Students stream for personal ambition, enjoyment

December 18, 2020

Gaming content is one of the largest genres of created media this year. YouTube has called 2020 “YouTube Gaming‘s biggest year” with more than 100 billion hours of gaming content watched on YouTube this year and more than 40 million gaming channels on the platform. 

Streaming content is also incredibly successful. The most popular live streaming service, Twitch, has approximately 15 million users every day.

The popularity and accessibility of content creation means anyone can create a channel and record videos or live stream to interact with viewers in real time. This accessibility has allowed young people, including several Lab students, to develop and share their own gaming content as a way to have fun, relax and spend time with friends.

Gaming content creation is enjoyable as a process beyond just the fun of playing games. Junior Jesse Gell made his first YouTube video on his Pokémon gameplay channel eight months ago. Since then, he has released more than 100 videos, gaining over 100 subscribers.

“I get to make content out of playing a game I love,” Jesse said. “Editing and the other technical stuff I put into my videos is relaxing, and at the end, I have a video that I’m proud of.”

Junior Jesse Gell’s displays a laptop, microphone, headset and gaming mouse for his streaming setup. While some streamers typically have multiple monitors and other hefty equipment, this setup shows the easy accessibility that streaming services allow for its content creators. (photo provided by Jesse Gell)

Creating videos and streaming can also be social activities. Sophomores Matt Petres and Behram Shah have made Twitch channels, through which they often stream games while playing and talking with friends. Friends of these creators can also watch and interact with their channels through live stream chats or video comments.

“My Lab friends are really supportive about it,” Jesse said. “They’re not as interested in Pokémon as I am, but they watch my videos and leave nice comments and stuff.” 

Jesse has also used his platform to make new friends interested in Pokémon online. Through participating in the online community, he has met other Pokémon-based content creators, as well as viewers who share Jesse’s interests.

“My friends at Lab aren’t really into Pokémon, so I’ve met people online that I can play with,” he said. “I play them in my videos and if they make vids, I appear on their channels sometimes.”

While Jesse’s channel is focused on Pokémon content, other Lab creators play many different games. Matt has streamed “Minecraft,” “Call of Duty” and various other games that he enjoys. Matt said that the fun of streaming isn’t just about what game he’s playing, but about the excitement of being able to interact with viewers.

“I started streaming like two years ago when ‘Fortnite’ was really popular. I just saw other people streaming and it looked fun,” Behram said. “I streamed a lot of ‘Fortnite’ back then, but more recently I streamed a game called ‘Rocket League’ and ‘Call of Duty: Warzone.’”

Gaming content creation comes in many different forms and is a great source of joy for some students. By engaging with an audience, creators can have even more fun playing games they love and being with friends. After watching gaming content for years, students have the possibility to become a part of the communities they enjoy.

“After I made my channel I’ve been able to meet some bigger creators, like people I watched when I was younger,” Jesse said. “That’s been the coolest part for me.”


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