In the current era of video games, the platform for making content available to consumers has never been bigger. The video game industry has grown exponentially in a very short time, and this influx of success shows.
One of the biggest indicators of video games’ growth as an entertainment source is the popularity of live streaming. Though live streaming video games is a practice that’s only been around for several years, its success has resulted in the creation of many sites that were made for the sole purpose of watching the game play of others.
Live streaming seems to have an almost universal appeal because it can be employed in nearly any capacity; it can be a small affair of someone showing off a game to their friends, a larger one in which a streamer has a set schedule for when they entertain their subscribers with game play and commentary, or it could even be used to broadcast huge esports events to fans around the world.
But one of the groups that does live streaming is perhaps not one that many would expect: game developers. While it may at first seem odd that the people who create the games that are being streamed have dedicated streams of their own, it becomes much more clear once the streams are viewed.
Live streaming gives game developers a unique opportunity to reach out to the gaming community in a way that had never really been possible beforehand. In the medium of streaming, game developers become more approachable, more relatable. In this new setting, they’re simply people, people playing video games, no less.
Because of this effect, game developers live streaming make for a very interesting move in public relations with the gaming community. But while live streaming among developers may not be uncommon, not all streams are the same. Each game developer that has a stream has their own idea as to how to use their streaming time effectively, and opinions vary on what the best method is.
One of ways that developers employ their streaming time is to show off game play of their own projects. Whether this time is specifically used to show off specific bits of their work or to randomly play around with the game varies from case to case.
Bioware has produced a number of streams in which they explore the world of Dragon Age: Inquisition, and as of late, Bethesda has been streaming a run through of their very successful game, Fallout 3, in anticipation of their as of yet unreleased and highly anticipated sequel, Fallout 4.
Another approach that has been taken to streaming is actually quite simple: to play games. There does not need to be a specific objective in mind or a mapped out plan for how every moment of the stream shall be used; rather, the idea is just to do what practically everyone else does when they stream: to have fun.
The game developer Volition exemplifies this strategy, as they have played a variety of games from Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance to 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand.
But big name developers aren’t the only ones who stream. Vlambeer, an exceedingly small indie development team made up of just two people, also have an interest in streaming. What’s notable about their streams though are that they don’t just stream game play, they stream game development itself.
Nuclear Throne—Valmbeer’s current project—may already be available for purchase, but the game is still in development, and fans can tune into their streams to watch as the game is updated and refined.
Live streaming is a valuable tool for game developers to use, and as the popularity of the medium grows, it should be expected that developers’ investment in it will grow as well.