Spectators: The Unsung Champions of Professional Cloud Gaming Events
Professional video gaming in the cloud has become one of the most exciting new sports venues in recent memory. Hordes of video gamers from all corners of the earth and walks of life, all vie for their share of lucrative prize packages offered by big names in the video game industry. In fact, professional cloud gaming has become so popular, that the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services has begun issuing visas to players, listing them as professional athletes.
There is, however, a massive group of people that are key to making professional cloud gaming as successful as it has been: the spectators. As with every other sport out there, or even virtually any type of entertainment activity whatsoever, without interested people to watch them, they would ultimately fail and fall by the wayside.
Given that there are no real-world arenas or stadiums designed for spectators to watch their favorite players, how exactly did cloud-game spectating develop such an avid following? One of the most influential services responsible for this severe uptick in the number of spectators is called Twitch.
Twitch began its fabled run of popularity in 2011, effectively turning professional video gaming from a niche industry to a much more mainstream one. Twitch boasts over 43 million viewers each and every month, with over half of viewers spending over 20 hours per WEEK watching different games!
Like YouTube, Twitch offers a share of the ad revenue that is generated when people watch their “channel.” It is estimated that about five thousand of these partners exist, from a pool of close to one million. One prime example of a highly successful channel would be FatherSonGaming, which has attracted close to 100,000 dedicated viewers
Twitch’s success has not gone unnoticed by the biggest names in the video game industry. In fact, both Sony and Microsoft are integrating Twitch into their consoles, allowing for a much easier process for those who would like to either play or watch exciting gaming events. In fact, if you are gaming on one of the new PS4s, all you would need to do is hit the “Share” button to stream live directly from the console.
Update: Recent reports have been circulating that Google has offered to buy the gaming site Twitch for $1 Billion.
While Twitch may be the most popular ways to enjoy eSports as a spectator, it is not the only one. For example, one of the most well-known, first-person shooter franchises, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, has the capability of streaming play to YouTube built directly into the game. In addition, if the user has an elite Call of Duty account, they will be able to access more information on the player they are watching, including a profile and detailed stats.
While video gaming in the cloud may not yet be quite as popular of an event to watch as, say, a baseball game, it is fast approaching that level of success. Have you ever had the opportunity to watch an event on a service like Twitch? Let us know your experiences in the Comments section below!
By Joe Pellicone