Twitch, the most popular video game streaming platform in the world, has millions of viewers. That means a huge population of people enjoy watching other people play video games.
YouTube is saturated with its own form of watching people play video games: the "Let's Play" video. Gamers like PewDiePie and Markiplier have built massive fanbases doing this.
A strange phenomenon, isn't it? Even if you like playing video games, the idea of watching someone else play video games might be outlandish. Why watch when you can just play yourself?
Well, there's more to it than that. If you don't understand the appeal of watching others play video games, read on. We'll explain several reasons why people watch streamers.
The Host's Personality
One of the biggest factors in watching streamers play video games is the streamer's personality.
The host makes the gameplay entertaining by interjecting silly comments, doing odd things, or just trolling other players. It's almost like watching a reality TV show or live sports, except with a video game.
Take PewDiePie, for example. He's the most popular video game streamer, with well over 100 million subscribers. People who don't even like video games know about and watch PewDiePie—for them, the only reason to watch is his humor and character. That's what separates him from thousands of other streamers.
Watching someone play your favorite video game while cracking jokes and goofing around is more than just entertainment. It's a feeling of kinship, as if the host is your actual friend and you're just hanging out together.
Learning New Skills
When you want to improve your skills in a game, reading strategy guides can only do so much. That's why so many gamers turn to streamers and gameplay videos to learn from the pros. You can find some of the best gamers on Twitch and YouTube, and some of them are even retired esports champs.
Watching a skilled player utterly destroy their opponents inspires you to do better. Even if the streamer doesn't explicitly give out tips during their session, you can still learn just by watching.
You can learn a lot from watching Twitch streamer, Imaqtpie. He's a former professional League of Legends player, and he uses Twitch to show off his skills. It's also just satisfying to see someone who's extremely talented at what they do.
Checking Out Games Before Purchase
In the past, I used to buy video games based on the game's cover art. Sometimes I ended up liking the game, and other times I absolutely hated it.
When YouTube and Twitch weren't even invented yet, you couldn't really get a decent preview of actual gameplay. You just had to go by the game's advertisements or word of mouth from friends.
I don't buy games on a whim anymore—they're way too expensive and risky to buy without doing extensive research. When I'm interested in buying a game, I search up some gameplay videos on YouTube to get an unfiltered taste of the game.
Since certain game trailers make the game seem better than it actually is, Let's Play videos can clear up any nonsense that the game's marketing team creates.
Feeling Connected With Community
When you're on Twitch or Mixer, you'll see a constant stream of comments beside the video that you're watching. These comments give viewers a sense of community—gamers can connect while watching their favorite Twitch personality.
After a while, inside jokes get created, and you have an entire fanbase that you can connect with.
Ninja, the popular Fortnite streamer, maintained a giant fanbase even after he moved from Twitch to Mixer, and then from Mixer back to Twitch. Ninja's fans are there for Ninja, but they're also there for each other. His community has grown past himself.
You can get a more intimate experience with less popular video game streamers who have a smaller fanbase. This makes it even easier to interact with other viewers and maybe even the streamer themselves.
The Relaxation Factor
Video games are built to challenge you. Some days, you might not want to burden yourself with the frustration that comes along with extremely hard levels and missions.
Turning to Twitch or YouTube to watch someone play is a relaxing alternative.
Even watching a friend play a game while you're in the same room as them can help you unwind. Your friend or the streamer might get frustrated, but at least it doesn't kill your mood!
Watching Streamers Has Its Benefits
Watching streamers play video games definitely isn't for everyone. But if you have an open mind, you can get some decent entertainment value out of video game streams, and you might even learn something to improve your own skills.
The next time you have a free moment, try watching someone play a game instead of playing it yourself—you just might like it! When you're worn out from playing too many video games, watching other people play can help you escape your rut.