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Streaming vs. Blogging

I’ve been talking with Graev and our K&G Community for a long time about the rise of video game streams.  A couple of them were harassing me last night because I do tend to rant and “QQ” when it comes to this new found medium for gaming commentary and entertainment.  It’s big.  There’s no doubt about it.  Seriously, people are making a living doing it, all the consoles are building it right into their feature list, and game developers are starting to pay (too) much attention to those who stream their games.  Let’s break this down.

Streaming vs. Blogging

Yeah, it was inevitable.  Podcasts, Blogs, Youtube videos, etc., all had their big day.  Streaming is in the spotlight now and it will be for a long time.  About a year ago was when the start of the decline began.  We certainly haven’t let up around here, and never will, but we’re feeling the burn.  Streaming provides that TV level of visual stimulation.  I won’t lie — even I prefer watching streams over reading blogs!

I feel like blogs and written commentary typically provide a higher level of quality commentary.  Streams are entertaining, and blogs are more analytical / academic / theoretical / philosophical/etc. It’s watching a tv vs. reading a magazine or a book.

Streaming is becoming a money maker.  In all the time we have ever blogged we’ve never once turned a profit.  We run ads here and receive donations to help us cover costs, but we still lose.   I can’t even fathom how or why I would want to do this for a living — it’s simply not the feel we’re going for here.  Streaming on the other hand feels, as a whole, more like a capitalistic endeavor.  That’s really not a bad thing, but it sets a tone.

“Streamers” are Annoying

This is a massive generalization, but I can’t stand 95% of the people who stream.  They act like attention whores doing whatever they can to get viewers much like most bloggers will write something controversial to get page views.  To be fair I can’t stand 95% of the bloggers either.  I’ve seen streamers come across as attention whores who will dye their hair pink and pretend to be disabled, and even do their math homework (brilliant, I suppose) to get attention.

Game Devs Favor Streamers

Makes sense.  You have people with a constant viewership in the thousands.  Many of the streamers are major influencers.  If you’re not familiar with the practice, brands will often contact those they feel can ‘influence’ people to buy their products or think a certain way about their brands.  Many ‘influencers’ get paid directly or indirectly to talk about games. Full disclosure: We’ve been paid literally once to write about a game.  We take review copies all the time with the disclaimer that we’ll write what we honestly feel and if you don’t like it you can get lost.  We receive a surprising number of review copies and alpha/beta invitations.

I’m a little saddened to see so much attention going to those with streams only because of how much it has taken from other mediums.  I remember the days of having to beat the devs back with a stick because there were so many of them trying to get even a mention on the blog.  I see the exact same thing happening today with streamers.  SOE is promoting streamers and giving them a massive spotlight on their website, twitter, and even their own streams.  We haven’t been contacted even once.  We bought our way into Alpha (would have anyway, and perhaps they knew that) and have been EQ fans since the original EverQuest was in beta.  In no way is that a discredit to SOE, but it speaks volumes.

Some devs are still paying attention to blogs.  Trion, for example, is pretty darn awesome.  Scott Hartsman reaches out all the time and takes care of us.  City State Entertainment (Mark Jacobs) are also great at reaching out.  Heck, even arms of Nintento and Activision’s PR reach out to us.  I’ve made dozens of amazing connections and friends in the gaming industry as a result of blogging, and I really do feel like that can easily continue into the future.  So yes, bloggers do still get attention, but it -has- declined.

We are trying to Stream More

Graev and I  realize and understand that streaming is a growing medium for gaming community and commentary.  We’re trying to find our place in the mix.  We recently purchased a great microphone, some necessary equipment, and have started seriously contemplating streaming on a regular schedule.  I don’t know how many of you would be interested in watching us stream, interact, and talk about the games we genuinely play.  We won’t always play the most popular games, but we’ll play what -we- want to play and we’ll try to talk about why we like the games.  I want our stream to be genuine, down-to-earth, and a place you can find the same tone carried over from our blog.

If you’re interested, visit our streaming page here on the blog or on Twitch and press the follow button to know when we go live.  Join us, chat, interact, and see if what we provide matches what you’re looking for in a stream. We’re trying to iron out a schedule, so bear with us.

