What’s the Appeal in Watching People Play Video Games?

Tons of people tune into streamers on Twitch, YouTube, and Mixer every day. Why would they rather watch than play?

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Twitch, the most popular video game streaming platform, has millions of viewers. That means a huge population of people enjoy watching other people play video games. YouTube is riddled with “Let’s Play” videos as well, with some videos garnering millions of views.

Maybe you like to play video games, but you just don’t get the whole fascination of watching other people play—you’d rather get in on the action, rather than just assume the role of a spectator. What exactly is the appeal of watching other people play video games, anyway?

The Host’s Personality

One of the biggest factors in watching others 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 arguably the most popular video game streamer, as he has over 100 million subscribers. People who don’t even like video games watch PewDiePie—the sole reason why people do watch him is purely for his character. I’m sure some people actually like his gameplay, but he wouldn’t have so many subscribers without his humor.

Watching someone play your favorite video game and make jokes at the same time is a form of entertainment. Sure, you’re not playing the game, but it’s always fun to listen to someone else’s comedic outlook on the game.

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 a Game Before Buying It

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 the actual gameplay. You just had to go by the game’s commercials on TV, or what your friends told you about it.

I don’t buy games on a whim anymore—they’re way too expensive to buy without doing some 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, has a giant fanbase even after moving his videos from Twitch to Mixer. On the right side of the above screen, you can see how many people interact with his videos.

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!

Spectating Has Its Benefits

Watching people play video games definitely isn’t for everyone. However, you can still get a decent amount of 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. Find out other ways you can relieve gamer fatigue.

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