Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Watching people play video games is something I still don't understand.

Give it a try, see if you like it. I'd suggest a variety streamer first. The main thing for me, is that it's entertainment, not really the game itself.

Visualise this: Imagine your favourite comedian cracking jokes, now imagine him cracking jokes while playing a video game. Now imagine a chat of thousands joining in and interacting with your favourite comedian. Now imagine yourself talking to and cracking jokes with them. This is, in essence what many popular streams are.

Now imagine he's not funny and he's trying to appeal to kids.

This is why I don't bother. I do like speedruns, and I watch some of the cinemassacre stuff on youtube since I do actually like watching those guys.

This sounds terrible, really! Which makes sense because I do not like Twitch etc. :)

The GP is getting downvoted, so I guess a lot of people do enjoy watching games be played instead of playing them. Thank you for providing an explanation. As someone who does not enjoy it, it IS really difficult to understand.

how about watching people talk? talk shows are some of the more profitable programs in television, but all you're doing is watching people talk. oprah built a whole media empire on talk shows. entertainment is in the eye of the beholder, and when you have ~150M beholders, you can build a pretty good business [1]. :)

[1] http://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/technology-media-an...

Do you understand watching people play sports?

It doesn't make sense UNTIL you treat it as a competitive sport. I've played video games in my life but never treated it as something that I should improve my skills in. When I started playing Magic (the card game) I started to watch streams to learn better plays. It's about skill and skill development just like sports.

Commenting merely to say "I don't personally enjoy the topic of this discussion" similarly mystifies me.

Think like when you watched your grand brother or friend play a game and gave advice on how to progress. Sometimes it's great to take a backseat and watch others play and say funny things.

To me, at least for professional gamers, they're really entertaining to watch. They understand the game they're playing completely and are dedicating themselves full time to be the best player. It is something that I admire, plus it gives people that "live" for playing games a chance for a decent life and job.

I never would have imagined it would be entertaining either. Until I ran into this speedrun of Yoshi's Island randomly, it was one of the most entertaining and fascinating things I ever watched.


Watching people play golf is something that ton's of people don't understand. Nor chasing a black thing around on ice with sticks given the ratings. Yet you realize tons of people do watch these things.

A shared experience, even if you don't engage with the other participants is what makes it. Knowing that someone else just saw what you saw some other person do.

Simple concept. You get the benefit of playing through the game without the drawbacks.

What's the drawbacks?

My perspective:

- Purchasing

- Downloading

- Installing

- Patching

- Commitment

- Mechanical Skill

It allows you to experience the story of a game or the experience of high skill play with little up-front cost or long-term commitment.

One you've left out: hours wasted farming experience or searching around for whatever you're supposed to do next tend to just be cut out of let's plays. (You still need to suffer through those if you're watching a stream; the advantage of a stream over an edited video seems to be mainly that it provides a social group to hang out with.)

Paying for the game, and in some cases the console it runs on.

There are 2 major types of content on Twitch:

- competition broadcasting. With teams, pro players, sponsors, shoutcasters, analysts, interviews during the breaks, huge shows, stadiums and fans. It's like watching any "classic" sports on the TV. Can rise several hundreds of thousands of spectators (League of Legends, CS:GO, Dota 2 and Hearthstone mostly).

- player stream. Can be pro players during their training or just really really good players who stream all day as a job. On a personal note, I watch them because, as I said, they are really really good and the most popular of them are generally entertaining. The most popular have peaks at 5000-30000 spectators.

In the 2 cases, we talk about watching the best players in the world (may be 0.1% of the streamers). The rest of the streamers doesn't really have a public (friends and family probably).

I think you're leaving out an important third category of "personality" streamers. People that get views because they are entertaining, rather than because they're necessarily that good at the games they're playing.

I don't know what proportion of the whole each of the three makes up, but I would assume that the third category at least the very least merits a mention.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact