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2018 in Review: A Reflection on Twitch Streaming and the Videogame Industry

streaming video games via twitch

I'm not going to lie to you. This year has been probably the worst year for me in terms of gaming. We've seen a lot of industry shifts happen that are pointing towards a constant reminder: video game companies are corporations. They produce product that people will buy, and if that doesn't happen the company dies. Often times, products aren't what the players want, or perhaps the product isn't a very strong one. Regardless, we must remember that there isn't a thing called a "good" corporation. They just exist for money, and it's a harsh thought as our generation, the people that grew up with these game companies, starts to see our favorite pastime turn into product.

As we move into 2019, I'm reflecting on a lot in this post—why I haven't streamed on Twitch or Mixer lately, what I'm dealing with personally, where games might be going in the future and some terrible incidents that have definitely marred gaming. Let me be clear that I'm certainly not stopping streaming. I've declined a lot in the past few months because I've picked up a new job that has my work schedule sporadic. A lot of my time has been devoted towards a career, but making ends meet is my first priority. Even my blog has seen a lot less traffic, and I was originally very excited to get this moving forward. Unfortunately, I have to make decisions I don't want to unless things turn towards the positive for me. But, with that in mind, I'll dive into some topics to touch on.

Video Game Debacles: ArenaNet Comes to Mind

I want to preface touching on this with a very sensitive statement: my personal views on ArenaNet are my own, and I do not intend to offend anyone. However, what comes to mind with ArenaNet is that a single tweet can sometimes turn into a maddening storm of insults. I remember when two Guild Wars developers were fired after comments were made over Twitter. Regardless of who said what and the unfortunate end of two development careers, social media can turn ugly in an instant because it's easy to slander and insult someone who sits hundreds of miles away on a phone or computer. The ArenaNet incident happened and nearly turned into GamerGate 2 (I will not comment on GamerGate). 

It's incidents like these that really take the gaming industry and reveal the dark spots within it. As we grow and change in our culture over time, we have to be sensitive to a lot of the people in all walks of life. When you put on someone else's shoes, you might have a paradigm shift. I recently recognized something about me that I never considered before in the past, and it was a terrifying thought—immediately I recognized the struggle of another person, and it kept me awake for several nights. This paradigm shift allowed me to see struggles of people I could never identify with, possibly up until now. I won't go into detail, but rest assured it was a difficult trial period of self-reflection.

In regards to ArenaNet, several people felt attacked on "both sides" of the waters even though some people may have never meant offense. Whether side you agree with, it's important to understand that "outside" comments can be taken out of context and used against you. Plus, even if you have a disclaimer on your social media that states your opinions do not reflect the company you are a part of, remember that you still represent a company in some manner. That's a fundamnetal aspect of PR.

2018 Videogames of the Year

I'll admit there wasn't a lot of stuff to bite on in terms of gaming. I purchased Marvel's Spiderman on a whim and thoroughlly enjoyed it, even though I saw no press coverage on it whatsoever. Puzzle aspects, action/adventure, and one hell of an entertaining cityscape swing ride. A fantastic game and worth every penny. I purchased it on my birthday and couldn't have been happier. 

However, that's where the road really ended for me. I have been meaning to purchase God of War 4, but never really got around to it. I kind of owe it to Sony Santa Monica Studio anyways, as some folks I know have done me a few favors that I need to repay. I digress though—games just weren't all that fulfilling for me this year. Monster Hunter World wasn't in my ilk of liked games, Celeste just seemed like another uninteresting platformer, RDR 2 seemed interesting but I hadn't played the original games, and tacing games just aren't my thing anymore. Call it a lackluster year for me. Even a damn smart game developer friend of mine agreed this was a shit year for gaming. 

An Oncoming Shift of Corporate Mentality with Videogames

As before, game companies are corporations. They aren't in it "for the fans," although listening to a fanbase often times can curtail the direction of a company—if it's viable for the company. Even Blizzard is seeing changes that align with the interests of finances and not people. Bethesda tanked this year with Fallout 76, a game I vehemently felt would fail when it was announced it would mix single-player aspects in an MMO model—an approach I never think works. Sony ended up pulling out of 2019's E3, along with the head of the ESA stepping down after 11 years. There's clearly a shift going on as we approach the next decade, and it's kind of scary to think about what's around the corner. Gaming has turned very dark lately, and that leads me to where I've been for the last few months.

Why I've Taken a Backseat to Streaming Video Games via Twitch and Mixer

I'm still here. I'm still producing work, as you can obviously see. It's just right now streaming video games isn't a priority. I've lost a strong following because of my absence as of late, and I'm certain next time I fire things up I'll probably sit at a few viewers at most. Dealing with the level of politics and influence, even making a few hundred dollars a month with streaming video games, is just maddening. I'll eventually make another schedule and stick to it, but my living is suffering right now because of the last few positions I've held—one of which I was heavily screwed over with. I won't go into detail, but my last office position was one of the worst I've ever held, and I was honestly distraught over how I was treated. A word of advice: do your research heavily on companies and accept a position only if you need to. Abusive, idiotic managers can do more damage than you might think.

That's it for me right now. In 2019, I'll be more active with my blog and streaming. It's just far too difficult to do both right now, and my focus needs to lie in developing my career with streaming a small part of it. Thanks for reading folks, and see you in 2019. ;)

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