There was a time not so very long ago when Amazon’s streaming service, Twitch, was the sole reserve of online gamers, with viewers tuning in to watch their favorite players compete in everything from DOTA to Fortnite to PUBG Mobile. However, over the course of 2019 and 2020 a new breed of streamers has arisen, one who no longer relies solely on playing games to build a following. These streams make up what is known as the “Just Chatting” element of the platform, one that rose to prominence in 2019 as the new number 1 streaming category.
The category’s success is perhaps due to how broad its scope is, with everyone from reality show hosts to scam busters occupying the space.
So, who are the main players, will it eventually splinter into different factions and will its streamers soon become the mainstream when it comes to content creation?
How Just Chatting Streams differs from Gaming Streams to draw the crowds?
Just Chatting originally grew out of what Twitch once called its IRL (in real life) sub-section of the platform and has since ballooned, perhaps with its versatility being one of its strongest assets.
One of the first superstars of the genre to really break out was Ice Poseidon, real name Paul Denino, who got a reputation for pulling off outrageous and controversial stunts all the while combining them with his Ice Poseidon alter ego, who is something of a degenerate waster with a questionable sense of humor. Despite this, his fans just lap up his every word, whether he’s organizing a boxing match in his girlfriend’s backyard or getting evicted from his flat; a common occurrence for the streamer.
Another avenue that Just Chatting streamers explore is that of pranking people, with one streamer called Kitboga putting a twist on the idea by only pranking scam artists. He allows his viewers to choose from a range of personas he has created for himself, with the chosen one going to battle with folk who are trying to scam real life grandmas and other frail individuals out of their hard earned money. It is a largely pointless affair, but it is nevertheless strangely entertaining to watch.
How did the first Just Chatting Streamers emerge on the scene?
As with everything on Twitch, there is a link to gaming. Many Just Chatting streamers began life playing games online and as their audience grew, they segued into a more sociable and interactive realm.
This seems to be a growing trend, with gamers as diverse as those competing in online poker to those fragging folk on Call of Duty building an emotional connection and kinship with their viewership, to the point that the game is almost beside the point and both sides just want to hang out, without the game getting in the way.
What is the future of Just Chatting Streams?
With many Just Chatting streamers taking home five-figure monthly salaries, many of them are making more than performers and content producers on regular cable television platforms, so there is no doubt about the viability of their product.
Now it is all about whether such streamers can break into the mainstream, to provide content for demographics outside of those younger people who are likely to be logging in on a daily basis.
However, both technological advances and streaming habits are beginning to point towards this being a possibility. Many streams are now taking on the form of traditional television talk shows and many also adopt the guise of a morning show or that of an agony aunt, meaning whoever you are you can begin to relate to the personalities you see on-screen.
The type of screens such streams are being viewed through is also important, as many people these days tend to view streams through their television rather than their phone or laptop, meaning it may not be long before your parents and grandparents begin watching a Twitch streamer without even knowing the difference from their regular stock choice of channels.