Thoughts on Twitch

downloadI’m always a bit surprised when I’m blathering on about something Twitch-related and the person I’m speaking to stares back blankly. Twitch?

I really shouldn’t blame them. After all, it was only four years ago that I stumbled upon I honestly can’t remember the exact circumstances of how I found Twitch; I was probably looking at some gaming YouTube page and clicked on the “streaming” link. However I found it, Twitch has been an integral part of my gaming life ever since.

If you don’t know, Twitch, now belonging to Amazon, is a site where individuals can view and stream content that is predominantly game-based including video game playthroughs, speedruns, and eSports events. Twitch also has a growing “Creative” category for channels focusing on music, art, leather work, etc. As a whole, the site boasts over 100 million monthly viewers and over 1,000,000 broadcasters.

What brings me to this post is an event that occurred on Twitch a few weeks ago. On May 4th, PLAYERUNKNOWN’s BATTLEGROUNDS Charity Invitational took place. The proceeds went to an organization called Gamer’s Outreach, which brings video games into hospitals for children. The event, including matched funds from Bluehole, raised over $200,000. That is awesome, and it isn’t the first time I’ve witnessed a charity event do well on Twitch. In addition to these larger charity events, I have seen streamers host their own events individually and as a team. And many Twitch streamers have participated in what has become the annual St. Jude Play Live event.

My point in talking about these charity events is that they quickly became a part of Twitch. I typically don’t have to look too intently to find a channel hosting a charity event. Many members of Twitch (broadcasters, viewers, and sponsors) have helped to do some awesome things for charity and people around the world. Of course there are some less than stellar aspects to Twitch (oh the trolls…) but they do not lessen the difference Twitch has made for some people’s lives.

Without a doubt, Twitch is primarily about entertainment, but I think the kindness its members have extended is pretty neat. I hope to see more game developers and other sponsors get involved to encourage more charity events in the future.

I probably watch Twitch more than I should, but it has also been fun observing the growth of certain channels and their communities over the past few years. What about you? Do you watch Twitch? Have you ever participated in a charity event on Twitch?

4 thoughts on “Thoughts on Twitch

  1. I do enjoy Twitch from time to time, and I dabbled in streaming gameplay a few years ago. Got a little weirded out when people wanted to know more about me and so I stopped! Building a solid channel on Twitch seems to be all about being very transparent and open with your audience, and when it starts to feel like paparazzi are watching me, it just got too weird. I think the same thing when I watch streamers now. The comments coming from the viewers strike me as downright creepy.

    That being said, you mentioned charity events, and those I do enjoy. I love watching speedrunning mostly, and enjoy hearing about the game, the exploits, bug discovery, that type of thing. For that, the GamesDoneQuick events are pretty good (although have dropped drastically in quality now that it’s become a cash empire), amongst some other smaller ones. Overall I think in a few years there will have been many studies about how younger kids relate to streamers like they used to with sports icons, actors, musicians, etc. At least it’s interesting!

    1. Some of the viewers do take things too far. I find it fascinating and, sometimes, creepy as well. I think being at the mercy of the internet requires a very thick skin and the ability to adapt quickly. Twitch has certainly proved lucrative for a select few. When I’m back to graduate school, I would like to do a study/analysis of Twitch and it’s discourse communities.

      For me, the charity events are a highlight and show the more positive side of broadcasting despite the crazy.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Awesome Games Done Quick is currently happening where speedrunners play games for a different charity twice a year. It’s a really amazing event and is how I found out about Twitch. I highly recommend you check it out!

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