Gamers stream playtime through new mainstream website
Freddie Wilhelm | Staff Writer
Over 355 billion minutes, all spent watching video games.
Last year alone, Twitch.tv users spent hundreds of billions of minutes watching their favorite gamers play some of the world’s most popular video games.
Twitch.tv is a popular website where users can share video game content via live streaming directly into monitors across the world. With 2 million broadcasters, and 15 million daily visitors, the streaming website has blown up into mainstream media. Created in 2011, Twitch started as a website mainly used by the gaming community to stream popular video games such as League of Legends and Minecraft. Junior Nick Collier said that Twitch has received a large viewership due to the on the spot, unedited humor found in streams.
“You’ll see a lot of guys watching streams because you get a live, unedited script, of someone, which you won’t see on YouTube,” Collier said. “Something can happen, and they’ll say something crude; their game could break, and you would never get that in edited video, which I think brings people to streaming. Also, there are aspects of watching gaming tournaments on streams, which you could never do before Twitch came out: you would see it pre-recorded.”
A large boost to Twitch’s viewership is due to the game Fortnite Battle Royale, which has, by itself, over 130 million viewers this month. Senior Brian Whitney said he began to stream Fortnite due to the large audience of people who want to watch the game.
“I thought it would be fun for people to watch me play and see how I do things,” Whitney said. “I hear a lot of kids say ‘Hey Whit’ are you gonna stream tonight?’ It’s really cool to hear people get excited for my stream. I play other games from my childhood like Castle Crashers and Mindball that are silly games that aren’t as popular, but people who haven’t played them think it’s cool to watch me experience it.”
Since 2011, Twitch has grown into one of the largest growing companies in the world. By 2014, it had grown to be so big that Amazon purchased the company for 970 million dollars, and it has only grown since. Collier said the popularity of streaming on Twitch has hurt YouTube viewership and will be sharing viewership with them for years to come.
“YouTube viewership has gone down enough that YouTube has added a streaming software to stream on it,” Collier said. “It’s not as good as Twitch, but they are definitely making an effort because Twitch is taking away so many viewers which have a lot of money with it.”
Junior Nick Collier streams himself playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on Twitch.
A large part of the growth of Twitch has been the growth of the eSports industry, which has grown exponentially since Twitch has become the hub for streaming these live tournaments. Popular games like League of Legends, Counter-Strike and Overwatch have worked with Twitch to stream the live tournaments which have garnered millions of viewers for Twitch. Senior Colin McCurley said that eSports streaming on Twitch has given gamers their own dream of becoming professional gamers, much like professional athletes.
“The eSports aspect of Twitch is something that’s really cool, you can watch professional players play the same games as you play in your house with your friends,” McCurley said. “If you love a video game, these guys are basically like the equivalent of NFL players and still play on your desktop, when games go into E-Leagues, teams play qualifiers, teams play in tournaments and people watch on these games on twitch, by watching people who are better than them play these games at tournament levels.”
Whitney said that a way he gained viewers was talking to his friends, networking with other streamers, and using social media to share his streams.
“At the beginning, I was getting 12-14 viewers from telling them, and that’s died down to about 3-6 viewers, but I still get people at school asking about my stream,” Whitney said. “I try to use Twitter to share highlights and when I stream, so then, you can network, you check out their stream, they check out your stream”
Although earning as many viewers as possible is a goal for some users, McCurley said he has enjoyed streaming and continues to stream because of the interactions between people online who he meets during his streams.
“I think that you can interact people on such a personal level for how interactive it is,” McCurley said. “Twitch streamers become popular because they are great characters who people relate to and watch and grow a love for. Once people start streaming these relationships keep them going.”
Graphic by Ryan D’Souza.
Photo by Freddie Wilhelm.