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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Over 2,000 people watched someone read a book in Twitch’s ‘Silent Reading’ category

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Over 2,400 people watched someone read a book on Twitch. This hour-long, page-turning stream came thanks to one of Twitch’s new April Fools categories: Silent Reading.

Outside of alert notifications, Twitch’s Mary Kish read Lovesickness, a collection of Junji Ito stories, and said nothing for an hour. The chat was in emote-only mode and scrolled by like any other popular stream, except they had nothing to react to but a woman quietly reading a book and themselves.

Twitch introduced four other joke categories today: Pizza Time, Character Creation, Chores, Odd Jobs, Errands, and Literally Just Chatting. Outside of Twitch’s own stream, Literally Just Chatting seems to be the most popular joke category, but many of the streamers in it are treating it like normal Just Chatting streams where they talk with viewers. The joke they’re missing is that Literally Just Chatting should be purely the chat talking amongst themselves with no comment from the streamer, like turning Twitch into an IRC chat room.

Girl_dm, who usually streams with a Vtuber avatar while she plays games, ran a Literally Just Chatting stream where she didn’t say a word, but was clearly there to put on a show. She had the most watched stream in the section—before returning to her regularly scheduled Elden Ring playthrough—that actually committed to the bit. It was like a 24/7 subathon stream when the streamer is asleep and chat has full control of what happens on the screen. Her stream flipped from a ‘be right back’ screen with nothing but her own chat displayed on screen, to a collage of fan art with Never Gonna Give You Up playing in the background. She even did a typing speed test where only the click clack of her keyboard came through.

In the Pizza Time category, PizzaPrincessG is making pies at her restaurant in New York. Chores, Odd Jobs, and Errands only has a few streams at the time of this writing, and people are definitely not doing chores, unless playing New World counts. And sadly, Character Creation only has one streamer making several characters, like Tifa, in Code Vein. If there was any category that I think could last, it’s Character Creation. The category’s logo is a reference to the tremendously popular Monster Factory video series. How is this a flop?

Twitch didn’t make it very clear that these categories were real in its announcement tweets, so maybe more people will hop in as April Fools’ Day continues. Right now, it’s a lot of opportunistic streamers looking for easy views without actually doing a stream that fits the category. A fun joke becoming the same old battlefield for views is classic Twitch, but here’s hoping we see more commitment to these gags as the day goes on.

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