Twitch, YouTube, and the rise of video game live streaming

I set up my play area with a comfortable chair and well-positioned camera. This is my first time streaming a video of myself playing online games, but luckily I’m not facing the big stars of YouTube and Twitch this time, no, it’s NewTube, the fictional streaming platform for Youtubers Life 2, a new simulation game. where you play as a video content creator who rises up the online rankings to become the most famous influencer in town.

For those of non-social media natives, this may seem like an incredibly postmodern, if not dystopian, game theme. But this is the world we live in: A 2019 survey found that more than half of the 2,000 Gen Z and Millennials surveyed want to be influencers. The game also highlights another new normal: how video games have mixed with video streaming over the past decade, and YouTube and Twitch have become so popular with gamers that they are now influencing the global industry.

The concept of watching games is nothing new, as anyone who has grown up as a gamer’s little brother can tell you. Even though the games unique appeal is their interactivity with players, they still have a lot to offer viewers, from thrilling storylines to a barrage of audiovisual stimulation. Still, when a massive audience started watching people play games on YouTube, I was stumped. When we were children, we watched other people play because we had no choice. Now that we all have powerful gaming machines in our pockets and many games are free to play, why just watch when we could play?

The first influential genre of game videos became known as ‘Let’s Play’, in which a player records himself playing a game, and his face shows a picture-in-picture offering a humorous commentary on his misadventures. . I found that on YouTube I could discover new games that I had no money to play for or were unsure about buying. I was able to see highly rated players showing their experience. It was relaxing, like watching Wimbledon on TV instead of playing tennis.

These videos have spawned something much more extensive: Twitch and video game live streaming. Here, players broadcast live, often more than 60 hours per week. Live broadcasts tend to be confusing and unpredictable, at once monotonous and exciting. They’re extremely popular – 45% of frequent gamers broadcast to other players, according to a recent Deloitte study. They occupy the space in the lives of young people that television once occupied, but with the addictive DNA of social networks: more niche, more personalized and more attractive.

The growing importance of Twitch and YouTube began to shape the industry. Popular titles like Hello Neighbor and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds owe much of their success to their adoption by big YouTubers, making video streamers an important part of the industry’s marketing toolbox. Then there are games that are purposely designed to play well on Twitch: Jackbox’s board games allow audiences to compete alongside streamers, while Thug Dead Cells allows viewers to vote for the next one. Streamers have also used the platform to bridge the gap between performing arts and mass entertainment, from a classic Pok√©mon game played by thousands of people simultaneously to a user who turned his entire life into an interactive version of The Sims. .

 

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