Don’t Stop Believin’

When Graev and I first came up with the idea of starting a website about gaming commentary we knew we would be doing so for no one but ourselves.  Call it therapeutic or simply our way of standing up to the world, it’s something we do for ourselves.  Always have, always will.  I’m constantly trying to come up with new ways of evolving our way of writing and covering games and welcome your feedback if we’re lacking somewhere.  Ultimately, I simply love to write even with my awful grammar and rambling nature.

Thoughts?

I’m curious to hear what you think about streaming and blogging.  Obviously if you managed to read this entire thing long enough to get to this point you deserve some kind of award read blogs, but do you prefer watching streams?  Should we keep doing what we’re doing (please validate our existence) or give a solid push for additional mediums?  Let us know what you think.

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Comments

  1. too long did not read.. was watching twitch tv… sorry :)

  2. Love the blog. I check a few times a week at least for new entries.

  3. well, since you asked: I’m a person of routine. I’ve been reading your blog for years, often it’s been the only blog I regularly read, and I imagine I will continue to do so as long as you continue to write it. I guess I like your style, and the fact that if I thoughtfully engage your subject matter, you’ll often reciprocate. It’s always been worthwhile and appreciated.

    I don’t watch any streams, though. I mean, I’ve tried, a few times, for specific purposes, but I’ve yet to have an enjoyable experience with it. I’ve always preferred articles to videos on the internet, though. Something about the pacing – I like to be able to think through the information being presented to me. Streams don’t appeal to me. Generally if I have time to devote to watching someone else play a game, I’d rather devote it to playing the game myself. Maybe I’m missing a key point in there somewhere, but either way I’m fine with it. So I probably won’t watch your streams, but if that’s what’s interesting to you, go for it!

    I’d be sad if the blog changed. but half the reason I’m here is to grumble about bygone glories so that’s not surprising.

  4. @Romble: NP me too.

    @Gali: Thanks :)

    @Filch: The blog WILL NOT change. I’m stubborn, old guard, and like it just how it is. ;) Anything new we do will be in addition to the blog and won’t change it. I greatly appreciate your feedback.

  5. - Can’t watch/listen to a live stream at work
    – Trouble watching/listening to a live stream on mobile device (ie: site using a flash player, limited data
    – Video has so many problems. You can’t control the pace, it’s a linear thing where some guy is ‘umming’ and muttering and half talking to himself while he’s chopping down a tree, killing a mob, or slowly working through his inventory. A stream requires a skilled person who can edit his footage, is a good speaker and can be enteraining (see frankie1080p).
    – a text blog is something that you can quickly look through for the highlights, then read the specific points that interest you.

    Stick with it.

  6. Hey guys!

    I don’t get to blog as much personally because of my job, but I do like reading your blog entries (and the entries of others!).

    That said, I also realized streaming was becoming popular. How do you actually do a stream or record this sort of thing? Does Twitch do that automagically, by any chance?

    I’d like to try it, even though I think my writing has more personality than my acting on video.

    I’d appreciate a response, as I would like to learn more.

  7. I think streams have their place if you focus on visuals. It makes sense for Game Devs to do that because they can show off pretty videos.

    Other than that, I don’t see any advantages of streams over blogs, but I see several disadvantages:

    1) They are a lot larger. When I’m on the bus or train and don’t have Wifi, I don’t want to waste my high-speed data volume on them.
    2) You often require extra hardware to consume them. At my desk, I have headphones. When I’m waiting somewhere, I often don’t, so videos are out.
    3) They impose their rhythm and speed onto you. Often, they are either too slow to make a certain point and bore me, or they continue when I’d rather think about a point some more. With texts, I can simply stop reading or skim a paragraph. With videos, I either need to pause them, or, for the other direction, am out of luck, because if I try to skip forward, I probably won’t find the correct position in the video.
    4) They are unsearchable. That’s a huge minus when I want to reference something. I can search a text easily for a passage. I’m not going to waste my time listening to a whole video again just to find the quote I want.

