Gaming marathons are nothing new, but would you believe that the White House is hosting one later today? Believe it: at 1 PM Pacific, the White House will kick off a gaming marathon livestream on Twitch, complete with appearances from some of today’s popular Twitch streamers. On top of all of that, Shaq’s going to be there, and yes, I was confused at first too.
The White House isn’t just hosting this marathon because President Obama saw the popularity of Twitch streaming and wanted to get in on the action. The White House Game-A-Thon, as it’s called, is being hosted in a effort to encourage folks to sign up for healthcare coverage by the December 15 deadline. You’ll need to sign up by that date to get coverage that begins on January 1, and the White House is clearly hoping that this live stream will get stubborn young people to take the plunge.
Of course, most gaming marathons you’ll come across have an additional motive of some kind. Many are centered around raising money for charity, whether they’re annual Extra Life streams or the twice-yearly Games Done Quick marathons, with 2016’s Summer Games Done Quick raising nearly $1.3 million for Doctors Without Borders. This is the first time we’ve seen the government get involved, and this time the goal is to drive sign-ups for a government-sponsored program.
Whether or not The White House will be successful with its drive for healthcare sign-ups remains to be seen, but it should be a good show nonetheless. Twitch, which has partnered with the White House for this stream, has released a list of the partners that will be in attendance: ActaBunniFooFoo, Annemunition, bijoudemi, darkness_429, Elspeth, imcoty, LifeWithLaughs, Okaydrian, and thatchickparker.
Those streamers will be participating in a competitive games showcase, the details of which haven’t been announced. There will also be a Rocket League showmatch between Fireburner, jacobRL, and sad_junior from NRG eSports, with pro Rocket League player Moses joining in as well. This is where Shaq comes in, as he’s an NRG eSports investor and advisor.
Finally, we can look forward to a Street Fighter V showmatch between Justin Wong and Mike Ross, which will be commentated by Gootecks. All in all, it sounds like a fairly solid event, and we’ll get to see what the White House is capable of when it comes to hosting a game marathon. You’ll be able to watch the action starting at 4PM PT over at twitch.tv/GetCovered.