Low-Tech Video Game Streams Are Taking Off On TikTok

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    Ana Diaz writes via Polygon: Jack Morrison logs on to stream, he doesn’t boot up Twitch, Streamlabs OBS, or speak into a fancy microphone. Instead, he grabs a basic circular mirror and sets it in front of his desktop monitor, facing the screen. Then he sits in front of his monitor, as usual, and plays the game, propping up his cell phone to face him and setting his camera live. When he boots up Apex Legends, viewers see the gameplay reflected in the mirror as they watch him play. This makeshift setup might have been surprising just a year ago, in an industry that seems to be more and more concerned with having the latest streaming technology. But it’s become a rather common practice on TikTok, where video game streaming has picked up in the past few months. In September, the company said that one billion people in total use the app each month, and jokes and sounds riffing on video games have long proliferated widely across TikTok. Now, Morrison (JackMorrisonTV on TikTok) and other streamers with similarly crude setups have taken over the app’s “LIVE” section, capturing as many as 2,400 viewers at a time. These streamers are using low-key setups, in comparison to the complex (and expensive) setups that dominate Twitch, where a DSLR camera and the capture card to use it can cost over $800. The exact build of each TikToker’s setup varies, but nearly all of them capture video via an external camera that’s focused on a screen, or in Morrison’s case, a reflection of a screen. A brief scroll through the gaming section of TikTok’s live content shows these streamers’ ingenuity; some will stream videos of tablets or phones as they play mobile games, while others will just put the camera in front of a screen. The games also vary widely, with people playing games like Snake, Minecraft, and Wordscapes in addition to shooters like Valorant. The number of live streams is much smaller than the wave of short-form videos being pushed out every single day on the app, making them stand out more. It also feels like a more accessible platform, especially for people who are just getting started with streaming. TikTok streamers are using more basic technology, such as mirrors, cell phone stands, and the like. It’s also less competitive than Twitch, which has over seven million unique streamers go live each month. […] TikTok is also testing monetization features that might make it more appealing for streamers to use. […] For now, streams seem like a quick and easy way to take advantage of TikTok’s massive audience. Whether or not bona fide TikTok streaming stars will emerge on the platform or find a sustainable home there remains to be seen. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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