A look at the revolution in game live streaming and esports broadcasting from T.L. Taylor

Now available for purchase at Amazon or

directly from Princeton University Press.

Hard cover, paperback, or electronic format.

Creative Commons pdf also available

2019 book award from the American Sociological Association’s
Communication, Information Technologies, and Media Sociology section

Every day thousands of people broadcast their gaming live to audiences over the internet using popular sites such as Twitch, which reaches more than one hundred million viewers a month. In these new platforms for interactive entertainment, big esports events featuring digital game competitors live stream globally, and audiences can interact with broadcasters—and each other—through chat in real time. What are the ramifications of this exploding online industry? Taking readers inside home studios and backstage at large esports events, Watch Me Play investigates the rise of game live streaming and how it is poised to alter how we understand media and audiences.

Through extensive interviews and immersion in this gaming scene, T. L. Taylor delves into the inner workings of the live streaming platform Twitch. From branding to business practices, she shows the pleasures and work involved in this broadcasting activity, as well as the management and governance of game live streaming and its hosting communities. At a time when gaming is being reinvented through social media, the potential of an ever-growing audience is transforming user-generated content and alternative distribution methods. These changes will challenge the meaning of ownership and intellectual property and open the way to new forms of creativity.

The first book to explore the online phenomenon Twitch and live streaming games, Watch Me Play offers a vibrant look at the melding of private play and public entertainment.


“Based on years of immersion and research, Watch Me Play is a masterful book and covers an area that has not received much serious study before. Using rich and inventive methods, Taylor makes a compelling argument for thinking about games across media. I loved the writing and learned a great deal.”—Jonathan Sterne, author of MP3: The Meaning of a Format

“Interest in online streaming platforms, especially for games and Twitch, is at its height. This timely and urgently needed book successfully conveys the technical, legal, emotional, and social complexities of what people are doing in Twitch. Providing a nuanced and close-to-the-ground analysis, Watch Me Play will be the go-to work for learning about this gaming experience.”—Thomas M. Malaby, author of Making Virtual Worlds: Linden Lab and Second Life

“If you’ve ever wondered why anyone would watch someone else playing videogames, this book is for you. Deep, analytical, and comprehensive, Watch Me Play is the greatest written resource on the complex world of internet streaming.”—Paul Chaloner, managing director of Code Red Esports


“This is one of those rare and valuable books that offers an in-depth evaluation of a specific phenomenon, while also being relevant well beyond that one case.”—Hargittai and Miscione, International Journal of Communication

“[Taylor’s] work expertly builds a historical framework for Twitch and outlines how patterns of behavior have evolved on the platform without overcommitting to any last-word assessments of its influence [and] also demonstrates how invigorating academic scholarship can be when it tries to tackle a subject still in formation.”—Jacob Merten, The Velvet Light Trap

“[W]ell worth reading. . . [A] timely, wide-ranging introduction to, immersion in, and analysis of, Twitch and game live streaming.”—Helle Breth Klausen, MedieKultur

Watch Me Play shows that writing an accessible and engaging monograph without ever losing in analytical depth is possible… It will provide invaluable to students and researchers interested in video games and digital games, comparative media studies, organization ethnography and the digital social sciences.”—Samuel Poirier-Poulin, New Media & Society