President Trump has his airplane hangar rallies, Joe Biden his socially distant, drive-in events. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 31-year-old representative from New York, has her … alien spaceship.
She climbed aboard that craft tonight to play Among Us, a surprise hit multi-player video game that has become popular among Twitch celebrities over the past few months. (Players race around the cartoonish ship, completing tasks and trying not to be killed.) Almost 700,000 tuned in on Twitch to watch her play with several streamers and fellow Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. At the broadcast’s peak, some 440,000 people went to the Twitch stream set up by AOC, while another 200,000 or so followed seperate broadcasts by gaming stars Pokimane, Jacksepticeye, HasanAbi and Moistcr1tikal.
The evening had a purpose beyond the game. Prior to beginning Among Us, AOC urged those watching her Twitch stream to vote in the upcoming presidential election. “We are here to vote blue,” she says. “We have the ability to vote Trump out of office, to vote for a Biden-Kamala ticket. Let’s make sure we change this country.” She took a minute then to examine the game’s user interface, sliding her cursor over to the sound controls, increasing the volume. “Look at how spooky this music is,” she says, laughing. “Sorry, I’m just kind of getting this together.”
AOC’s Twitch stream is a striking new use of a broadcast platform that nearly 40 million people in the U.S. watch every month. Its popularity, however, has largely been restricted to those interested in games, and it is certainly not the place elected officials usually go to convey an important political message. But for perspective on AOC’s draw, consider the number of people who showed up to watch Tyler “Ninja” Blevins’ triumphant return to Twitch after his defection to a competing streaming service: Blevins, the most popular pro gamer, attracted about a fifth of the crowd during that event in August.
The idea for AOC’s virtual campaign rally come together in about a day. The congresswoman tweeted to her 9.1 million Twitter followers that she wanted to play Among Us and asking who’d want to take part. In May, she did something similar and played Animal Crossing: New Horizons with several people she met off Twitter, another stunt seen as remarkbly forward thinking since that game has also been hit among young people, a demographic that politicians often struggle to connect with. Biden has his own presence on the game, too, a campaign-branded location within Animal Crossing that players can visit and talk to a digital avatar version of the Democratic nominee.
After her initital tweet yesterday, AOC spent several hours trying to acquire the equipment needed for her Twitch broadcast—including webcams—and made a futile trip to a Best Buy BBY where much of it was sold out. Twitch’s corporate HQ spotted her tweet and reached out with technical support.
AOC began playing the game around 9 p.m. on Tuesday. Several rounds of Among Us and 90 minutes later, she was still bent over her keyboard, keenly zooming her pink-spacesuited character around the board. Attendance had dropped off, slightly, to only 366,000 people following her livestream.
Source: Forbes – Business