TECHNOLOGY

Creators Recreate Homelessness in The Sims


For content creators Like Zach Letter, YouTube can be kind of a poverty-to-riches story. Letter, who has been making content since 2011 and has a total following of over 2 million across platforms, told WIRED that he was nearly homeless in 2011. At the time, Letter was doing double duty working full time as an intern in the mill industry and also making content YouTube full time on the side. Suddenly, he says, the company he worked for laid off everyone — right after he took out loans to buy a car and equipment for his job. This resulted in him paying large sums for equipment that he could not use, rapidly depleting his savings.

Despite his best efforts in his job search, he was bankrupt within three months. “I was scared. Every night I went to bed after working all day on YouTube, and just prayed that something would come my way,” says Leiter. Then his YouTube channel started to gain popularity and generate modest income. It was timely, according to Letter, estimating he was about five days away from being homeless and only had $38 to his name. His YouTube channel’s advertising revenue – $800 a month – helped keep him from going bankrupt. “Things just kept getting better” from this point on for Letter, who counts himself lucky.

In December 2017, a message partner in player created Sims 4 Challenge on YouTube. Dubbed the Homeless or Rag to Get Rich Challenge, the challenge sees players dress up their Sims until they appear homeless and then proceed to receive 5,000 Simoleans — enough in-game currency to build a modest multi-room house — without any shelter. or a function, according to Challenge community page.

Such challenges are fun, Letter says, “because they relate to lives that many, including myself, have lived. So, trying to figure out how far you can go in a lifetime in some way gives you hope for your life.”

At war with the algorithm

The Homeless Challenge is just one of the many challenges players have devised. Others range from having a female sim 100 babies are born By 100 different partners Recreate evolution and play Princess. Challenges remain popular mainstay in Sims YouTube community. Games can become repetitive and boring fairly quickly for those who play often, such as content creators, unless new content is added or community-developed mods are released. The so-called gameplay challenges allow players and creators to make it happen.

TomKnown to millions of subscribers and followers asTheSpiffingBrit“Challenges allow content creators to have a powerful and unique video concept to entice potential viewers. Tom cites YouTube as a contributing factor to the culture challenge, as its algorithms encourage creators eager to engage and grow to try increasingly outlandish video ideas and challenges in an endless arms race for attention see youtube More than 500 hours of content uploaded per minute – and viewers watch over a billion hours a day. Controversial challenges tend to be more impactful “as audiences are shocked and enthralled,” which leads to higher click rates as potential viewers want to know more, Tom says. Click rates and viewer retention are particularly important to content creators as they monetize content.

(YouTube did not respond to requests for comment or provide statistics on how many “Rags-to-Riches” videos were uploaded and how many people had viewed them by the time of publication.)

Games and homelessness

Video games, by their nature, cannot fully and accurately simulate the reality of homelessness, such as the threat of violence from other people who look down on those who are homeless, harassment by law enforcement, unhelpful shelter systems, and hostile architecture.

On 567,000 people are homeless in America, according to a January 2020 report from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. The report predates the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, which has since led to increased homelessness. in 2020, study By Brendan O’Flaherty, Professor of Economics at Columbia University, predict that the coronavirus could cause the number of homeless people in America to increase by up to 45 percent. Under normal circumstances, there are not enough shelter beds to accommodate the number of homeless, let alone the new influx, especially given the safety protocols related to the pandemic. Those who are homeless often too lack access to medical care, increasing the potential for serious health problems and preventable deaths.





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