  8. Joy-Energiser says:

    I read gaming blogs and reviews and articles when I am at work in my downtime and 10 minutes breaks every few hours.Obviously I cannot watch streams and any other kind of videos in the corporate environment(Since the new thing is to fit 20 people in 5×10 meter working space) since everyone can immediately see you watching media.I don’t touch ANY of this when I am at home, because I’m obviously gaming ;)

    So keep blogging, as you said it’s more analytical and thought out than some of these immature streams,I think back to when I tried to watch pewdie pie and wanted to slit my wrists because it was so childish,

  9. I’d watch your streams but once I see a stream with a donation button, the usual to improve stream, feed my cat, broke college student or I have boobys, I never visit it again . Lots of people caught on to this and now its just a cesspool but there a few I enjoy that stream just to share with viewers .

    So if you guys stream, I’d be happy to see what you guys are playing .

  10. For me it I seek out this blog.
    The topics are usually interesting to read.
    I’d say 70% of the time.

    Your blog sparks enough interest to check in once a day.
    And if i leave a message on a topic I like I check back several times a day to see if people replied to my message.

    See the things with people that stream is that they play a game and try to convince people they are having fun while beeing outspoken or just act silly.
    That to me makes no sense.
    It sounds like a big advertisement that spoils the game at the same time.

    I’d rather watch a video on youtube with a first impression or a review based on someones honest opinion instead.

    From the developer point of view I understand that streamers generate loads of interest from potential buyers and brand awareness. Makes sense they give those that get most views all the perks.

    Just keep doing your thing and stand out from the crowd. Its your blog after all.
    Oh and I like the highly opinionated items best. Controversial perhaps? Makes you seem like one of us.

  11. I generally don’t watch streams, though I tend to prefer getting information spoon fed with tasty graphics in video format when I’m looking for a review or a howto I think most of what I watch is a different type of content than streams.
    They tend to be shorter, more planned out and with little or no downtime talking about unrelated crap like their pets, habits or lives in general.
    I love your blog, it’s the only one I read regularly, please don’t stop writing, like, ever… :)

  12. Been following you guys for a couple of years now, pretty much only blog i follow so keep up the good work!
    Streaming is ….meh,like people above me said,if i have time i’d rather spend it playing something than watching someone else playing while mumbeling something in the mic.

  13. As you stated yourself they’re different mediums with a different style. Like other commenters I tend to read blogs on the go (via RSS reader) so streams are useless to me. If I’m at home I sometimes have a podcast on while I’m gaming (e.g. Cat Context) but I wouldn’t actively watch a stream while gaming so it’d be a waste of time to have it running.

    The only time I would watch a stream is of a beta game I was undecided on – watching actual gameplay can be more powerful than a long narrative text. Maybe focus on the streams that are likely to address gaps in what your blog already does?

  14. Caldazar says:

    I check the blog daily, sadly enough (and this is inherent to the medium blog), consuming the content only takes me 10-15 minutes. I open a stream on my second screen while farming in diablo or playing some wow or …

    For me it is not so much a choice between blogs and streams, as I think they both serve completely different functions. I would more compare blogging to a 15min youtube opinion vid. Blogs I read to find out opinions on something, streams I watch on the side to entertain me on the side, also stream time investment is a lot larger than blogreading

  15. I have this discussion all the time within my community but it never ceases to amaze me how much everything has changed.

    Another dying medium seems to be forums. While they were something important and community building a decade ago, the newer generation sees them as unnecessary and pointless. I find it virtually impossible to get anyone under the age of 25 to use or even visit our forum. Meanwhile, i probably check half a dozen different forums multiple times a day.

  16. I don’t really “get” the rising popularity of streams myself. I understand that people like videos, but generally the trend with internet media is towards things that are short and easy to consume on the go, and streams are the complete opposite of that. I can read a blog post in 5-10 minutes wherever I can get internet access; try doing that with a stream and getting anything useful out of it!

  17. While I expected the people who actually read this post to lean towards reading blogs anyway, I think you all bring up great points about the ways in which people are consuming the content on the internet. I’m glad to see there are at least a dozen or more people out there who will keep reading! :)

  18. FreeQuest says:

    i used to watch twitch a lot years ago but now i dont you know why I cant choose what quality i want to watch especially the smaller streams this is a real annoyance for me because here in australia we have marginal internet speed at most.

    The last time i watched twitch was when Giantbomb used to be on there they dont use Twitch anymore because of the same issue I have you cant choose your bitrate, They stream all there stuff inhouse now.

