I never really understood watching live streams of video games. My thought always was “Why watch someone else play a video game when you could be playing it yourself?”
I’ve had it explained to me a dozen different ways, and I’m starting to get it, now. However, in my limited view it is way more popular than it should be. I’ve been told that some people watch games on sites like twitch.tv because it gives them a better idea of what the game is like over a simple review. That makes sense, but it doesn’t explain why thousands of people can be tuned into a stream for hours at a time. I’m certain they’re not all evaluating the game to purchase.
I also get why people watch “professionals” play games like Starcraft. They’re competing on a level that most casual gamers cannot, and it’s a tactically driven game. You can supposedly learn a lot by watching these streams. I still prefer to read about it on a webpage and try to put it into practice that way.
I get why people will watch live streams of games like Eve Online (are there any other games actually like it?), as most people can’t take part in the alliance vs alliance battles that happen throughout the Eve universe unless they’re part of that alliance. That, and Eve’s narrative is often driven by these events.
So, in an effort to help me understand, I decided to start streaming when I play video games. I expect it to be a complete failure in terms of viewership because, seriously, who wants to watch what I do when you could be playing these games yourself?
Here’s this morning’s Star Wars: The Old Republic play session: