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OPLIN 4Cast #754: Twitch has come a long way, baby

Posted in 4cast

Several years ago, I was doing an in-person workshop for librarians centering on newer technologies and trends. One of the services I covered was the live streaming platform Twitch. Many of the attendees were astounded, one even going so far as to ask “Why in the world would anyone want to watch someone else playing video games?” The question was amusing to me, as someone who grew up in the 1980s. How many Gen Xers didn’t stand around an arcade, watching their friends pump quarters into game machines and cheering them on?

The Twitch platform has matured a lot since that workshop, and gaming is far from the only type of programming available now. In fact, Twitch has just turned ten.

  • Twitch Turns 10, and the Creator Economy Is in Its Debt [Wired] ” Exactly 10 years ago, on June 6, 2011, Twitch launched out of, a sort of general-purpose video livestreaming site Kan had founded four years before. Kan, who is no longer with the company, says he and his cofounders spent years ruminating on how to make people interact online and give each other money. Should they have a sidebar chatroom? (Yes.) Emotes? (Definitely.) Career potential? (Yes.) The end goal wasn’t live video; it was the creator economy. Subscribing to people doing things.”
  • Marcus Graham: Looking back on 10 years of Twitch’s experiment with livestreaming [Venture Beat] “Twitch has grown massively — 2020 had more than 86 times the viewership of 2011, and every month in 2021 thus far has surpassed any months in 2020 or prior. Behind these hours watched is a massive community of creators — with over 26 million channels going live in 2020 alone.”
  • Toyota Launches Its First National Campaign On Twitch [Marketing Daily] “Toyota is launching its first national advertising campaign on Twitch, where it will be the presenting partner of The Bowery live concert series. The platform is known as the home for interactive gaming entertainment, but its music category is also thriving, with a 550% increase in hours watched in 2020.”
  • Creators Who Joined Twitch in the Pandemic Plan to Stay [Wired] “However, actor, podcaster, and comedian Paul Scheer, who you may know from The League or Veep, only discovered Twitch as the pandemic hit, as he looked for another outlet to play with and express his creativity on as the world locked down. He was looking to find his people, he says. “I did YouTube, and it felt like the audience was behind a wall. Then I was doing Instagram, and it felt like window shopping. Twitch just felt like you could be free.””

From the Ohio Web Library: