News / Calgary

Calgary gamer using Twitch to overcome social anxiety, cover baby costs

Online streaming service Twitch recreates the feeling of sitting on a couch and watching a friend play a video game – except now you’re watching someone play online along with thousands of other spectators.

That’s a really big couch.

Calgarian Christina Gail streams games like Counter Strike and Heroes of the Storm, chatting with her audience live as she plays. She’s only been doing it for a year and a half and already has over 5,000 followers on her feed.

Playing video games on Twitch pays a bit, too.

Through donations, Gail has helped her mother go back to school and is funding a stroller and car seat ahead of her own due date in November.

But more important than the money is how it has helped bring her out of her shell.

“I actually started streaming to help with my social anxiety,” said Gail. “It was kind of my outlet to push myself to talk to other people and put myself in an awkward situation to make myself get over it.”

Gail said at one point just making a phone call would cause her anxiety. Now, she’ll wear a pizza costume and enjoy chatting with her regular followers.

When she’s not playing, she’s watching other people play. She loves watching gamers attack a game that’s too difficult for her, and it gives her the chance to meet new and interesting people.

“You’re hanging out with a bunch of people pretty much,” she said. “It’s entertaining to watch people get through hard parts of a game or an intense situation, how they react to scary games.

“You live vicariously through them, if they play the game well.”

Some of the most popular streamers in North America reportedly make six figures per year.

Gail says she would love to stream full-time, if her account gets popular enough.

You can follow her streams at twitch.tv/ChristinaGailC.

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