Eating food while playing video games


Somehow, the mundanity of existence has become a live-streaming phenomenon, with tens of thousands of viewers tuning in to observe people sleep, talk, work, and game.

And now there’s social eating.

Social eating is as simple as it sounds – people tune in to observe others eat. But it’s not a continuation of a gourmet cooking show: The dishes are usually simple, sometimes a touch gross. The appeal lies more within voyeurism and camaraderie – the celebrities often offer a continuing stream of thoughts and commentary while dining.

Social eating hails from an Asian country where it’s termed “Mukbang,” or literally “eating” and “broadcast.” Some theorize that social eating can be particularly appealing to South Korean women, many of whom follow strict diets. These social eating live streams are the way to enjoy fatty meals vicariously.

In South Korea, eaters broadcast on AfreecaTV, just like YouTube. The platform has about 5,000 channels, and about 5% of these pertain to social eating. These social eaters can earn the maximum amount of $9,000 a month. (At least one parody account mocking the social eaters of the Republic of Korea has emerged.)

Here within the states, social eating is becoming popular too, thanks, in large part, to Twitch. While CEO Emmett Shear admitted he doesn’t really get what social eating is all about, the live streaming video platform added a social eating channel in July.

With the idea that gamers would watch other games too at one point, of course, people were skeptical. While most of the streamers were gamers watching gamers last year, 1.7 million of them streamed 241,441,823,059 minutes of content on Twitch.

“‘People watch others play games on the internet? Who wants to try and do that?’, I said as I remember starting Twitch, and me being really, really inquisitive about watching gaming and plenty of individuals, ” Shear told Bloomberg.


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On other platforms like YouNow, users stream their daily lives moreover – sleeping, working, and eating is popular themes. Through ads and subscriptions on these platforms, broadcasters of all sorts can earn money.

Social eating is a component of Twitch’s push to diversify content after Amazon acquired the corporate for $1 billion two years ago. The company’s efforts include Twitch Creative, a category dedicated to artists and also the creative process. Happening in real-time, Twitch users can watch sewing, painting, and cooking.

Social eating was demanded by Twitch users, per the corporate.

“The Twitch community is nothing, if not unique, and that we support their passion and interests,” said Raiford Cockfield, a director at Twitch, in an exceeding announcement announcing the launch of the new social eating channel.

Browsing the social eating channel, though, turns up lots of packaged food and takeout. Many users seem to be taking a fast break from gaming to wolf some grub. Although some discuss relationships and other issues while chowing down, they’re often in gaming chairs.

Broadcasters vomiting on air is what a Motherboard investigation by Leif Johnson found.

Soon after launching the channel, Twitch posted samples of what can not be broadcasted on Social Eating.

So if you want to grow your Twitch stream, take this article in mind.