Date: March 16, 2015
Listen to MIT sociologist T.L. Taylor report from the trenches of her fieldwork into twitch, e-sports, and other phenomena of game live-streaming.
Computer gaming has long been a social activity, complete with spectatorship. The growth of game live-streaming – the online broadcasting of real-time play to a remote audience – is not only extending, but deeply reworking play within a larger media ecology. Professional e-sports players and amateurs alike are broadcasting their gaming online to communities of fellow avid players. The living room sofa is getting extended out via this new form of “networked broadcast.” While many speculate about the future of television, “second screen” experiences, or “social TV,” a dynamic, often unruly, group of gamers and companies are remaking the future of what it means to play, and watch media, right now and solely online. For many, live-streaming involves a complex mix of transforming ones private play to public entertainment. Amidst it all, large issues loom about the economics of this new form of broadcasting, intellectual property concerns, and the growing algorithmic regulation of content in online broadcasts. Game live-streaming offers a compelling look into the continued networked production of play and the future of spectatorship.