It draws more eyeballs (traffic) than Amazon, Hulu, and Facebook. It changes the dynamics of the typical one-sided viewing experience. It is exploding in growth and audience size every single month. You might be shocked that it is not only free, but people also voluntarily choose to pay for what some people call their replacement for television. With over 45,000,000 unique viewers per month, Twitch.tv has become the #1 location on the internet to watch other people play video games LIVE.
Live streaming has been around for a while, but it is Twitch.tv that has taken a community of gamers and turned it into a modern day full-fledged entertainment network, that current cable networks will one day be jealous of. Now you may be shocked or confused why people would actually watch someone else play video games live on the internet, but it is much more than that. And before you break out the old judgment stick, at any point in your life have you ever sat back and watched someone else play a video game?
Maybe it was your brother, sister, or even a friend play a video game in their living room? You probably even helped them figure out where to go next in Zelda, or how to get to the secret warp in the original Super Mario Brothers at some point in your life. I’m guessing that you can admit to watching someone you know play video games at some point in your life, but why would you want to watch a complete stranger play?
1. Discover a two-way viewing experience.
Watching a live broadcaster on Twitch.tv is different than watching a TV show, or even a game play-through on YouTube, because there is a live dialogue. When watching your first Twitch broadcast, you’ll notice a prominent chat bar to the left of the video player. There you’ll see the number of people who are watching along with you, but more than that, you know that whatever you type in, the broadcaster is seeing live.
Some people (love or live) to give hints and tips to the broadcaster (also dubbed “back-seat gaming”) while other people may ask the broadcaster questions that are completely unrelated to anything to do with the video game. Regardless, when you realize whatever you type into the chat can actually influence the broadcast you are watching, it can change your perception of what a viewing experience can be.
2. Check out whether a game is worth your money.
On Twitch.tv you can pull up a list of broadcasters organized by what game they are playing. So for example, if you wanted to find out whether the next big FPS is going to be worth your hard earned money, you could have watched 100s of people playing it. Keeping in mind, depending on the size of the channel, you could watch to form your own judgments about a game you are considering purchasing OR you could even ask the broadcaster directly if they thought it was going to be worth the money (or what they would change about the game). Personally, there have been some games I would have NEVER considered playing (nor probably discovered on my own) until I saw how much fun someone else was having playing them on Twitch.
3. Live communities.
Just like there are communities for your favorite TV shows like The Walking Dead, there are live communities that form around people’s favorite broadcasters. A weird way to describe it would be the creation of individual “Cheers”bar within every broadcaster’s chat room. People get to know each other, remember great experiences within the channel, and also even develop their own vocabulary (Google: Kappa face).
Watching people live stream video games may sound weird to you right now, but if you are a fan of video games, you owe it to yourself to check out a few channels on Twitch. Whether you want to see someone play through the originalZelda for NES, check out the latest game releases live, or find a new hidden gem game to play, Twitch.tv offers something for everyone, just don’t blame me when you end up watching more Twitch then actual television!