One of the first marketing points of the Playstation 4 was its ability to broadcast your play so that your friends, or anyone else, could watch via Twitch. Steam launched its own broadcasting capabilities in beta form on the 3rd December, and Twitch.tv has been hugely popular since its launch in 2011.
How important is it to you that your games have a social element? Swathes of us already broadcast the minutiae of our lives through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and the like, so why not our gaming? Especially if we can make a more impressive show of gaming that we can of, say, eating an egg for breakfast (seriously Instagram - why?). The behemoth of social networking rolls on regardless.
But don’t social elements detract from the gameplay experience? Don’t they constantly stop us getting engrossed with the action by not allowing us to suspend our disbelief? Or - does that not matter? After all, it’s not like we ever really believe that what we’re playing is more than a game? Typing that last sentence though was, honestly, hard. I felt a deep sadness rising within me. Of course I know that games aren’t real, but what’s the harm in letting ourselves get invested in these exorbitant and fantastical worlds?
On a different tack, there’s the question of whether or not games are supposed to be inherently social - which is the subject of another of these Up For Debate segments, and I’d love to hear what you think about it. If games are intrinsically social, are easy ways to share our games with other people (even when there aren’t other people available) the next natural - and important - step to keep games facilitating our social lives and not the other way around?
Or is it just damn annoying having to have that ‘do you want to share?’ button or prompt dancing around in the corner when you’re trying to concentrate, or being expected to care when your friend has managed to headbutt some more stairs in the latest freerunner?
Why not give us your two cents?