested in video games, watching other people stream their games online is the closest thing to experience this kind of entertainment.
This is the kind of culture that Twitch benefits from, but if you think it’s completely one-sided, perhaps you’re either not updated on the world or don’t feel particularly inclined to understand it.
On the Rise
The video game industry is a never-ending cycle of new things. This is what feeds the whole streaming practice. There is never any kind of shortage with the content that people want to see. And if you do not want to see them, there are alternative contents for you. It’s an unlimited repository of constantly new and imaginative things, only getting more fun and intricate as time passes.
But that’s video games. What about Twitch itself? How exactly was Twitch able to utilize games and turn them into money-making strategies? According to British news source The Guardian, the rise of Twitch is owed, first and foremost, to video game players. From there, it’s important to note that it is no longer chiefly a platform for gamers.
Writer Joel Golby of The Guardian cites an instance where he watched a streamer do a “particularly sick kill,” which in video game terms, means an extraordinary way to eliminate enemies.
What he learned from this experience was that Twitch’s niche audience-gathering system—the kind of marketing and entertainment that seems to be having free rein these days—is the biggest contributor as to why Twitch has become so popular. It’s a place to find someone you like to watch and then have the opportunity to interact with them in a connecting chat room. It brings people directly to the doorstep of the media or product they want to consume.
Ball, a gaming streamer, puts it better. He says Twitch has evolved with the niche communities that inhabit it. Perhaps, in the same way, video game-adjacent chatroom Discord has also evolved beyond just forums for gamers.
“We’ve got people who have struggles—‘Oh, my dad’s drunk’—and we’ve had people say, ‘I’ll pay for your plane ticket, come stay with me for a while, and we’ll figure it out,’” Ball explains.
Most streamers and viewers just sit, right? So does that mean they essentially don’t work?
Well, not exactly. Ball might be describing a world that sounds like the digital equivalent of college roommates playing video games at a dorm room but in reality, it’s much more than that. It’s weird but sitting and talking and interacting with people as a job can also be a pretty tough job. Says SBNation writer Harry Lyles Jr., Twitch streaming is coupled with very real preparation.
He writes: “If you’re as big as Nick Eh 30, who recently switched from YouTube to Twitch, you have to balance not only streaming but competitive gaming, meetings, exercise, and events like TwitchCon all into the routine.”
This is because there are medical consequences to sitting around all day, and despite the constant demonization experienced by streamers from older generations, streamers are very aware of these things and actively take steps to deal with them.
Aside from having a sedentary lifestyle, streamers also deal with pressure to deliver on a daily basis. That is, in keeping up with the fast-paced nature of the internet, they always have to have an unlimited resource of creative ideas to use to keep their viewers subscribing and watching.
SanchoWest, a streamer that’s been in the game for five years now, shares how he decided to wear a Batman mask all day while playing just to keep things interesting for his followers.
|Making the video game streaming as a job can be challenging /Photo by DisobeyArt via Shutterstock|
Amid the demonization of the art and effort that people tend to overlook in streaming, Twitch and Twitch streaming has actually raised millions for charity. Considering the Amazon-owned video streaming platform has even included a function where streamers can donate directly to funds, it makes sense that only more and more donations are raised.
Quartz, a business news organization, reports that Twitch has already raised over $130 million in donations. In 2018, $40 million was added to that number, which is “a 30% increase from the previous year.” Where do they get this money, you might ask? Since streamers are able to make money from their viewers, it’s easy enough to transfer the money gained from streaming games to charities.
The games work somewhat like marathons, although Quartz describes it as more of a combination of telethon and road race.
“Instead of trying to finish a 5k as fast as possible, the ‘run’ here is playing a video game as fast as possible.”