Like bumping into your favorite sports star at your local shopping mall, there is something pleasingly disarming about seeing celebrities in unlikely situations. Of course, even celebrities have to shop, but fans enjoy any window into celebrity life that serves to remind us that they are largely ordinary people. Celebrity gaming is one such way in which we can see familiar faces in unfamiliar roles. The rise of gaming streams has seen the creation of stars, but now we are witnessing a trend in which stars are streaming their gaming experience for popular consumption. These celebrity streams give fans a new level of insight into their heroes’ personalities and lives.
The stars are turning to Twitch
The most prominent example of a famous gamer collaborating with a famous star is the link-up of Ninja and Drake to stream their game of Fortnite via Twitch. Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins is a shining example of how gamers can reach veritable celebrity status, with Business Insider stating that he is rumored to rake in half a million dollars from gaming streams. Drake is more conventionally famous, with the musician having recent groundbreaking success when his new album became the first to hit one billion streams in a week. This made it a real coup for Ninja to bring Drake on board for a gaming stream. Over 635000 viewers accessed the stream at its peak, with fans eager to see Drake try his hand at the most fashionable game in the world at the moment.
Drake is not the only rapper to venture into the world of gaming streams. T-Pain is a more regular streamer, with his outings on Blizzard’s Overwatch renowned for giving the world a more intimate and introspective experience with the star. Actor Freddie Prinze Jr., who had a succession of cinematic hits in the 90s, offers a low-key Twitch experience in which he plays older games and reveals his inner nerd. Other actors such as Chandler Riggs of The Walking Dead and Terry Crews of Brooklyn Nine-Nine have taken to Twitch to show off their gaming chops. There is a huge market for gaming streams, and getting the chance to see celebrities humanize themselves only serves to make them more engrossing.
The continued rise of streaming
The growing popularity of gaming streams, with or without a celebrity presence, is indicative of a wider trend of streaming becoming an integral part of the consumer experience. Online casinos are offering an increasingly wide range of games streamed live via the internet. While these may technically fall under the umbrella of gaming streams (they are games being streamed, after all), they differentiate from those on Twitch as their purpose is to recreate the physical casino experience rather than provide the chance to observe gamers in action. There are many games at the online casino from Betway that incorporate a real dealer and real-time updates rather than a purely simulated experience. For example, players can participate in classic casino games like blackjack and roulette from their smartphone while interacting with a live dealer thanks to the power of streaming. The sense of events unfolding in real time can make players forget that they are actually looking at a screen, with live streaming so popular because it is immersive and interactive.
Outside of gaming, streaming has become the exclusive means to consume music and television for many people. These may not be live streams, but companies such as Spotify and Netflix have replaced established ways of consuming media. As mentioned previously, Drake has become the poster boy for the success of music streaming, with Spotify going public on the stock market with a valuation of $27 billion a testament to how the company has become the default music experience for many. The unprecedented nature of Netflix’s rise has continued, with the service’s addition of 7.41 million global subscribers during the first quarter of 2018 exceeding expert predictions by a million.
While services like this will continue to be outstandingly successful, they cannot compete with live gaming streams when it comes to breaking down boundaries between the public and celebrities. Spotify and Netflix reinforce the status quo, but the channels from celebrities on Twitch give their fans a unique way to learn more about their idols as people. The list of celebrity streamers is becoming more extensive, and Drake’s recent cameo may persuade even more people to pick up a controller and a webcam. As gamers like Ninja become increasingly influential, there may be more high-profile collaborations in the months and years to come.