    I do watch a lot of youtube though and i do visit this blog atleat once a day.

    If you intend to make something of twitch you are going to invest a lot more time in it that is make it into a business and that can take years. if ever.

    my thoughts

  19. @FreeQuest: Thanks for the feedback! I’ve been toying around with the idea of creating more “let’s play” type videos (and adding them to our Youtube page) to accompany our reviews and other postings. It’s nice to give people something to watch in addition to the text version.

    As far as twitch goes, we’re not yet going into it with the idea of “making something” out of our Twitch’ing. I think that’s part of the problem. People go into these things thinking they are going to become a superstar. We’re doing it hoping that our readers and community find value.

  20. Dead-on with the attention whoring; it’s why I can’t stand Twitter and such. Everyone is always begging you to be a follower, or confirm that you ‘like’ them, or to annoy everyone else you know by ‘sharing’. Zero self-respect and no shame to it.

  21. Like some of your other commenters said, watching streaming is a huge time-sink, and if I’ve got some uninterrupted time at my home PC, you bet I’ll be actually playing something instead of watching someone else play something. When I’m out and about, waiting for my kid to get out of her doctor appointment for example, I’m on my tablet leafing through my feed reader, not slapping on the headphones and watching a video.

    The problem with watching streams or listening to podcasts is the same: that you have to receive the information at the pace it’s being spoken which, to me, is always too slow. I’m baffled by the popularity of streams and the number of people who apparently have limitless free time.

  22. I don’t believe I’ve ever watched a live stream of someone playing a video game. I can’t say I’d never do it – as Telwyn above mentions it might be useful for a beta game I was considering but didn’t have access to – but the idea of watching it as entertainment is mystifying. If I was going to give time to watching a screen for entertainment why wouldn’t I watch a movie or a tv show? Then again, I’m not fifteen.

    I don’t even like game company PR streams like the ones SOE do. It’s such a numbingly slow way to give out information. It reminds me very much of my first few weeks at University as I gradually realized that each one-hour lecture I attended told me about as much about the topic as I could get from 5-10 minutes in the library. Back then I gave up lectures and worked from books and now I prefer to read transcripts of PR streams rather than watch them. I can read the transcript of a one-hour stream in about 10-15 minutes.

    YouTube videos, on the other hand, I watch all the time. I watch them to see specific content or get a particular point of view. They tend to be short, adequately edited and easy to navigate.

    As for blogs, I stick to the original conception, the online diary. I like bloggers who write because they like writing and because they are interesting to read. Plenty of them about. People who are trying to build some kind of online presence they can monetize (I sell books on how to do this – or I should say, we stock books on how to do it – we rarely sell any) I leave well alone.

    You and Graev are both very entertaining and interesting writers. You frequently write about things that interest me from a perspective I share, so naturally I’m going to keep reading your posts. Graev, on the other hand, hardly ever writes about anything I’m ever going to play but he’s sharp and funny so what he writes is worth reading on that account alone.

    Also interesting that everyone above seems to “check” your blog daily or whatever. Does no-one just use an RSS feed or a blog reader any more?

  23. I am somewhat on the fence about the streaming thing. I’ve started doing it recently, and no one actually watches it, but I am enjoying myself. So that is what matters right? I’ve started a channel on our guild mumble server called “bel is streaming” and various people pop in and banter while I play video games badly. I think I find it more entertaining than anyone else. I still blog every single day, and I don’t see streaming as something that would ever offset that, but it is just another thing to do.

  24. Einhander says:

    Call me old fashioned, but I like to read my articles, I do not care for streams, videos, tweets or the facebooks! I’ll never understand why someone would want to watch of some random person playing a game, beta videos, sure I’ll give you that.

  25. It seems everyone is doing the twitching thing, and I feel like the crotchety old man on the porch screaming at the kids to get off my lawn.

    I see a lot of the good, and the bad with this streaming trend. Personally I’m not a huge fan because I get flashbacks of when my brother playing a game I liked and not giving me a turn when I was a kid.

  26. Howdy Doody says:

    I think there is a place for both. I enjoy watching some streams as I can leave them on in the background while I work, yet can chime in when I have a question and/or comment. I also enjoy reading more focused articles that interest me. If the game/topic is good I’ll take the time I need to view/read it.

