Why spectate someone else playing a video game?
One of the dominating factors that are becoming extremely popular in the gaming world is Let’s Play videos and the live streaming of games.
Let’s Play videos are becoming one of the most watched videos on YouTube. PewDiePie is one of the most subscribed channels on YouTube, but it doesn’t just stop there.
Twitch is another tool, which is an established and popular platform for gamers to watch or stream video games themselves. It is a question many may ask and even had an entire South Park episode dedicated to addressing this. Link to that blog post can be found here:
“Its is essential to note that video games experiences are frequently shared by groups, perhaps crowded around a television set in a domestic setting,” said James Newman in a 2004 piece.
Similarly Gareth Schott and Maria Kambouri suggest how games are designed and intended for one player but it can become the focus point of group play or players offering advice, talk, encouragement or comments during game play.
It is therefore important to note that video games are a social activity where players are active audiences to their own game play alongside creating spectacles for others to watch, discuss and engage with. All the above platforms enable spectators to engage with the medium by not playing the game but simply watching them.
The idea of spectating game play is even embedded by Microsoft as on the Xbox One; players are encouraged to record clips of their game play and share them for others to watch.
Now some may argue that this is stupid but looking at the wider context we can see this as part of gamer culture. It is not necessary that only playing the game determines a pleasurable factor but taking it out of game spaces allows us to show our appreciation and love of games.
Similarly attending conventions, cosplaying, drawing/writing fan fiction or simply wearing a Mario T-shirt integrates our association and enjoyment of games outside of game spaces and in our ordinary lives which induce discussions, conversations and commentary with others who associate and play games.
Jamin Warren approached this topic on his PBS Game/Show Youtube Channel with his video, “Why is LET’S PLAY So Huge?”. His video is embedded in the story at the top. Please bare in mind that this video was released in September 2013 so figures may have changed.
Let us know your thoughts!