Twitch enters the Public Eye, and WE DON’T WANT LOGAN PAUL!
Hello readers! LauraK483 here, hope you’re all doing well! I have been INSANELY BUSY in 2018 so far, as you might have guessed from the lack of regular blog posts. But I’d have to be living under a rock not to notice some of the MAJOR publicity Twitch has been getting lately. From the Overwatch League’s premier season to the new face of Twitch getting news coverage on CNN and co-streaming with celebs like Drake, our beloved platform for gaming and streaming is catching the eyes of the world and as a streamer on the platform I couldn’t be more thrilled.
Before we get to the main story (or should I say streamer) that has blown up around Twitch, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention another big development for the platform this year. Partially because it is almost unprecedented in esports, but also because I am hopelessly addicted to it and this event now consumes a significant amount of my free time. I am talking about the Overwatch League, brought to us by Blizzard. The game is roughly a year and a half old, I have been playing since day 1 and absolutely immersed in the lore and characters alongside the fun and adrenaline pumping gameplay. Blizzard had been talking about forming an esports league for this game for months and the launch was nothing short of a huge success. Over 400,000 viewers on Twitch on it’s first day of competition, and it seems to consistently have approximately 120,000 viewers all 4 days of the week that it airs. Now obviously this is big for Blizzard, and esports in general since the production value for this event is huge and an entire new arena was made to house it.Twitch though has also done insanely well thanks to this league, because they have the exclusive rights to stream it, bringing a ton of traffic to the site Wednesday through Saturday weekly. Through some initiatives they have now announced in Stage 2, they are also making money hand over fist I’m sure. Now you can buy bits to “cheer” for your favourite OWL team and unlock exclusive Overwatch emotes to use in chats all over the site. These emotes include characters from the game as well as icons from the OWL teams themselves. Combine this with in-game currency being dropped to viewers for watching and supporting the league, there are now a TON of people spending extra hours on the platform as well as spending their hard-earned money on Twitch bitties. The OWL itself is also helping elevate the realm of esports in general, bringing this level of competitive gaming more out into the open. One of my favourite examples is my personal ‘ride or die’ team I cheer for, the LA Valiant, having their official jerseys being sold in the Staples Centre in LA alongside merch from major NBA, NHL, and MLB teams like the Lakers, Kings, and more!
That being said, we all know the biggest news story around Twitch lately and it has nothing to do with Blizzard or their awesome games. One streamer has taken the Fortnite scene BY STORM and is breaking records on the site all over the place, from highest concurrent viewers in a stream (over 600,000 on his stream with Drake) to insane sub counts. Tyler Blevins, aka “Ninja,” has been receiving major news coverage for his streams lately, on channels/sites like CNN and CNBC. Also it’s not often you hear of Twitch streamers gaming with real life celebrities like musicians and athletes on their channels (although I use the term musician lightly when describing Drake. But that’s a WHOLE OTHER opinion I’m not here to talk about). The only downside most of the time is they are focusing on his pay check. Now don’t get me wrong it’s impressive AS FUCK! What gets me excited about seeing him talk about our site on the news is that he has now become the new “face of Twitch” so to speak. Now obviously depending on who you ask, they will have a different answer, but going off of last year’s various gaming awards and most major social media platforms, that title used to belong to a much more inflammatory streamer you might have heard of. Most likely you read that and correctly thought “Dr DisRespect.” The man who can have a major scandal, take a vacation, and come back stronger than ever making light of the whole situation and continuing his (often inappropriate in my personal opinion) abrasive persona and jokes. Unlike lots of other big streamers on our platform, who can let the fame and viewership go to their heads and become somewhat self-centred among other things, Ninja is such a positive role model for the vast groups of younger users that are on Twitch. Alongside quality gameplay, he is just a genuinely nice guy who donates much of his large income to charity, takes breaks from his gaming on stream to give his viewers time to do their homework and encourage them to stay in school, and above all REMAINS HUMBLE! This is the kind of person I want the media to think of when they think of Twitch. Not arrogant loudmouths like the doc, not basement dwelling socially stunted nerds chained to their computers, and not teenagers who haven’t matured into full adults yet and therefore are still allowed to enjoy video games in a greater social context. If anyone wants to know what it means to be a digital role model, look to Ninja, he’s doing a great job. No pressure though ;)
If you want to see THE EXACT OPPOSITE of what it means to be a digital role model, then look no further than Logan Paul. This Youtube and online content creator has been making worldwide news since literally DAYS into 2018, and not for good reason. I won’t go into his heinous, despicable, and indefensible behaviour in this blog post. If you haven’t already heard the gist of it then you may also be living under a rock. You may be wondering why the hell I’m talking about Logan Paul in a blog focused on Twitch. Well, if you weren’t already aware, I’m so sorry to be the one to tell you, but he has made a Twitch account and is planning on streaming to it soon. After he made this announcement, and his account saw over 100,000 follows before he has even gone live (currently sitting at 297,747 while I write this) the Twitchverse seemed to have one of two reactions. The first one (and the reaction I had and still mostly feel) was GET THIS PIECE OF HUMAN TRASH OFF OF MY PLATFORM! With the introduction of the new TOS to Twitch this month, and the bigger push than ever to fight toxicity within online gaming and online interactions in general, many of us are really optimistic for the future of Twitch. Unlike Youtube, it’s still new enough that it still feels like the staff care about streamers of all sizes and just a more policed platform that hasn’t gotten too out of control yet when compared to a platform with the breadth and scope of Youtube. And as much as I was hating on streamers like Dr DisRespect in the last paragraph, they are still nowhere near as outright disgusting and immoral and repugnant as creators like Logan Paul, who feel untouchable due to their size and status on their platform and behave however they want with no thought to others or their young audience. If Logan Paul stays on Twitch and joins the ranks of streamers without any SIGNIFICANT EFFORTS to clean up his act and be even slightly less of a trash human, I will personally feel a little bit dirtier knowing I share something in common with creators like him, as extreme as that is. Especially since he’s doing it as a money grab for a few thousand easy Twitch prime subs and people needing to throw money at him just to be noticed. He hasn’t even gone live yet, and the day he made his account his chat was FILLED with the worst kind of toxic garbage including hate speech and spam of all kinds. Is that really what you want on your site Twitch?
Now the other reaction to this news was to look on the positive side, and many people pointed out how many potential new viewers this would bring to Twitch. It is also more than likely that those people who come to Twitch due to creators like Logan will also spend their time and maybe money on other streamer’s channels as well. Kind of fits in with the ‘no press is bad press’ mentality. Looking at it from purely a numbers standpoint, I completely see the merit in this point of view and where you guys are coming from. Especially as an aspiring Affiliate on Twitch with hopes of seeing my channel grow to one worthy of partnership in the coming years, it’s always great to have more people coming to the site and discovering the joys of Twitch. However, I personally would be disgusted to find one of the Logang sycophant trolls in my chat who think actions like his are acceptable, and judging by the behaviour in his Twitch chat WHEN HE HASN’T EVEN STREAMED YET, those aren’t the people I want on Twitch.
At the end of the day, Twitch is growing exponentially, and I’m super happy and optimistic for the future of our platform as it enters the public eye and becomes more mainstream. However, I want creators like Ninja to be the ones to usher us into that future, and for the amazing creators and communities I interact with every day to be the meat of Twitch, alongside high level esports and talented musicians/artists/chefs/etc (thank you Creative and IRL tabs). I want creeps like Logan Paul to stay the hell away from our platform. You can keep your viewers, we don’t want them here.