“Don’t Play Videogames” presented by Manning


Session Title:

  • Games: Playing Live(?) - Livestreaming in theory and practice: Four provocations on labour, liveness and participatory culture in games livestreaming

Presentation Title:

  • Don’t Play Videogames




  • This paper will argue that participating in livestreaming is an efficient means to negotiate the (constitutive) inefficiencies present in videogames. Often it is purported that a central pleasure associated with videogames is the nontrivial effort required to play them, the actions required to transverse the ‘text’ as a subset of ergodic literature. Livestreaming problematises the idea that controller-in-hand play is a necessary part of videogame consumption. Whilst videogames are built to be configured through play, live streaming provides opportunity for (non)players to participate in playing video games without having to negotiate firsthand the affordances of the game-system. As such, live streaming reaffirms the observation put forward by Stuart Moulthrop, that participating in videogame play extends beyond the confines of the human-computer interface. Playing videogames is often arduous and repetitive work. As such, the practices of regulating gameplay through deferral to other players’ expertise is nothing new, nor one begotten by the recent proliferation of consumer-level broadcasting technologies. This paper will situate livestreaming as a continuation of such practices, suggesting that one of the virtues of livestreaming is that it provides an opportunity for participants to invest in the various configurativepractices of gameplay without necessary ‘playing’ themselves.

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