Event Title

XCOM MKE: Drafting Your Friends to Fight Aliens.

Mentor 1

Stuart Moulthrop

Location

Union Wisconsin Room

Start Date

24-4-2015 2:30 PM

End Date

24-4-2015 3:45 PM

Description

The idea behind this study is to consider how audiences interact with a novel media. The specific media involved are XCOM: Enemy Within, a video game that allows individual avatars to have custom names, and Twitch.tv, a game streaming service that allows any given user to broadcast themselves playing a video game on the internet. Readers should have some background knowledge of both the game and audience end of the streaming system. The methods for this study started by recruiting people to submit names to represent them in the broadcast. The final group of participants includes both gamers and non-gamers. Then after beginning the game with a roster of game characters corresponding to the submitted names, I informed the currently “playing” participants that they are on screen. These participants, as well as any other person that wanted to watch, would then watch and comment on my performance with their avatar. The performance included live game footage as well as my personal commentary including occasional primers on the games mechanics for the non-gamer participants. The methods create a hybrid experience of observation and play that is difficult to replicate in other systems. My preliminary results show that when observing their avatar, participants were significantly more invested in the broadcast. Several times, there were comments regarding the fate of their avatar or requests to be used in the next mission. The expectation is that as the avatar representing a person gains experience and is used frequently, that person will become more invested in the performance. This leads me to believe that the participatory experience of the Twitch streaming service is a more investing experience for audiences. The unique ability to interact directly with the content maker and also have a presence in the content makes for a more enjoyable audience experience.

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Apr 24th, 2:30 PM Apr 24th, 3:45 PM

XCOM MKE: Drafting Your Friends to Fight Aliens.

Union Wisconsin Room

The idea behind this study is to consider how audiences interact with a novel media. The specific media involved are XCOM: Enemy Within, a video game that allows individual avatars to have custom names, and Twitch.tv, a game streaming service that allows any given user to broadcast themselves playing a video game on the internet. Readers should have some background knowledge of both the game and audience end of the streaming system. The methods for this study started by recruiting people to submit names to represent them in the broadcast. The final group of participants includes both gamers and non-gamers. Then after beginning the game with a roster of game characters corresponding to the submitted names, I informed the currently “playing” participants that they are on screen. These participants, as well as any other person that wanted to watch, would then watch and comment on my performance with their avatar. The performance included live game footage as well as my personal commentary including occasional primers on the games mechanics for the non-gamer participants. The methods create a hybrid experience of observation and play that is difficult to replicate in other systems. My preliminary results show that when observing their avatar, participants were significantly more invested in the broadcast. Several times, there were comments regarding the fate of their avatar or requests to be used in the next mission. The expectation is that as the avatar representing a person gains experience and is used frequently, that person will become more invested in the performance. This leads me to believe that the participatory experience of the Twitch streaming service is a more investing experience for audiences. The unique ability to interact directly with the content maker and also have a presence in the content makes for a more enjoyable audience experience.