I’m a stickler for politics staying out of my escapism, and one of my fears is that one day, politicians will discover the inherent power of the video game industry and begin to insert themselves into the gaming culture. While the gaming community has had no shortage of political battles — GamerGate being its most high-profile political occurrence — politicians have blessedly been content to overlook gaming.
Now that very well may change, and we all have democratic socialist and 2020 hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders to thank for it.
According to PC Gamer, Sanders has started an account on Twitch, a popular platform gamers use to live stream themselves playing games to the world. He’s apparently not going to be playing games, at least not yet, but he is going to use it spout his socialistic nonsense:
Instead, as Recode reports, the Sanders campaign plans on using Twitch alongside Facebook and YouTube to stream up-to-the-moment live videos in which Sanders and his staff discuss his presidential campaign and issues of the day. The channels will kick off tomorrow in the leadup to the first round of Democratic candidate debates, with commentary before and after the debates.
After that the campaign plans on producing regular live shows, said Josh Miller-Lewis, who runs the digital communications arm of Sanders’ campaign.
“We’re moving toward doing a lot more live content on Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook, tapping into an audience where there’s not a lot of political content already,” Miller-Lewis told Recode.
“Well, he’s not going to game on it so what’s the problem?” you ask.
The problem is that Sanders is opening a door that we won’t be able to close once he gets his foot in it. Let’s say he starts streaming on Twitch and realizes that the gaming community is a lot larger than he thought. He starts playing video games on there just to pander. Soon other politicians will take notice after Sanders brings in headlines and, possibly, an approval bump.
Soon, other politicians will start migrating to Twitch in order to take advantage of the blue whale that is the gaming community. and what was typically a pastime used to get away from politicians and the news becomes just another place for it. It’s one more place we can’t go to escape the noise.
And that’s not even considering what may happen if developers and publishers want to start trying to take advantage of the media attention by partnering with politicians. Perhaps they even start showing up at conventions and shows like E3 or RTX.
I always operated under the assumption that politicians finally looking at the gaming industry as a potential source of votes and not just a community to blame for atrocities was inevitable, but I was hoping I’d at least get a few more years in before it all went to the dogs.
Who knows? Maybe we’ll get lucky and the gaming community will reject the idea of politicians stepping into the gaming realm. If that happens I’ll know we’re not in the darkest timeline. Until then, this is just a sad day.