Gaming

Gaming at the Forefront of Political Economy

Source: Youtube.com

On December 2, 2021, the Washington Post wrote a long-form article about the life of twitch.tv famous streamer loltyler1. The journalist who wrote this article spent the day and night with Tyler to get an insider look at what the life of a famous twitch streamer is like. The day this was published, Tyler took an hour on his live stream to review the article written about him. From what he finds, the Washington Post makes Tyler’s life out to be much worse than it actually is; Tyler himself admits they blew the hardships of his life way out of proportion.

To put a little bit of content behind this, Tyler is the 15th most successful streamer on twitch.tv, making over $2 million dollars a year in just Twitch revenue. This does not include money from sponsorships or other avenues of income which earn him millions more on top of the twitch revenue. He has been streaming for almost 8 years full time at around 50 hours per week and through this time, earned success from his hard work and persistence. He works ten hours more than a full-time employee a week but also gets over 10 to 20 times more money than most people employed full-time make in one year.

Most working Americans would jump all over an opportunity to make this kind of money. However, Tyler has created a unique brand for himself through his streaming grind and has created a business model that cannot be replicated easily due to its sheer reliance on other people and their generosity. There are very few professions in the world where after just 8 years of working 50 hours a week, a single person would be making millions of dollars a year. This fundamental truth was not addressed by the Washington Post though.

Several times throughout the article, the journalists call his viewers unforgiving and relentless, heavily taking away from the fact Tyler’s success on twitch is because of his viewers. This is not to take away from the fact that Tyler works hard to create consistent content, but it is the viewers that drive his revenue.

Tyler is so popular because of his demeanor and attitude toward the games he plays. He is generally very sarcastic and has a very humorous stream so in response, his viewers do the exact same thing. This sarcasm was not even hinted at in the Washington Post’s article, in fact, the opposite happened. The journalist writing the article took Tyler’s obvious sarcasm from his stream towards his viewers used them as serious direct quotes to explain his feelings toward the streaming profession and success.

The article made Tyler out to seem completely miserable. The sense of this can be found in Tyler’s reactions to the article about him as well as the comments by readers on the Washington Post. In Tyler’s reaction video, he refutes this narrative but the fact that a very well-known news outlet would push this narrative is completely absurd. The journalist did not even stop to ask Tyler whether he was content with his life or not, he just assumes it by taking his words on stream and using them out of context to make it seem like that. The overarching theme in the comment section was that Tyler had “sold his soul” to twitch.tv for money and that he gets on his stream just to be ridiculed by his viewers.

Why would the Washington Post make him seem so miserable?

Well, I think it has a lot to do with our current political climate in the US. I have no evidence to back up this, so it is completely opinion. Who owns the Washington Post? Jeff Bezos. Who owns twitch.tv? Bezo. What is one of the key political issues today that many Americans are concerned with and pushing? Taxing the richest people in the country so that they pay their fair share. Though Tyler and Bezos’ incomes are incredibly different (millions a year vs. billions a year), both of these people earn more than 99.9% of Americans make in a year and they make more in a year than the bottom 50% of all people in America will make a lifetime. It is in Bezos’ best interest to make the top .1% look like they are miserable and that their job is their life because that takes the focus off taxing them and on to taking pity.

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