The title says it all really. Today, I subscribed to a Twitch channel. I never thought I’d do this. I’ve never fully got the Twitch thing, which I’ll get to shortly. The channel I’ve subscribed to is Geek and Sundry, which is certainly something I never thought I’d do. I’ve not had much to do with the whole Felicia Day internet content Zeitgeist other than watching The Guild. The shows that Geek and Sundry put out are not of interest to me for the most part. Good on her and everything but I’ve not overly been a follower.
So, Twitch, me and what has caused me to handover my hard, earned Great British Pound?
I never really got Twitch. This isn’t surprising as it took me a while to get the point of YouTube as well. The reasons for this is simple. I’m a written word guy not a video guy. You can put this down to a generational difference, the way my brain works, etc. I’ll also put in a defence of myself other than me being ‘old’ in that these video platforms feature a lot of pointless detritus and take a while to host actual, honest to God, good content. I don’t get excited over platforms so much, I just get excited over content. This was certainly the case with YouTube. It really took The Guild to bring me to it in any significant way, because this was the first thing I encountered that was an actual produced show, rather than just loads of clips of people doing daft shit.
This naturally lead me to being sceptical of Twitch. It’s a place where you watch people playing computer games? Errr…okay. What’s the point of that? I still don’t overly get it in a lot of cases. There seems to be people out there who play games on Twitch, do little else, they’re not adding any significant content in and off themselves, they are literally just playing games. These people can get donations of like $1K dollars just to do that. Yesterday, I browsed by the channel of GeekandGamerGirl and there was a history of $500 and $1k donations, along with 28K followers. As far as I could tell she played games and answered the odd question. Why would people dedicate themselves to that and pay money? There was no produced content, no additional value being added. I don’t get that (beyond the obvious in this case).
Two things have brought me around to Twitch..a bit.
The primary reason I’ve subscribed is Critical Role, which I really like. I don’t need to subscribe as while the time zone Gods mean I can’t watch it live as it runs 0300 – 0700 on a Friday morning, I can catch it if I’m lucky on a weekend as it re-runs and if that fails it’s posted to the Geek and Sundry website on Monday evening (quick enough to watch it that evening). The trouble is I’d like to watch it on Friday or the weekend after it airs guaranteed and I think it’s worth the £4 a month.
That’s four sessions of 3 – 4 hours that are very entertaining.
OMG. When voice actors play D&D. Vax’s thinks he might die ‘final’ thoughts. Sheesh. Actual emotional reaction. #CriticalRole
— Ian O’Rourke (@Fandomlife) September 26, 2015
Like any role-playing campaigns, it has its slow sessions, but the vast majority are engaging, funny, dramatic and very tense. They are ridiculously entertaining. There has been numerous moments in that game that have generated an emotional reaction as powerful as some of the best TV shows. I’d say more so in some cases. These alone are worth the £4 to see episodes earlier and because I think it’s worth the money as a contribution to Geek and Sundry’s efforts.
That surprises me, but I enjoy Critical Role that much.
The second reason is personal and very situational. Due to major changes in my life I’ve been living alone since the end of June. This is something I’ve not done..ever. As I’ve either been living with my parents or with my wife for the last twenty years. Okay, I’ve worked away for extended periods for either 4-5 days a week, and I’m perfectly fine with that, but that’s not exactly the same thing.
Oddly, Twitch has helped with this in a couple of ways.
It’s a great background thing. Some people have their TV on in the background, I’ve had Twitch on in the background with the channels the family members run. It’s been a great way just to keep in contact, have the odd conversation, etc. It’s one of those ways of just having a continual fabric of contact which has been very useful over the last few months. I didn’t overly think of it when I was doing it, but in retrospect that’s what was going on.
I now get Twitch in two ways. I get it, just like with anything else, when the platform is being used to create actual content. This is the Critical Role example. I also get it when it’s being used as a social thing, this is the case with family members, it’s just another medium for communicating across face-to-face, phone, PS4 voice chat, messaging, Twitch, etc. While I don’t get the random stranger playing games thing, I possibly sort of get it now. I see people following the family channels, and while they’re modest numbers, these people then often become ‘friends’ that play in the same games which is great.
I will never get the big follower numbers and lofty donations to the various channels were some guy or gal just plays games and says…stuff. That will always bewilder me. Well, unless the host happens to be a gorgeous woman, but then that’s just human nature…..