Many of you know that I like to stream video games on my little Twitch.tv channel. Something I’ve noticed a lot since I started is the attitude a lot of people have towards streamers, and one big question always comes up. Why do you stream?
I’ve heard people’s opinions that streamers only stream for attention, to get famous, to make money or exploit viewers, and various other interesting takes on streaming as a whole. And while the “for attention” reasoning often gets used against women who stream, regardless of how those ladies might live up to people’s various standards of “respectability,” it does get used against all streamers by certain people. Even though I don’t feel the need to justify myself to anyone, I wanted to share my reasons behind streaming, because it was a question I asked myself a lot.
There are a few reasons. Initially, I started streaming because I loved watching streams and they always encouraged me to play games. The interactions seemed so much fun that I felt like I wanted that too, and so I decided to give it a try. While I doubt I’ll ever have a viewership as big as some of the streamers I love watching and interacting with, I love talking to the people who do come along and hang out, and sharing my enjoyment with other people is something I’ve done in all things I do for years.
I also found it helped me a lot with my confidence. While I am loud and somewhat obnoxious in real life (and on camera!) I use this as a way of hiding how shy I am. I’m pretty introverted, and I am really socially awkward and lack confidence in myself. I’d heard streaming in particular helped with other people’s confidence even more than making videos or blogging etc, because it’s live and people are actively watching you play and talk. So I tried it, first without a webcam, and later with one. It has helped a lot, though I’m definitely not there yet!
Source: League of Legends Teambuilder Announcement
But the biggest reason of all is pretty silly, but one that means a lot to me. I’ve always envied friends who had a large group of people playing the same game as them, usually World of Warcraft or another MMO, that I never really had. Most of my gaming buddies live in the US so our gaming times conflict and worse still, there’s lag to contend with and often server issues such as NA and EU being separate. Because of this, I often only play solo or occasionally with my fiancé, depending on the game. We do have one mutual friend we play with, but again, I don’t have the large group of people who play the same game.
With streaming, I feel like I can overcome this. I can have 10 – 50 people watching me and talking to me while I play a game. Sure, we’re not always in the game together (though sometimes we are!) but viewers often jump in with tips, or jokes, or just plain keep me company while I play. This is especially important to me when I’m playing horror games because I am a chicken! Having people talking to me makes it all a little less scary than it is if I play alone. I’ve made some great friends through streaming, be they other streamers or just people who happened to drop by one day and stuck around. They’re people I play games with outside of streaming, and that’s something that’s helped me feel less lonely in the gaming community.
Do I like the attention I receive? Sure, it’s nice to receive a compliment from time to time, but it’s certainly not the reason most people stream, and I think those who use it as an insult don’t realise that with the good attention comes the bad; the trolling, the flaming, and the sexist or hateful remarks. But the fun you have can often outbalance that, and that’s a wonderful thing.
Let me know in the comments below!