More women make it as successful streamers on Twitch
The landscape of live streaming has changed. Before, people watched as highly-skilled players took on challenges in video games live. Entertainers garnered views thanks to their humor and sometimes banter with other content creators. Tournaments get views because of pro teams’ fans who want to watch highly competitive gameplay. Over the past two decades, live streaming has become a niche into a mainstream activity, with more actors and artists dipping into the content creation sphere. At the center of it all is the live streaming platform Twitch.
The landscape of live streaming continues to change. Before, live streaming (and gaming, in general) has mostly been a man’s thing, thanks to cultural factors. But more recently, women have grown in prominence in the live streaming sphere. While most of the top-ranking live streamers on Twitch still consist mainly of men, women have started to take over, too. There are a variety of reasons why, but the barrier to entry for female streamers has lowered over time. The gates have opened for women to live stream as well, so to speak.
The Rise of Twitch’s Just Chatting
The Star notes that one of the biggest reasons why women have grown popular in live streaming is the rise of the Just Chatting category on Twitch. While it primarily started out as a gaming platform, Twitch allowed content on its platform to transform. Instead of solely being all about gaming, it allowed content creators to become variety streamers. Streamers attracted viewers who wanted to know more about their daily lives, doing mundane everyday activities. For these viewers, the appeal is not the way the creators play, but the artists themselves. Streamers have become celebrities.
‘Gaming Influencers Are the Future of Esports’
Meanwhile, a shift in viewers’ interest from competitive gaming to more casual, chill live streams also allowed women to thrive on Twitch. According to Wired, more and more professional esports players have shifted their efforts from competition to live streaming. Fans flock in droves to watch their favorite personalities play games that they want. It also makes business sense for players, as live streaming provides a much more stable income compared to competing. Win or not, the steady income you get as a gaming influencer from sponsors and from fans’ donations is most of the time more profitable than what you could earn in tournaments. There’s less risk, less pressure to perform, and more sources of income.
Esports has always been a field harsh on women. For various reasons – which includes gatekeeping from the community as well as other cultural factors – women who have found success in esports have been few and far between. However, the gaming community has opened its gates to female gamers, at least more widely than esports had. The shift of attention of viewers from contests to casual content, especially on Twitch, helped build up women in the field of live streaming.
This, of course, is a welcome development. However, women continue to face unfair treatment from the gaming community. Just recently, two content creators in the UK faced scrutiny after previous videos of them being offensive towards women and other people resurfaced. While there have also been other individuals who have faced harassment in gaming, women have received the largest share. But things are starting to look up lately. The gaming community has started to become more accepting of women in gaming. The stigma of female gamers have started to dissipate over the past few years. And thanks to these changes, more women have also started gaining more ground on platforms like Twitch.