Reading Response # 2
Watching Us Play: Postures and Platforms of Live Streaming
In this article, Austin Walker discusses his opinion on streaming, the practice of broadcasting the gameplay footage. Walker’s thesis is located in the second paragraph the last sentence. He argues that live streaming represents a change in how players share and collaborate, adding new sorts of social interactivity to an experience that was, for so long, solitary. Walker main points are how live streaming raises questions about the relationship of play, labor, subjectivity, and agency under late capitalism.
Walker defines live streaming as a technology where you will need high-speed internet, transnational data-centers, and a hardware, so players around the world are able to broadcast their gameplay session, where they can play, entertain, teach, critique, and share. Live streaming novelty grants it special status as a practice still information, making it especially useful in analyzing how late capitalism identifies and appropriates fresh cultural activity--doing so in this case through the development of an infrastructure that supports and encourages voluntary self-surveillance.
Walker has mentioned many theoretical concepts. He separates streaming into two stances: the active streaming posture, where streamers voluntarily choose to broadcast their play, and the passive streaming posture, where streaming is automatically incorporated into the hardware and/or software of the gaming platform and players are unable to opt in or out. Another concept he mentions is a cloud gaming service. Cloud gaming service aims to provide graphics-rich interactive applications available across connected devices. Walker’s methodological approach was providing the history of pre-streaming located in the fourth paragraph.
An example Walker uses for his one of his main points is how capitalism identifies and appropriates fresh cultural activity through the development of an infrastructure that supports and encourages voluntary self-surveillance. He used a personal example when he voluntarily was a part of that self-surveillance by spending over a year, streaming games on Twitch, a live-streaming service which recently exceeded Facebook, Amazon, Pandora, Tumblr, Hulu, becoming the fourth highest ranked site in the category. Another example is when he introduces Sony PlayStation 4 as he describes as a future streaming solution in which players can stream live from their PS4s and also having a “ Share” button. The “Share” button is dedicated to start a live broadcast and reach many gamers around the world.
Walker has disagreed as well as build on previous scholars work. The article started with a quote by Frank Lantz, a game designer who thought popular gaming culture had failed to interrogate that social quality. I believe by him beginning the article that way is for the reader to have a different perspective. Throughout the article on page 440, Walker named five researchers who he built his main points on. For example, the five researchers wrote about how these live streaming games had oppressed, exploited, and underrepresented people. He states, “... streamers publicize the works of marginalized game creators, operate marathons to raise awareness and funding for charitable and political projects, and utilize broadcast platforms to air panels on topics like racism and capitalism.” That falls into his main point on how subjectivity and capitalism.
The evidence provided was sufficient, credible, and convincing because he has used many different scholars who are experts on the subject at hand, as well incorporating his personal experience on the topic. I believe the audience for this article is for media and game scholars as well as people play video games by live streaming.