It is great that there are so many DDO streams! But … why does anybody watch them?
[Warning] I am particularly unfocused this morning and the following is extra ramble-y. There are some valid thoughts in here, I think, but you are going to have to work harder than usual to find them. Good luck, you have been warned!
Yesterday I was loitering in the DDO Chat channel when someone mentioned a stream that they were making or viewing or streaming or … I forget, I didn’t take notes, I wasn’t intending for any of this to become a DDOGamer topic. But anyway, someone said “streaming” and it prompted me to ask what the whole streaming thing is all about.
Because streaming is not playing the game. It is watching other people play the game. Why would you do that? If you have the available time, and you have the bandwidth, why not actually play? Why use that time to watch others play?
I could understand if the people doing the streaming were super famous and entertaining. Entertainment comes in many forms, and a gaming stream seems as valid of a medium as any. For instance, I would probably watch Louis CK play DDO. Or Steve Martin. Or Amy Schumer.
But that is not what generally happens. Instead, anybody streams, just anybody, nobody, and people watch. Why?
So I asked. And was flooded with answers. Again, I have no notes, I didn’t realize that the chat conversation was going to be a topic until just now when I started writing. I am going to have to paraphrase what was said from memory, and I may fail to properly attribute a statement to a chatter.
My apologies to the good peoples of DDOChat.com, and I encourage anyone who remembers better to correct me in the comments section below.
With that important caveat out of the way, time to dive into the topic. Why stream? Why watch a stream?
Turbine developer Vargouille responds first, offering to explain what streaming is as well as why to do it. I already know what it is, and want to focus on the why.
Vargouille has several reasons, but I can only remember the ones that I understood. Mainly, that streaming is a great way for a game publisher to show off their wares. And that does make sense, even to me. In fact, I’ve actually watched my one and only stream ever under those exact circumstances, back when I was a DDOCast co-host and Turbine gave us a preview tour of the Shadowfell expansion pack content.
Vargouille also pointed out that there is a live aspect to streaming; if you are watching when the stream is live (as opposed to watching later when it is just a recording), you have the opportunity to interact with the streamers. Live chat. And as Vargouille reminded me, some people find direct access to game developers to be appealing.
Which is a valid point. Vargouille made his statement with wit and humility, but it is a fact that game developers are sometimes seen as a form of rock star (even regular programmers get that sometimes. Even me, once, but that is a story for another day). Streaming makes sense to me when the streamers are famous, and if you are a fan of a game than the developers of the game probably fall into that category.
Does anyone who is truly famous have a stream? Or is just pseudo-sort of-famous people like game developers? Regardless, we now have two reasons for streaming:
- Reason to stream: marketing. Reason to watch: you are following the game
- Reason to stream: you are famous. Reason to watch: you are a fan of the famous person(s)
Vargouille gave another reason in that he watches people solo Epic Elite content. Soloing on EE is not something he wants to do for himself, but he wants to see how others do. He has a vested interest in this, obviously, and unlike most of us, he can do it at work, as part of his job, and get paid for it. Yet still, a valid reason.
- Reason to stream: showing off your hard-won EE soloing skills. Reason to watch: you are paid to do professional research
Someone (and I’m sorry that I’ve forgotten who) pointed out that you can make money streaming, or even get sponsored. They posted one particular stream (http://www.twitch.tv/beckiesweckers) as an example of someone who started out just streaming and ended up making money from it. So I clicked over.
A hot girl. Okay, I get that one too. I haven’t watched her stream (or for that matter, anyone’s), so maybe I am being unfair here, but hot girls have been making money on the internet for a long time in a lot of ways. Maybe she is the most erudite and humorous gamer in history. But whether she is or not, boobs are a perfectly valid reason to stream and to watch a stream.
- Reason to stream: angling for donations. Reason to watch: boobs + a chance to chat with a hot girl
Someone else, I think Ague(?) said that he watched streams in order to learn techniques and improve as a player. That makes sense to me, not because I would do that myself (I am just too casual to care to spend time honing my game like that) but at least I can see why others might.
Maybe if I was a professional player? Or trying to become one? Clearly this doesn’t explain DDO streams, no one is ever going to be a professional DDO player. But professional gamers do exist, and I can seem them watching specific streams for the same reason that professional athletes spend so much time watching performance video.
Although now that I think about it, if you are a pro player, why would you share your best secrets with your competition? Or maybe this is how you intend to become a professional player? By showing off your mad skilz on Twitch? Does that work?
I’m going to list this one with a question mark:
- Reason to stream: trying to become a professional player? Reason to watch: trying to become a better player
Ague (and this time I am certain it was Ague) also mentioned that he watches DDO streams while he is playing DDO. Both at the same time. This is someone who is truly a fan of the game. Playing and watching. Okay, if you want to thoroughly surround yourself with DDO, I can imagine no better way.
Although that does not explain why the streams exist in the first place. I imagine it must be because hard-core DDO players like Ague will watch them.
- Reason to stream: people will watch it? Reason to watch: you want total DDO immersion
I learned lots of reasons to stream or to watch a stream. More than that, streaming is officially a BIG DEAL. After all, Google paid $1Billion for Twitch TV. One billion! Like one million except a thousand times more. A billion dollars. So there must be something to it.
And still I remain unconvinced.
Would I stream? Maybe, if I was playing with super-entertaining people or as part of a guest appearance on DDOCast or something. But probably not if it was just me. I’d want to script the whole thing first to ensure I was
actually being funny and entertaining properly fooling myself into believing I was being funny.
Would I watch a stream? I do not want to become a professional DDO player. I am not awed by the presence of Turbine developers (not that they are not awesome, they are). I am not doing professional research. I can only become so good at DDO, I have limited buttoneering potential; no amount of watching others play will improve my basic lack of hand-eye coordination.
So … no. Most likely. But I could be persuaded.
Persuade me! Tell me which streams you watch, and why. Make me want to watch!
You have the entire comments section to make your case.
🙂 😀 🙂