Last week, two house representatives, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman to ever serve in Congress, and Ilhan Omar, the first woman of color to represent Minnesota, made headlines when they joined two of Twitch’s top steamers, pokimane and HasanAbi, to play the popular game “Among Us” on Twitch in a multi-hour event to encourage young people to vote.
The event saw 435,000 concurrent viewers, nearly grasping the current record for a Twitch stream (628,000 concurrent viewers), according to Twitch. “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is someone you can stream with,” read GQ Magazine, while The Guardian said: “AOC played Among Us and achieved what most politicians fail at: acting normal.”
What the event showed is that, in 2020, video games are the new political rallies. This election cycle, video games and gaming streaming sites have become the go-to places to reach people, especially young adults. Joe Biden’s campaign has utilized Nintendo’s popular “Animal Crossing” to sell digital yard signs and branded outfits, and partnered with gaming news program KindaFunnyGames to give a tour of the candidate’s themed island in the game.
As election day nears, gamers are the focus of several last ditch efforts to get young people, a demographic known for skipping out on voting, to the polls (or their mailboxes) this year.
This past weekend, in recognition of the inaugural “Vote Early Day” on Oct. 24, MTV partnered with gaming organizations for the first time on a multi-hour streaming competition called “Fall-o-Ween” as part of its “Vote For Your Life” campaign. The event was a partnership with the Video Game Entertainment News Network (VENN) and Gamers.Vote, a new non-partisan nonprofit that aims to get gamers to the polls.