Opinion

It’s Twitch-y: Becoming a celebrity gamer

Photo/LEAH FICK

Photo/LEAH FICK

By: CHRISTINE GIVER
Staff Writer

It was not until recently that I realized the power of Twitch—an interactive gaming platform where you can satisfy your voyeuristic and exhibitionistic gaming tendencies by watching people play video games online.

It does not require any skills or initial start-up cash to utilize the basics of what Twitch has to offer. Your creativity and ability to entertain are your biggest assets if you are looking to get famous in this arena.

I am not a gamer. I like games. I understand how to play them and can appreciate the work that went into designing them, but I generally prefer to watch others play them aside from a handful that appeal to me in very specific ways. Therefore, I mostly use Twitch to watch and interact with others.

As a watcher, you can see the play screen of the gamer so that you know exactly where they are in the game. In addition, they usually have a screen where you can watch the players themselves on a webcam and a chat window where any watchers can type questions or statements. If you find a particularly chatty gamer in a room with a limited number of people, you can carry on a conversation with them where you type and they talk in response.

As a player, your job is to try to get watchers, followers and especially subscribers. I have seen some Twitch channels with hundreds of people watching at one time. If a player is particularly engaging, people watching can choose to “follow” them so that they can be notified when that person is online and gaming. You can go a step further and subscribe to a player’s feed, which requires you to pay a fee that helps that player build their channel and hopefully gain more interest.

I became more aware of this phenomenon during a viewing of a gaming awards show, when they were giving awards to gamers. They basically nominated the most well-known internet gamers and voted on the best one, almost like you would an Emmy award. If this seems stupid, I will say that I think you do have to be pretty talented to be able to concentrate on playing a video game while interacting with people in a chat room and holding their interest. It has to be about more than just the game alone.

Twitch is available as an app download on both Apple and Android. You don’t need to have any type of gaming system just to watch. Though I think it is a great source to help current gamers decide if they want to purchase games they do not currently own but are simply just curious about. It is also a really great way to network if you are interested in finding people to play games online with. You never know. You could find yourself building a following and becoming the next gaming award recipient someday.

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