You guys must’ve heard it a million times too: “Why would you watch somebody play video games instead of playing them?” After which you proceed to smack their McFlurry out of their hands and yell “Bro why aren’t running between goals and scoring instead of watching soccer? You fat, hypocritical fuckface!!” Sorry lost my temper there; I must’ve become overly aggressive by playing too many videogames. It’s just that watching people play videogames is a very misunderstood topic. It’s not just about the video game; it’s about way more.
First of all, watching someone else play a videogame helps you improve your game.
I watch my homeboy Strifecro play Hearthstone because of his thoughtful analysis. Hearthstone is a strategy card came that’s free to play, but you have to buy packs to get better cards. How Strifecro assesses every situation and plays to his strengths just really butters my croissant. Also, I’m not going to pay 100$ to get the best cards or grind out 100 hours to get them. I’ll just enjoy his 200+ IQ strategy.
His gameplay has, however, improved my game. But I’ll never be as good as him, because there’s a huge difference in talent between gamers. To all you girlfriends and mothers out there, gaming isn’t just entertainment; it’s a sport. I can watch Shroud’s stream all I want, but that guy’s aiming and reflexes are just 1000 times better than mine. That’s why I never win the victory royale, and always get dunked on by other noobs while I spazz out because somebody shoots at me. I’ll get so startled by the sound of gunfire I throw my mouse across the room and it pretty much goes downhill from there.
However, you don’t need to be a “talented” gamer to be an entertaining gamer. Gaming channels such as PewDiePie (who has the most Youtube subscribers of all Youtube) isn’t a really good gamer, but he’s very entertaining. The same goes for a channel called Fitz, who’s a gamer who records himself playing games (shooters mostly) with his other (Youtube) friends. He actually doesn’t focus AT ALL on the game itself, but just the shittalking and the fun that his group of friends is having. And that brings me to my second point.
Your boyfriend watches people playing video games on Youtube because of the community.
The world is a kinda lonely place nowadays. Watching Lets Plays, where people film themselves playing a game for the first time, creates a connection between the Youtuber and the viewer. You both embark on an adventure into the unknown. This creates a connection (albeit a very one-sided one) between the Youtuber and the viewer, and connections are always good for the lonely souls.
Our favourite Youtubers become like our favorite TV shows. I don’t know about you, but after watching the latest Game of Thrones episode I immediately hop on to Reddit (/r/gameofthrones for you casuals, and /r/freefolk for true believers amirite). After seeing a hilarious video by Videogamedunkey, one fan notes:
“I love that sense of community you get on YouTube, for gaming especially. I follow this guy Dunkey and he’s great, but what I really love is reading the comments on his page and responses to his videos.”
Memes are created in the comment section. Memes grow to become inside jokes (which my posts are littered with) that start to form the cohesive glue that builds a community. Subscribers don’t watch a Youtube video just for the Youtube video, but to participate in the Youtuber’s community. This is not only true for the gaming community of Youtube. Take for example Casey Neistat or other famous vloggers; the most successful Youtubers are the ones that have the ability to foster a community around themselves.
As PewDiePie puts it:
Your boyfriend watches it to escape
Unfortunately, the 15 minutes a day become more like 1.5 hours a day. The average amount of time spent on Youtube per session is 40 minutes. 54% of the millennials use Youtube daily.
I myself indulge in this behavior as well. I’ve tried multiple time logging apps to track my Youtube addiction, but as I consume Youtube on my phone, desktop, and laptop it gets hard to track. You start with a small video, and another, and another, and boom you’ve just consumed 3 hours of content. Let’s be honest, Youtube is a huge black hole that sucks all the time that comes close it in it’s destructive center.
And Youtube knows this. Their algorithms have changed from praising content creators that have a lot of views, to content creators that have most time watched. Meaning: Youtube favors Youtubers that keep their viewers on www.youtube.com for the longest time possible. And this is why gaming is so large on the platform.
Unlike classical content creators that marked the beginning of Youtube such as Nigahiga, gamers have taken over the content. Making original sketches, from script to production to execution, is a very timely process. The result, however, are often short videos. But gamers can set up a webcam and start filming themselves game and have HOURS of content which they can edit and plug on Youtube. Their production process is way faster, while simultaneously creating longer vidoes which Youtube’s algorithms favor.
It’s because of these hurdles that I respect content creators such as Casey Neistat so much, as they show up every day making new content.
Which brings me to my final point.
Gaming on Youtube is serious business
Youtube is where a six-year-old can make 11 million a year. But making content, forming your own community and maintaining it, is very hard work. Even for gamers who have it “seemingly” easy.
One streamer and Youtube creator called Nagzz21 elaborates about his daily life:
“The mornings usually consist of trying to get to the messages many have left me via social media, Discord, as well as [YouTube] comments. It is almost impossible now to respond to every single one as I have in the past, but reading them all still takes a good chunk of the day. Since I upload a video every other day, editing takes a big chunk during the middle…On top of the editing and messages, I have to fit in streaming….On top of actually playing a game [outside of streaming live] which can take hours, there are many events the community holds in virtual reality… I am invited to many of these, and I make it a point as best as I can to attend them all. Then factor in the other streaming I do, with variety games during the week for live viewers, and I have barely enough time to go get a coffee around the corner for a little fresh air!”
So girlfriends, if you see your boyfriend watching Fornite streams but continuously getting 93rd place, it’s time to dissuade them from a professional gaming career. Unless they are just trying to play for fun. But who games for fun?