Abandoning Twitch, an ethnographic vignette of Mr. Fruit
So one day my friend David and I are playing one of our favorite games (Destiny) when David says to me “ hey have you ever heard of Mr. Fruit?” It was strange, I have spent countless hours on Twitch watching hundreds of games being streamed by what seemed an infinite amount of streamers, but I had never heard of Mr. Fruit before. David explains to me how every day at work he spends hours watching videos of Destiny and other games on YouTube from Mr. Fruit. Now I’m not going to lie, when it comes to video games and Twitch streamers I can get a little pretentious and stuck up. So naturally because I had never heard of Mr. Fruit before I just ignored David’s recommendation to watch some of his videos. Well one day I had become a little bored of Twitch and decided to check out Mr. Fruit’s gaming channel on YouTube as a last resort to distract myself from whatever I was supposed to be doing. Since that day I check YouTube almost every day to see if Mr. Fruit and his friends have posted a new video on YouTube and follow them almost religiously. Today Mr. Fruit’s gaming channel has over 900,000 subscribers on YouTube. But what has interested me the most was that although Mr. Fruit started as a YouTube gamer, he was also a Twitch streamer that found live streaming less successful than his YouTube channel. Eventually he stopped streaming (or at least rarely ever live streams) and his videos gained a large amount of popularity since his departure from Twitch.
Mr. Fruit’s growth has exponentially grown within the last two years. As you can see in the above picture, he celebrated his 50,000 subscribers mark on March 7th, 2015. On February 22nd, Mr. Fruit uploaded a video marking his 900,000 subscriber. Clearly Twitch streaming isn’t the only way to make a living out of video games and Mr. Fruit is living proof of that. Of course Pewdiepie is another example of a gamer who exclusively plays on YouTube and is the most successful gamer on YouTube. Mr. Fruit’s blend of comedy and gaming is one of the reasons for his recent success. His channel contains content from many of the mainstream games but he also plays these games in an unorthodox way through the customization of game settings.
Now there are a couple of things to consider when examining someone like Mr. Fruit. First, one has to consider whether Twitch is the most optimal way to make a living from playing video games or is YouTube much more effective at accomplishing that goal. Well this decision will be subjective to each person that faces this dilemma. Next, one has to consider the advantages and disadvantages of using YouTube over Twitch. Posting videos on YouTube gives the viewer the advantage of pausing the video, or watching whenever is convenient to them versus Twitch where majority of the content is live. It also gives the gamer an advantage to have the opportunity to reach a larger audience since YouTube is more well known than Twitch. But YouTube can arguably settle the user in a larger sea of videos leaving the user with the same dilemma as Twitch of how to distinguish themselves to be unique from others. Posting on YouTube can also change the intention of content for the user. YouTube gaming videos often include guides or tutorials that attract many views. This could get the user more views but differ from the content that the user really wants to post.
Many Twitch streamers also have YouTube channels to post videos of their stream in case viewers miss the stream and want to catch up on the days gameplay. What makes Mr. Fruit unique is that he chose to forgo streaming and only focus on his YouTube channel and has gained a large amount of subscribers in a small amount of time. Mr. Fruit proves that there are other ways to achieve success through gaming and is paving the way for other gamers.