Recently the game streaming service Twitch was rumored to be in deals with Google for a one billion dollar acquisition. The internet lit up, with responses ranging from outrage that Twitch could sell out and skepticism that a billion wasn’t enough. There is no denying that Twitch has become a giant over a very short period of time. It attracts the fourth highest peak traffic on the internet, after giants Netflix, Google, and Apple, above Hulu, Amazon, and Facebook. With integration into Playstation and Xbox consoles, it’s easier than ever to stream. There is no doubt that Twitch is a major contender, a force to be reckoned with, an entity to be watched – a big, big deal.
There have been articles written about some of Twitch’s top TV personalities, ranging from variety games Twitch host to a father-son duo who streams together. Attention is also focused on top League of Legends and Dota streamers, where a good chunk of Twitch’s viewership comes from. E-sports, with the rise of EVO and LoL and DOTA tournaments across the world have catapulted these streamers into micro celebrities.
Where, though, are the women? There certainly are women, streaming all kinds of games at all hours of the day. I want to read the stories of women streamers, to know why they stream, how they got started, and the technical aspects of streaming too. In addition, women face unique harassment challenges, in forms of threatening emails, hateful words, and toxic chat environments. Women facing harassment in public spaces is sadly not a new phenomenon and I want to know how women deal with this in such a brand new form of media.
I contacted Jasmine Hruschak, 28, known online as irlJasmine. Jasmine was a longtime streamer for Massively.com and now streams weekly on her Twitch channel, mostly MMO’s such as Archeage and Final Fantasy 14. I interviewed Jasmine about both streaming in general and what it’s like to be a woman who streams.
KC: First of all, a little background. How did you get into video games? Do you have a
favorite type or a favorite genre?
JH: When I was a little girl I used to play these Tiger handheld devices themed after Disney movies. I carried them absolutely everywhere, and eventually progressed to a Game Boy, and then finally my very own PlayStation.
Ah, the good old days.
I always heavily preferred games with social aspects which, back then, meant mostly fighting and racing games. Sometimes friends would come over and we would play through Crash Bandicoot together, trading the controller back and forth when one of us died, but when I was alone I was usually practicing Tekken so I could take on people at the local arcade.
With the advent of online games, and my favorite genre, MMORPGs, I get all of my social gaming desires met without having to leave the house.