If you haven’t been to Twitch.tv before don’t feel bad, you’re not alone. I just started watching Twitch regularly probably around eight months ago myself, and I feel like I was missing out on an entirely different world. What I found is that there are some seriously famous streamers on Twitch that are bringing in six and seven figure incomes playing games for adoring fans.
Each month, a hundred million visitors watch their favorite personalities play video games on Twitch, spending an average of nearly two hours a day there. This audience is large enough to make the site one of the twenty most trafficked in the U.S., yet it’s perhaps more apt to measure Twitch against a different medium. With viewership numbers that rival those of MSNBC or CNN, Twitch is less like a conventional Web site than like a kaleidoscopic television network: thousands of channels at once, broadcasting live at every hour of the day. (Source – The New Yorker)
Soak that in. Twitch is now one of the twenty most trafficked sites in the US and the vast majority of the content is watching people play video games. For advertisers, this has been a dream since the average viewer of a Twitch broadcast spends a lot more time than just about any other viewer. Gaming sessions can go on for hours and viewers can easily watch for the entire time.
As I write this post I am also listening to one of my favorite Twitch streamers – sodapoppin playing World of Warcraft in the background.
Now all of this being said, it goes without saying that Twitch appeals to a somewhat specific audience given that they’re watching other people play video games. If you never played games, you probably aren’t going to get too excited about watching other people play them.
In many ways Twitch itself represents a bit of a generational divide. I think there is a growing group of people who grew up playing and watching video games that are identifying with competitive video games in the same way many people do sports like Baseball and Basketball. If this sounds ridiculous to you, you’re on one side of the generational divide, if this sounds normal then you’re on the other side.
No matter what side you find yourself on, one thing is certain, viewership for eSports is growing faster than massive industries like television and music, Twitch is minting new millionaire game streamers every single year. The real question is, when will watching competitive eSports be seen as normal as watching a little football on a Sunday?