The CCG Thread – Life Could Be A Stream

Welcome to the *CG thread, where we talk all manner of Card Games – Collectible, Trading, Living, and otherwise! Feel free to chat amongst yourselves about the card games you’re playing or anything card game-related that strikes your fancy.

People have been watching CCGs on video since the days of the Magic World Championships on ESPN2

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Now Available on VHS!

Nowadays, streamers tend to use Twitch, though. The rise of streaming is a big part of the rise of digital card games – while Magic and other physical games have always at least edged into the digital space, Hearthstone, Eternal, and last week’s upcoming Artifact were Born In It, Molded By It. And that let them gain fans and players and build interest and get in front of people that physical-only games could only dream of.

Wizards of the Coast has noted this – they’ve seen a huge bump in Dungeons and Dragons over the last year, which they attribute in part to the many streams and podcasts showcasing play sessions – and this no-doubt is a factor in their emphasis that their upcoming Magic Arena will be “stream-friendly” in a way that Magic Online never has been. Magic almost certainly has been feeling the pressure from Hearthstone’s popularity, and hitting them right where they are strongest (and Magic has historically been weakest) is probably a coup, if successful.

And Hearthstone certainly is strong there – there are Hearthstone streamers going all the time on Twitch, and one of Magic’s biggest faces (and a Hall of Fame member) Brian Kibler has mostly left Magic for Hearthstone, with popular streams and YouTube highlights.

Not to say that digital streams are the only ones – one of my preferred stream groups, LoadingReadyRun, regularly holds live events, making use of some actually very impressive image recognition tech (and a live dedicated tech-operator on each stream) to make the game overlay informational and seamless. They even partner up with Wizards of the Coast to hold special-event streams for every set that comes out.

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In a way, streams can be an equalizer – while a person might not feel comfortable going in to a game store or to a public place to watch people play CCGs, watching online in the privacy of their own home is more comfortable and less, well….. harrass-y. Indeed, the aforementioned rise in D&D’s popularity has seen a higher proportion of female players than ever before, again attributed to streaming.

Streaming does have a dark side though – while it can be more friendly to female and minority players, viewers are still a pretty heavily biased demographic, and it’s unreasonably common for the chat to become…… hostile at best, when a female face appears on the screen. Moderators help here, and the tools that stream sites like Twitch provide, but people are…. horrible. Especially from behind a username on the other side of a monitor.

Talk amongst yourselves! This week’s prompt: Do you watch any CCG streams? What or who do you like? Do you usually watch live, or go back later for VODs?

Or, as always, feel free to talk about anything going on with you in the world of CCGs.