When a Pandemic Enters the Game: The Initial and Prolonged Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Live-Stream Broadcasters on Twitch

Date
2022-01-04
Authors
Scerbakov, Alexei
Pirker, Johanna
Kappe, Frank
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Abstract
The global COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the popularity of video games and online-gaming platforms. However, little research is devoted to understanding how the pandemic has affected gamers, especially live-stream broadcasters. Therefore, our study aimed to evaluate the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on established streamers on Twitch. By using a longitudinal time-series design and focusing on a large sample (N = 23,019) of broadcasters, we were able to determine the initial as well as prolonged effects of the pandemic on their streaming behavior. Our results suggest that the pandemic was a "game changer" for the target group, especially in regard to their choice of game settings and their focus on non-gaming content. Relating the data obtained from the target group of established streamers to the general platform data, we discuss the pandemic-related platform dynamics.
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Games and Gaming, covid-19, live streaming platform, streaming behaviour, twitch
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