An article titled, “By the Numbers: 33 Amazing Twitch Stats,” claims that there are approximately 2.1 million broadcasters on Twitch. This large figure doesn’t even reflect the amount of users as it doesn’t count the amount of viewers. Within 5 years of its creation, Twitch has become one of the biggest media outlets for the gaming community. On Twitch, anybody can broadcast themselves playing a video game. Not only is Twitch a useful utility with the purpose of connecting well-known professional gamers to their fans, it also is a source of opportunity for casual, unknown gamers to become professional and make money from their passion. In this article, I will explain and connect my experience with Twitch to major themes and concepts of new media culture.
As a gamer, I have used Twitch numerous times to watch and interact with my favorite streamers. The streamers that I watch generally play the same games that I play, such as Call of Duty, Battlefield and League of Legends. In Twitch, viewers may subscribe to a broadcaster, which means that they voluntarily give $5 per month for added benefits. I have never subscribed to any streamers, nor have I ever streamed, but I do regularly keep up with a couple of my favorite broadcasters.
Three major themes that I have found to be prevalent in Twitch are Affiliations and Collaborative Problem Solving. Well-known twitch broadcasters tend to create an affiliation with their viewers by granting their subscribers more permissions and abilities. Subscribers and donors also tend to receive more attention from the broadcaster in the chat dialog. This creates a sense of unity among subscribers and donors. Collaborative Problem Solving is also prevalent because the broadcaster may receive help or tips from viewers when trying to complete a certain level within the game. Not only does the broadcaster receive help from viewers, but the broadcaster may also share their knowledge with viewers to help them complete a certain aspect of the game. It is easier for viewers to become better at a game by learning how to emulate different strategies that the professional gamer uses during a broadcast.
I believe that this source of media does strengthen the claim that medium is playing a major role in shaping the message. From an outsider’s prospective, it may seem odd that gamers would want to watch other people play a certain video game, but according to the article “For Twitch, it’s game on,” Twitch has become the largest live streaming site on the internet. In fact, an article on ReelnReel claims that 60 percent of Twitch users spend at least 20 hours per week on the site. As the medium, Twitch provides gamers, whether professional or not, the ability to connect with others more efficiently than a message board or forum. On Twitch, the broadcaster can speak and interact with other viewers in real time. If a viewer has a question or wants to contribute to the topic of the stream, they can speak with the broadcaster or fellow viewers and get responses almost immediately. On a message board or forum, it may take multiple days or weeks before someone else finds the a statement or question and chooses to answer it.
In conclusion, Twitch has become the largest streaming site for a variety of reasons. Not only does it allow gamers to connect with their favorite celebrity broadcasters, it also allows non-professional gamers to broadcast themselves to the internet for free. Twitch also provides opportunities for the formation of communities. Gaming communities flourish when participants can freely assist and interact with each other in real time with minimal limitations.
O’Brien, Chris. “For Twitch, it’s game on.” Los Angeles Times. Web. Published 25 May, 2014. Accessed 27th October, 2016.
Two outside Sources:
Smith, Craig. “By the Numbers: 33 Amazing Twitch Stats.” Digital Statistics and Gadgets. Web. Published 14 August, 2016. Accessed 27th October, 2016.
“Fascinating Facts About Twitch.” Reel N Reel. Web. Accessed 28th October, 2016.