    Something I did notice though. If I am trying to find a review for a game (like on Gamespot or IGN) I will almost always skip it if it’s not a video review. It’s not that I’m to lazy to read it, but it is just easier for me to fully understand what the review is trying to explain when I can see it.

    I also think companies need to be careful on who they promote to stream. There is one game I was playing and enjoying, but a couple of the streamers annoyed me so much that I haven’t been back to play the game they were promoting. They stream on the game company’s own stream, so some care needs to be taken. It’s a fine line.

    You all do great stuff. I wouldn’t keep coming back all these years if you didn’t.

    Doody

  27. Gankatron says:

    I would miss the blog if it came down to a one or the other thing.

    I prefer to scan blogs and pick and choose what information I wish to assimilate, as oppose to jumping around in a stream.

    If you do stream please give @time info/links to jump to that place in the video! ;)

  28. Gankatron says:

    I also think there’s a greater potential for streamers to feel they need to entertain while disseminating information, but most shouldn’t leave their day jobs for a big break in comedy.

    As such I feel the fluff factor is potentially greater in streamers.

    Additionally there are people who create videos who do not seem to have created an outline in their head as to flow of information, and instead seem to just wing it releasing their unfocused stream of consciousness “first draft” versions.

  29. 95% of the streamers also does not know how to play a game… I was watching some streams about Archeage lately and I wanted to kill the guy for being the top noob ever..keyboard turners, clickers, they do 5 minutes to move 5 meters because they need to open the map every 2 sec… How these guys became popular??

  30. I have never watched any type of Streaming. I usually check some blogs out during my breaks at work. If I am at home, I would rather be playing a game then watching a stream about it. I think the only way I could be interested is if it is a review about a game that I am on the fence about buying.

    @bhagpuss : My wife used to use a blog reader but whatever she was using was discontinued. She has not found another one she likes so I have never even tried to look. Any good recommendations?

    Topauz

  31. Gankatron says:
  32. I don’t know if this is a question of what _people_ like, blogs vs. streaming, as much as what _you_ like to do best. As far as consumption goes both have it’s own set of pro’s and con’s and it’s own dedicated audiences. As far as content creation goes, here is the thing – Keen, you mentioned a couple of times how much you love writing and how therapeutic you find the process of writing itself. There is a clear evidence of that by looking at the amount of content you and Graev produce, I’ve been reading your blog probably over 5 years now, I don’t recall a single instance were you had ONE week without a post. Clearly that wouldn’t be the case if you did not love writing, after all this is not a “job”. But when it comes to streaming I think you need to be more of an “actor” at heart to enjoy producing this kind of a content. Are you? I think that’s a question you need to ask yourself.

  33. @HowdyDoody: I’m the same with Video reviews. I stopped going to IGN because they are nothing but videos these days. I want written content. Videos feel too… ‘produced’.

    @Bhagpuss: When Google Reader shut down we lost 800 unique readers per day. That sucked. I actually prefer people check the blog rather than see us in a reader. Reality is it probably doesn’t matter.

    @Gankatron: Nothing will change here. Anything we do will always be in addition to, and never replacing the blog. I like blogging too much. I like this, right here, this conversation at our own pace.

    @John: Yeah, I’ve seen that too. A lot of streamers are more ‘personality’ than they are substance. Some are all substance and no personality but people watch because the person they are watching has e-cred for being the best at something. I’m neither entertaining or great — I’m consistent.

    @Farquaad: Very good point. I’m not an actor — at all. In fact, one of the biggest reasons I hate to stream is because I feel like I have to constantly talk and entertain. I’d rather just stream and have people watch. If you want to chat and ask me questions I’m happy to respond, but I can’t always “be on.” I like to sit back and slip into a gaming coma.

  34. I want to stream a PnP game or something but getting Keen to try new things is like pulling teeth. -_-

  35. “This is a massive generalization, but I can’t stand 95% of the people who stream…To be fair I can’t stand 95% of the bloggers either. ”

    Well that’s just Sturgeon’s law, that works for everything ;)

    Funnily enough, I originally found this blog through videos, I think it was stuff from the AoC closed beta, back when I was trying to figure out if it would be work playing or not after I’d quit WoW for the first time.

