Someone explain Twitch to me

(Warning, Old Man rant)

So last night I’m on the Xbox One and decide to check out this Twitch thing, which just sold for like $2 Billion. So far the only thing I have used Twitch for is browsing to the right in the store to check out gameplay footage of titles I’m interested in.

That’s Twitch for me. 10 seconds of checking out a stream before being annoyed at the heavy breathing and shouting at the screen.

I knew there had to be more to it though, so I delved deeper.

What the hell is this thing? I browsed through the different streams and discovered:

  1. People have their own G4 type TV shows where they try and discuss games. So awkward.
  2. The most viewed streams seemed, like everything else, to be girls. There was one blonde girl who had like 4000 followers or something, she was playing Call of Duty Advanced Warfare. In the chat box to the right it was a constant spew of “Take off your top!” and “Smoke weed everyday”. Typical internet behavior I guess. But she also had …
  3. Donations going! The recent donator’s names scrawled by as she played. People were giving her $10 or $25 at a time. She wasn’t even interacting with them, just playing. What?
  4. 80% of the channels seem to be League of Legends play. Crazy.

So what’s the deal? Who is the target demographic for this service? It seems soooooo boring to me to watch other people play videogames when you can’t interact with them, say beside you on the couch or spectating yourself between rounds. But watching people play? Even the most exciting game is boring when you’re streaming it, to me.

Please, someone explain this to an old timer. This is the first social media/new media experience I just don’t get. Are there other parts of it? Why is it so popular? Do they ever release demographic information? I’m so curious as to who watches this stuff, and expcially who donates. It’s a service I would have dismissed as idiotic if it wasn’t just bought for King Solomon’s Mines.

I know. It’s nuts, right?

I watch a fair bit on Twitch. The appeal for me is watching commentated tournaments games, played by pros. Starcraft, Dota, CS GO, that sort of thing. Do you watch sports? It’s a mix of that - cheering on a team or a player you like - and watching how the best players in the world play a game you also play to improve your own game.

The whole streamer/personality/donation goals side of things is a large part of Twitch, but it’s not why I watch Twitch so I can’t comment on that except that some of that mystifies me too.

For me it’s an opportunity to preview games in development. All the really cool kids do weekly Twitch programs of games in progress, and it’s a good chance to see features that aren’t implemented for the general public yet. Both Firaxis and Stardock are making good use of the system.

Well, I’m 42 and absolutely love Twitch. It’s completely replaced both TV and YouTube for me. I’ve always enjoyed watching people play games, especially those games where I’m not really skilled (MOBA’s etc). And who says you can’t interact with the person playing? At least on PC, most stream chats are pretty active and a good streamer will be interacting with those people. Good streamers are part entertainer in addition to playing the games. As usual on the internet, how toxic any particular chat is will depend on how well the streamer enforces his rules etc. I have had some really neat conversations with some smaller streamers, won some games on steam, laughed my ass off and seen some amazing gaming skills. All in all a very worthwhile experience.

Each person Twitching (did I just coin that?) is its own little community.

For me it’s about watching good players play games I’m interested in, and, preferably, talking about the way they play. Hearthstone is the only thing I really watch on Twitch.

Twitch is just like any other entertainment media source. Some of it is hot garbage (kids cursing and acting all internet badass, the aforementioned chatroulette-style model pander, the awful interfaces on some feeds, etc) but some of it is quite good.

I stay away from the heavy donation channels and stick to regular folks playing games.

I almost exclusively use Twitch to watch professional Starcraft tournaments. In fact, the Global Finals of the World Championship Series starts tomorrow afternoon and should be baller as all hell. 8 of the best players in the history of the game going toe to toe for a $100,000 grand prize, executing strategies beyond the capability of mere mortals like myself. . . it’s gonna be awesome :-D

The whole “watch random goober stream the latest release and mumble low-brow stoner comedy” thing is a mystery to me, though.

You’re not alone. I totally don’t get it either.

I think it’s a <30 thing.

This guy has been my Twitch obsession for a while now. He’s streaming his attempt to complete every NES game, and he’s running them blind. He took something like 60 hours to clear Ultima Exodus.

Edit: I’m in my 30s and can I totally get why its popular.

Shellfishguy and myself being over 40 disagree

I’ve mentioned this before on other forums, but nothing is duller to me than watching other people play games. If the game’s any good, I want to play it myself instead.

It’s taken me a while to warm up to Twitch, but I’m finally starting to get it. A few co-workers of mine are really into LoL and Twitch, and that’s what they do at lunch - they’re either playing LoL or watching other people play it.

It really feels like the ESPN of games to me. It’s lots of commentary, tips, and seeing how the pros do things. I haven’t really watched any of the random people playing games.

In general, I’d rather play games myself than watch other people play them. But for highly competitive multiplayer games, I can see how Twitch is huge.

Sure, but maybe I want to know more about the game before I plunk money down on it?

Or, maybe I know I don’t want to buy that game at all, but I’m curious to see how much of a trainwreck it is?

Finally, sometimes I just want to see what this guy or that guy thinks about the game, like a live review.

Man that is awesome. I will have to look our for that.

How much do the top say 100 professional gamers make? I know that world exists but it’s like a Ghost World to me. Edit: Tried to look this up but all I found were stories of prize money of $100,000 or so over their career.

Popular twitch streamers easily make 6 figures too.

I don’t watch any sports of any kind either, ever, so I’m probably an atypical sample. I don’t even watch the Olympics.

Interesting. According to that site only 187 people make six figures a year doing this. I think statistically you’d be better off trying to join the NBA or NFL.

Also, according to that site all the top people play DoTA, Starcraft, or LoL. That might be part of my confusion. I have no interest in any of those games.