Twitch.tv and video game addiction

Image from Think Tank Learning

Throughout the research for this project, I’ve been constantly running Twitch streams in the background while I attempt to get some work done. I tend to usually watch League of Legends, Hearthstone, Overwatch, or Destiny streams because those are the main games that peak my interests. But I couldn’t help but feel this urge to just stop whatever I was doing and play one of the above listed games.

I don’t know if it was because I was looking for an excuse to procrastinate or if I just needed a break, but I often found myself indulging in these urges and would then spend multiple hours playing video games and watching Twitch instead of doing homework or anything productive. It then began to dawn on me that I was becoming (if not already) addicted to video games. I have multiple research projects that surround the video game community, I watch people play video games every day, and I spend hours at a time playing video games myself.

Neil Robertson has recently come out about his video game addiction and the damage it placed on his Snooking career.

This realization made me question the connection between Twitch.tv and video game addiction (if there is one). I wasn’t sure if all the research and time spent on Twitch made me want to play video games or if I just wanted to play them because I was already addicted. I could tell that the quality of my school work was already beginning to suffer as I was missing assignments knowing myself, that the assignments that I was turning in were not done to their fullest potential. Recently, a Snooker player has come out to the public about how video game addiction has negatively affected his career. According to the dictionary, Snooker is “ a variety of pool played with 15 red balls and 6 balls of colors otherthan red, in which a player must shoot one of the red balls, each with apoint value of 1, into a pocket before shooting at one of the other balls,with point values of from 2 to 7.” Neil Robertson plays various video games like World of Warcraft, League of Legends, and FIFA 14.

In his interview with Eurosport, Robertson comments on how he viewed video games as more important than his career. Robertson states, “ I was part of a raid team, and we played a few nights a week. When we got out to China for a tournament, I was trying to make the raid slot. When I got out there, the connection was so bad that I couldn’t get access. I was furious for four or five days. All I was thinking about was getting back home for a connection from China. I lost my spot on the team, and all of a sudden that became more important than the snooker which is absolutely crazy.”

Image from The Telegraph

I’ve started to experience the early signs of video game addiction but I have many questions about how Twitch.tv helps facilitate or enables video game addiction. In the meantime, I have take measures to create a division between work and play (which can be hard to differentiate in the subject of video games).