Until recently I’ve been somewhat sceptical of Twitch. I’ve tried in the past to find both content and personalities that chime with me but have seldom had much success. Sadly, all too often I find the humour and general banter of some streamers to be not to my liking. Then there is the issue of channel monetisation. I appreciate that streaming is a business for some and that there is a requirement to attract subscribers and encourage donations, but I do feel that it’s not always approached in an appropriate fashion. Twitch and streaming culture is often aimed towards the younger viewer. Being of an older age group, the light and casual approach to presentation and interaction is not always to my taste. However, I have now managed to find some streamers who are more to my liking and have subsequently reviewed my opinion on the medium.
For me, Twitch is as much about the audience viewing as it is about the individual streaming. Part of the attraction of the platform is the scope for interaction between streamer and viewers. I find that streams that attract substantial audiences lose this quality quite quickly. The text chat scrolls up at a prodigious rate and the moderators will often struggle to separate appropriate questions and banter from general shenanigans and trolling. I also find that some of the commercial streams and official channels of known corporations to be as bland and as hollow as mainstream television. However, a when you put an entertaining and gregarious streamer together with a small but enthused audience, you’ll often be rewarded with a very enjoyable two-way conversation.
Fortunately, my concerns over being able to find suitable content and streamers has benefitted recently by Twitch adding a “communities” option to their browse feature. In the past you had to search for material you like by game only. The addition of this button (although it is still in beta) means that it is easier to track down streamers with similar interests and aspirations. At present is somewhat rough and ready, lacking somewhat in variety. However, there are some promising categories such as tabletop, painting and fitness. It is reassuring to see this side of Twitch, which for to long seems to have been dominated my core gamers, focused on achievement, speed runs and competitive gaming. If handled properly, there is scope for it to become a much broader media platform, which is possibly what its owner, Amazon is considering.
Finally, it would be remiss of me not to mention the Twitch community that I’ve recently discovered. The Moogle’s Pom Tavern is a collective of streamers “who focus on chill streams where we share positivity and of course, video games”, to quote their website. What I like the most about this friendly group, is their upbeat and laid-back perspective on gaming. It all done for fun, rather than any other motivation. The streams are engaging, with a lot of banter. You soon get to know everyone and it’s very much like a social evening down the pub with mates. A lot of the participant do other creative projects, so they’re an invaluable source of information as well. Overall, it’s a great place to hang out, away from the some of the more brash and bellicose aspects of Twitch. So, if you feel so inclined, do checkout their schedule and come along and have a chat. It may make you revise your opinion on streaming, as it did with me.