‘Productive Play: An Oxymoron? A study on professionalized live-streaming on Twitch.tv in the case of StarCraft II’
Alongside with the emergence of the Web 2.0 environment consumers of digital media have been introduced to online live-streaming platforms that enable consumers to produce their own media content. Thus, live-streaming platforms have taken part in reshaping the traditional ‘top-down’ corporate-driven model of media production towards a more consumer-oriented, on-demand production model. In this sense, especially the live-streaming platform Twitch.tv promotes consumer-driven media production to the extent that some game live-streamers can even make a living by producing their own media content. When this phenomenon is explored from the perspective of how playing games is often seen as a waste of time and energy, the question arises if professionalized live-streaming has also shaped the nature of playing games. Thus, in this study it has been questioned why and how live-streaming StarCraft II (Blizzard Entertainment, 2010) on Twitch.tv has been turned into a professional activity. By exploring how the activity of live-streaming has been professionalized within this context, this study establishes an understanding of how players of StarCraft II have not only become professional producers of digital media, but how in the process the boundaries work and play have also been blurred.