Many argue the evolution of modern entertainment began with YouTube, which is in part the reason why Time Magazine labeled “YOU” as Person of the Year back in 2006, when we all became content creators. Whether posting on Facebook, uploading on YouTube, or blogging on Tumblr, we’re all generating content with the explicit intention of being seen by others for entertainment value. With each of these sites, users seek to create popular and engaging content so they can monetize their channels and pages to earn income, not unlike an actor or street performer.
This has also led to “Let’s Plays,” or recorded walk-throughs of video games. It may be difficult to grasp why someone would enjoy watching someone else play a video game, but typically, the successful Let’s Play videos aren’t just a straight stream, rather, they feature video editing and humorous commentary. YouTube channels such as PewDiePie and Rooster Teeth have seen success with Let’s Plays, accruing millions of subscribers.
This brings us to Twitch. Twitch is a website where gamers can host live streams of themselves playing their favorite games. At any point, Twitch users can join in on the live stream and chat together while they watch the gamer play. Essentially, Twitch is the modern coliseum. While it might sound ridiculous, it’s hard not to make that comparison when we now recognize a StarCraft player as an athlete, and Twitch is helping to start the careers of video game players.
Amazon recently purchased Twitch for $970 million dollars because Amazon recognizes the value of a company whose peak traffic is close to the peak traffic of online platforms like Netflix, Google and Apple.
So what does this mean for the future of Twitch? Certainly don’t expect advertisements to stop. Amazon was able to get something that Google wanted, and can no longer have, suggesting that both of these companies feel certain that the future of video-game viewing is bright.