Not Content to Just Be a Gamer: A Motivation Analysis of Gaming Content Creators on YouTube and Twitch
Young, Andrew James
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YouTube and Twitch have become the homes for watching others play video games. Previous studies show that consumers of content on these new media channels harbor similar motivations to television viewers (Rubin 1981; Sjoblom and Hamari 2017). But what motivates players, a new class of media producers, to perform for an online public? This study analyzes content creators’ motivations through an innovative dual approach. We conducted interviews with small-audience gamer-creators (N=11) guided by both the uses and gratifications approach and by self-determination theory. The study found that producing content primarily gratified a gamer-creator’s social and personal integrative needs, as well as their affective needs. The study also found that creating content on YouTube and Twitch provided the gamer-creator with an environment conducive to intrinsic motivation through the satisfaction of their autonomy, competence, and relatedness needs. Although research on content creators is in its infancy, the dual approach that the study develops may provide a useful basis for future studies on gamer-creators as well as content creators in other spheres.