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遊戲實況的粉絲經濟及其矛盾

The Fan Economy of Game Live-Streaming and its Paradox

Advisor : 林鶴玲
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Abstracts


在台灣,Twitch遊戲實況逐漸成為一個社會大眾關注的議題,並且被視為是當前粉絲經濟的代表。然而,關於遊戲實況所蘊含的新社交生活、文化實踐和消費過程的本土研究仍相會稀少。具體而言,本論文旨在分析跨國資本的Twitch遊戲商業平台裡的粉絲經濟之形成過程,以及為什麼觀眾會發展出同時抗拒和接受資本主義的社群文化?觀眾又如何化解矛盾、或者與之共存? 粉絲經濟的運作實為一個動態的社會過程,為了更適切的呈現和分析遊戲實況之經濟活動運作過程,以及呼應晚近粉絲研究對於粉絲經濟的關注,本文將粉絲經濟區別為生產、需求和交易三個環節,分別回答以下研究問題。首先,我探究生產環節裡的生產者與其所處之生產空間,因為何種科技設計和系統安排並生產出何種商品?其次,在需求環節裡,我探究觀眾基於不同的觀賞樂趣和參與方式如何形塑遊戲實況運作的動態過程?最後,在交易過程裡,我分析觀眾的消費動機為何、並如何落實在具體的遊戲實況過程裡,並且闡釋實況主和觀眾他(她)們的詮釋和行動如何維繫了粉絲經濟並平衡粉絲經濟的內在矛盾?本文藉由參與觀察遊戲實況的運作過程,並且深度訪談27位遊戲實況粉絲(包含實況主和觀眾),從這些長期投入時間、情感和金錢的行動者角度,回答前述問題。 本文的主要研究發現為:(1)就其商品性質與運作模式而言,遊戲實況主要販售「觀賞遊戲」和「社交互動」兩項主要商品,並且由粉絲主導其經濟運作過程。傳統大型資本家或商業公司隱身幕後,取而代之的是作為「個人企業家」的實況主。實況主的個人企業家性質,體現於以提供商品和自身形象成為品牌的科技組裝過程,實況主本身也同時是品牌的經營者。(2)就其觀眾和粉絲的多樣需求而言,遊戲實況平台符合玩家群體特殊的情感結構與需求。於此一網路空間裡,粉絲得以實現自我、實踐夢想,並且解決個人的孤單寂寞。其中,粉絲沉浸和投入於遊戲實況的樂趣,以及電腦前的偷窺和猥褻,則是遊戲實況粉絲經濟運作的重要驅動力之一。(3)就其消費過程,由於粉絲經濟的核心在於互動、隨互動而來產生的社交生活與情感交流。可是,當社交或情感交流混雜著其他利益考量時,人們便經常懷疑其真實和真誠。再加上,遊戲實況裡唯一且有效的交換物則是金錢,並且金錢是建立關係最容易也最有效的手段,這因而導致了粉絲經濟的內在矛盾。(4)然而,前述情感與金錢或禮物與商品之間的矛盾並非無法化解。因為,金錢可以同時作為衡量商品的貨幣形式,也可以作為禮物形式。不同金錢形式與其多樣社會意義,讓行動者可以因個人能動性轉變將此處經濟活動為商品交易或禮物互惠的關係,例如實況主和觀眾採取禮物修辭或延長交換週期的策略,淡化商品買賣性質。 最後,本文在理論和經濟研究的貢獻分別在於,本文從粉絲之個人能動性如何主導該粉絲經濟的運作,展開與社會學和文化人類學關於禮物交換和商品經濟的對話。在經驗上,則從行動者的角度補充我們對於遊戲實況的理解,並且回應粉絲研究關於數位勞動和參與文化之間的理論辯論。

Parallel abstracts


In Taiwan, Twitch.tv game live-streaming has rapidly become public issue and is regarded as new type of fan economy. However, the related issues are not fully explored such as its new online social-life, cultural practice and consumption process. Specifically, the purpose of this study is to analyze the formation of the fan economy in the Twitch.tv, and explain why the audience develop community cultures that simultaneously resist and accept capitalism at the same time, and how the audience resolve such contradictions. Fan economy is a dynamic social process. In order to examine the fan economy more appropriately and echo the recent fans studies’ research agenda, the economy avtivity in Twitch.tv is divided into three different but deeply intersected parts:the production, the demand and the transaction. The study answers following questions by participating and observing the game livestreaming, and using in-depth interviews with 27 fans (including streamers and audience). First of all, I explore the technology designs and system arrangements of the online space where streamers generate video-content, and illustrate the characteristics of products. Secondly, in the demand sphere, I explore how the audience with diverse expectations shape the process of live-streaming. Finally, during the transaction, I analyze how the audience realize their purposes through consumption and explain how their interpretation and action maintain the fan economy and balance its paradox. The major findings are as follow: (1) In terms of the nature of its commodity and the mode of operation, the Twtich.tv platform mainly sells two major items, "spectatorship of game-playing" and "social interaction", and the fan leads its economy activity. In this case, traditional large capitalists or commercial companies are replaced by streamers, the " entrepreneur of the self". The nature of "the entrepreneur of the self" are embodied in the combination of products, self-image and producer through the assemblage of technology. (2) in terms of the diverse needs of its audience, the platform satisfies the computer gamer’s special emotional structure and needs. In this virtual space, the fans can actualize self, fulfill dreams, and solve the loneliness. Among them, fans immerse and engaging the game world as well as peeping and obscene behind the computer. That are important driving forces. (3) On its consumption process, the core of the fan economy is emotional connection and conversation. However, when social or emotional communication is mixed with other interests, people often doubt their true and sincere. Coupled with the fact that the only and effective exchangeable “thing” is money. On the one hand, money is the easiest and most effective means of building relationships. On the other hand, money leads to the inherent contradictions of the fan economy. (4) However, the aforementioned tension between money and affect or gift and commodity is not impossible to resolve, because money can be used as a measure of the monetary form of goods as well as a form of gifts at the same time. Different forms of money and its diverse social meaning, so that the actors can change the nature of the commodity trade and the reciprocal relationship of gifts, such as the fact that the streamers and the audience take the rhetoric of gifts or extend the exchange cycle strategy. Finally, the theoretical and empirical contribution of this paper is the analysis on how the individuality and agency of fans dominate the operation of the fan economy, responding to the issue of exchange of gifts and commodity economy within sociology and cultural anthropology. In terms of empirical contribution, the study adds and enriches our understanding of the game live streaming from the perspective of the actors and respond to the fans study’ long-term debate on digital labor and participatory culture.

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