I turned on the NorCal Regionals stream, a tournament a love to watch when it’s on, and I see this ad staring me in the face:
Are you guys serious? The main demographic of streamers is about 13-17. So, to see our community leaders pushing smoking onto these kids is just plain stupid. Now, I know a lot of you are saying “BUT BUT, DIEM! THERE ARE VERSIONS WITHOUT NICOTINE IN THEM. THAT IS WHAT WE’RE SELLING.”
No, you’re selling smoking. Whether or not you think so, you’re not selling a version of the product. You’re selling the ability to stand in the cool kid’s circle and puff on some stupid shit. You’re selling the same invite to the same party that Joe Camel sold in the 1960s. Safe(er) alternative or not, what you’re selling is an addiction. To children. And that, to me, is absolutely disgusting.
When I’m at a tournament, or PAX, it’s instantly a selling point. You see these big, ugly, flashy cigar-esque monstrosities, and the air of superiority surrounding them. The issue here, is they shouldn’t be a trophy. This is the step down from smoking cigarettes. It’s a slow, nigh-on pointless antidote to the plague that smoking has created in our society. So, when we see these stupid things, we shouldn’t view them as badges of honor. They should be shown as a sign that someone was weak and fell victim to advertising and idiotic kids on their block, and now are taking steps to become healthier. (And admittedly, more attractive.)
But, here on the FGC streams, we’re telling kids “HEY JACKASS AT HOME WHO WISHES HE WAS AT THIS EVEN 1850 MILES AWAY. SUPPORT YOUR FGC HEROES BY SPENDING WHAT LITTLE MONEY YOU HAVE, AND SMOKING THINGS.”
Now, it should be noted that I’m biased. I won’t even take advil, for the most part. I don’t condone drinking, smoking, etc. But, I can see the appeal. Weed, alcohol… I get it. From my understanding, it’s fun. Not for me, but like I said: I get it.
Smoking this shit they’re pushing offers no high, no escape. And there isn’t a step down, only steps up. You can start by saying “We’re only advertising the non-nicotine branded ones.” Until the kids actually start using it. Until the kids order things that aren’t just juice. Until they start ordering the nicotine, because it’s as easy as not.
The issue here, is that we’re not pushing a positive message. Streaming is the future, and a lot of kids don’t even watch TV anymore. It’s just streams. We control the media at this point, and we’re not using it to our advantage. Instead, we’re doing what our fathers, and their fathers did. Sell out so that companies who sell a shitty, addictive, dangerous product so that we can make a quick buck.
The worst part, is that there are so many easier ways to get this done. More interaction with chat. Better commentary, and better player histories to keep viewers interested. This would increase viewer retention, and the money you could make from that would off set having to sell things like this to kids.
And I’m gonna keep harping that. Because people at tourneys know that generally, these events are 18+. The viewers at home ARE NOT. They’re children who look up to the streaming community like how we in our childhood looked at Jordan. It’s getting to that point to the general public, and for some kids, it’s even beyond that.
Some streamers use this stuff on stream, or drink on stream to the point of insane intoxication. I don’t support that kind of behavior either. It’s the same thing. I want to yell the word cunt every five seconds and smash my keyboard every time I die. But, I know my viewers expect more from me, and I expect more from them. I don’t want to help breed a bunch of raging maniacs, the same way I don’t want people breeding another generation of alcohol dependent smokers.
We could be pushing Tropicana and Dole fucking Bananas. But, instead we pretend that we care about health by pushing smoking out. Is that all the FGC has to offer? Fight sticks, inside joke tshirts and smoking? We have Marvel characters, all of Capcom, Smash Bros, King of Fighters… All sporting some of the most recognizable characters in video game history. And we STILL have te resort to this shit?
If that’s the case, either the streams aren’t good enough, or the product we is as shit as the products we advertise. I refuse to believe my years in fighting games are a waste. We can do better.
To the people who use “vapes” now after having quit smoking: Power to you! I think the steps you’re taking are admirable, and I’m sure it isn’t easy. But since making that switch, think about if you’d want the people who look up to you, whether it’s your younger brother, or the thousands home, to have gone through the money-wasting, cough inducing trials of adolescence that you have.
Sorry about the rant. Shit, I haven’t used this blog in two years… But this needed to be said.
Like I said: We can do better. We owe it to the people who watch these streams day after day.