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.
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.