I recently found a fantastic new video game review channel on YouTube called Girlfriend Reviews. It’s put on by a girl who doesn’t play video games herself, but really enjoys sitting and watching her boyfriend play through them. Then she reviews not the actual games, but what it’s like living with someone who plays games. Seriously, watch her review of The Witcher 3. I laughed so hard I almost spilled my drink. She’s hilarious.
Her channel got me thinking about a new article. I’ve heard people talk about what it’s like to stream, but I’ve never heard anyone talk about what it’s like to live with a streamer.
Streamers are entertainers. You might come to watch some gameplay but you’ll probably stay because the streamer is engaging and entertaining. In other words, streaming is a job. You clock in, you perform your work duties, and you clock out. Once you have a dedicated channel, video games are no longer just a fun hobby you do when you feel like it. They’re work (if often fun work).
My wife is a streamer on Twitch. She plays a lot of Sea of Thieves. Among other things, people watch her because of her zany pirate antics and silly humor. When she streams, she’s on. What people don’t see are those days where half an hour before stream she’s totally exhausted from her full-time day job and all she wants to do is read a book for a few hours by herself before bed. Instead, she gets ready, turns the camera on, and the happy, gregarious, energetic version of her suddenly comes out.
And that’s no act. She does it because she loves to stream. She loves the community she’s built. She loves interacting with that community. She’s good at it. It’s her passion.
For me, when she told me she wanted to start streaming, I knew it would mean I’d see less of her. I also volunteered to take on more of the housework so she would have the time to stream. I love that she streams. That’s what it’s like to live with a streamer, especially one who hasn’t yet made it their full-time job. You support them however you can. Because, often enough, they’re trying to build something, a community, a social space people all over the world can join. That’s hard work. Good work, but hard.
So the next time you pop into someone’s stream, chat with them. Engage. Remember how much work they’ve put into it—from researching, purchasing, and setting up the right equipment to keeping a dedicated schedule in probably an otherwise busy life. Throw some bits or a sub or a donation their way. They put that work in for you. Check out some smaller streams. Those people are probably streaming after putting in a full day’s work. Support them. Streaming is an emerging community. Let’s keep building it.