  36. Gankatron says:

    “Funnily enough, I originally found this blog through videos, I think it was stuff from the AoC closed beta”

    Same with me, from AoC beta videos.

  37. The Guilty Party says:

    I can’t stand the video-ization of the internet.

    Video is a less dense data format. This may sound ridiculous, but it’s true. You get lots of bits and lots of color and lots of extraneous stuff so that it takes minutes to load, but for your actual core message, it’s slower and much more tedious. I can read faster than you can speak. 2 hours of movie corresponds to a short story in writing.

    Video is more attention-demanding. I need to sit down and watch. I can’t have other things going on. I can’t browse at work.

    Video requires a lot more effort and skill to create. Anyone can write; if you practice, you probably can learn to write well. Producing a video that isn’t some 1980 UHF monstrosity takes time, equipment and expertise, not to mention someone who can deliver information clearly and pleasantly. All these videos both lower the average quality of content, *and* lock out your everyday sallybob-average from being a major success.

  38. raistiff says:

    Sadly lately I find myself watching streams more then gaming myself lately lol. You will see me in your viewer list 8)

  39. I’d love to stream, however, I just don’t have the personality for it.

  40. Horrorshow says:

    The best streamers are the ones who have a plan on what to do in the game. An example are those who play open world multiplayer mods for Arma, non-zombie ones. If they reach a point where they accomplished what they wanted, or hit a wall where they can not finish, then they think quickly and create another goal.
    Another thing is you do not have to talk to the audience all the time. In fact co-operative playing is always best because those streamers play off what the other person may say or type.
    I gravitate towards people who do both live-streaming and youtubing. They tend to have the best thought out goals. They stream for a few hours then put out a 20-30 minute video that has good narrative-style editing and later added commentary.
    While many people on stream curse way to much it is often less for dramatic effect and more how they normally speak. I over look it quickly. Maybe because of where I live I hear people dropping all sorts of F bombs and other words when I leave the house. It becomes not even background noise.

  41. Gankatron says:

    Yeah the constant cursing and screaming approach comes across like adolescent rage leaving a serious credibility gap; I just end up clicking through these types of videos.

    Examples of what I consider to be contrasts in articulateness and aplomb can be found in this video; I’ll leave it up to you all to figure out which I believe to be representative of what extreme… ;)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1zTsWNSaKc

  42. I love streams, I watch alot
    with that in mind
    99% of streamers are trash, the biggest streamers are the worst of all. I get pointed to some of the ‘popular’ ones by people in the community (we all know who :p) and they are god awful.
    Now I’m never one to begrudge peoples tastes, so fair play if they like it, but I’m certainly not the target audience.
    They swear to much, play awful music far too loud, over sexulise everything and generaly act immaturely.
    Which is why they are popular, a vast majority of the people who have the time to watch a lot of streams are either kids or the workshy, who will find such content entertaining.
    Yea yea I’m generalising a bit too much there :p

    The streams I enjoy are the smaller ones that interact with their viewers properly, explain what they are doing in games, give hints and tips and help people out, and generally stream because that’s what they enjoy, not because they want the fame/money

  43. “The blog WILL NOT change” i wants guarantees :)

    i don’t get streaming at all, when you could be playing yourself, yes you could be watching to see if you want to buy but that’s what betas and reviews are for

  44. Gotta say, your blog is the only one I read regularly. I can’t stand streaming or videos in general, but for me it is more an issue of impatience. I can’t stand watching news clips or videos when I could just get the information presented to me in writing that I can read in a matter of seconds.

    I’ve been following you since Allods, and your commentary is some of the best on MMO’s I’ve ever found. You don’t sugar coat things, keep things honest, but you’re also more than willing to admit when you were wrong about a game based on first impressions. Keep on keeping on, maybe one day I’ll get to play a game with you and your community.

  45. Streaming, no thanks.

    Podcast? Yes please.

  46. I much much much prefer reading your blog than watching any stream. My god, such trash.

Trackbacks

  1. […] I bitched on Twitter the other day that everyone was doing the streaming thing. Then I read Keen’s post about it.  I commented that I feel like an old man yelling at the kid’s to stay off my lawn. […]

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