Livestreaming Masterclass & Panel – Dec. 2016 –

Livestreaming of games and play is on the rise, with new forms of participation emerging across various broadcasting platforms. The ability for players to record, share, and distribute their own games and/or gameplay performances may not be anything new, however, the recent proliferation of live-streaming services (such as Twitch, Youtube Gaming and Douyu.tv) combined with higher bandwidths, widening access, and increased hardware performance has seen an exponential growth of consumer-created content within the gaming sector.

Scholars have acknowledged the impact participatory culture has had on games and the gaming industries (Banks and Potts, 2010). However, research explicitly addressing live-streaming practices has so far been limited. Masterclass participants will explore this burgeoning area through dialogic inquiries and hands-on practices throughout the event.

Given the increasing economic and cultural significance of consumer-created content (Banks and Potts, 2010; Hamilton, Garretson and Kerne, 2014), combined with normative practices of streaming game content (Taylor, 2012; Witkowski, 2012), this masterclass aims to provide a fertile ground upon which to discuss livestreaming as an object of study and its potential as a method of analysis. Throughout the masterclass, we will ask how livestreaming technologies fit into, alongside, and disrupt the everyday practices of game design, gameplay, livestreaming and broadcast, whilst also asking how we best research such complex activity.

By focusing on a live event (participating in a ‘lived’ experience), the masterclass presents a unique opportunity to explore potential benefits and challenges facing cross-, inter- and multi-disciplinary collaborative practice. Further, the three-day format encourages broader debate exploring the tensions between ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ forms of knowledge production, challenging the assumed immiscibility of theory and practice, as Kuutti and Bannon (2014) suggest.

The goals of the three-day event are as follows:

  • Question the ways that networked live-streaming technologies are designed and used asking how the various actors make sense of this platform/performance space.
  • Reflect on the design of the tools and infrastructures and ask how they enhance, extend, challenge, and disrupt creative participation.
  • Establish a new network with scholars/industry/practitioners working on current theoretical, technical, or empirical challenges within the area of livestreaming.
  • Engage with current practitioners through moderated panel discussions.
  • An experimental session with participants playing/practising livestreaming. The potential benefits of collaborative socio-technical experience of livestreaming together are explored, opening a pathway to contemplate other dialogues outside of presentation speaker/audience formats.

The workshop (6 December) invites participation from scholars currently investigating aspects of broadcasting games-related practices e.g. Let’s Plays, walkthroughs, performative game development, esports, game criticism, machinima, superplay etc. Whilst the workshop has a particular attention to livestreaming games, all researchers with broadcast are welcome and encouraged to attend the other two days’ events (7-8 December) as detailed below.

Throughout the three-days, the discursive activity of participants will be documented (pending participant consent) with an aim to capture the plurality of approaches, critical points, and influences involved in researching games-related livestreaming practices.


DAY 1: Livestreaming Masterclass with
Mia Consalvo (Concordia University, Canada)

When: Tuesday 6 December 2016, 9:30 – 16:30

Where: RMIT City Campus, Melbourne Australia

Organisers: Hosted by the RMIT Playable Media node – Emma Witkowski & James Manning.

How: Participants must demonstrate they are either practising livestreamers or are actively studying livestreaming or related phenomena. Early and preliminary work, novel concepts and approaches are encouraged.

Requirements: Short abstracts (600 words max.) sent to the organisers for acceptance by November 6, 2016.

emma [dot] witkowski [AT] rmit [dot] edu [dot] au

james [dot] manning [AT] rmit [dot] edu [dot] au

Workshop candidates are asked to include the following in their submission:

  • A short abstract on their current research within livestreaming games and play.
  • A brief bio (not more than 150 words to be published on the workshop homepage).
  • Send to organisers by November 6, 2016.


DAY 2: Livestreaming Panel Discussions

When: Wednesday 7 December 2016, TBC

Where: RMIT City Campus, Melbourne Australia

What:

  • Panel 1 – Performative development practices (moderated by James Manning)
  • Panel 2 – Professional play, esports and livestreaming (moderated by Emma Witkowski)
  • Panel 3 – Livestreaming at the margins (moderated by Mia Consalvo)

 

DAY 3: Livestreaming Practice

When: Thursday 8 December 2016, TBC

Where: RMIT City Campus, Melbourne Australia

What: Join us in playing games and livestreaming within our new TV Studios as part of the New Academic Street construction works.

 

References

Banks, J., and J. Potts. Co-creating games: A co-evolutionary analysis. New Media & Society 12, 2 (2010), 253–70.

Hamilton, W., Garretson, O., and Kerne, A. Streaming on Twitch: fostering participatory communities of play within live mixed media. In Proc. CHI 2014, ACM Press (2014), 1315-1324.

Kuutti, K. and Bannon, LJ. The turn to practice in HCI: towards a research agenda. In Proc. CHI 2014, ACM Press (2014), 3543–52.

Taylor T.L.  T.L. Taylor on Live Streaming, computer games, and the future of spectatorship, 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXw9DHQLrtU

Witkowski, E. Inside the huddle: the phenomenology and sociology of team play in networked computer games. (Doctoral dissertation). IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark, (2012).

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