Popularity of Video Game Livestreaming Grows, Rivaling TV

Video game playing is becoming a new form of spectator sport as livestreaming popularity continues to soar. More and more, game companies are encouraging players to share clips of their gameplay highlights and stream them live. Jayson Love is the host of “MANvsGAME” — a popular Web show in which he broadcasts his gaming to Twitch — and between advertisers and subscribers, he’s poised to earn $100,000 next year just by playing games.

“Mr. Love is part of a growing group of gamers whose antics are turning videogames into an online spectator sport,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “Most say they stream their gameplay to connect with other people, and those who earn money usually make just enough to feed their hobby.”

And it’s a hobby for more than 600,000 broadcasters, who are streaming to about 45 million gamers on Twitch. Sony and Microsoft are integrating Twitch in their newest consoles, which WSJ notes “are expected to sell in big volumes during the holiday season.”

There have been some problems with livestreaming, however, that have forced Twitch to “restate” its terms of use, according to gaming news and opinion site Kotaku. The terms of service forbid “non-gaming content,” though some have used it for exhibitionist purposes, creating a need for greater crackdown on users.

Still, it’s a booming industry that Yusuf Mehdi, head of strategy and marketing for the Microsoft Xbox videogame console team, tells WSJ is “rivaling television.”

“The World Championship for Riot Games Inc.’s ‘League of Legends’ was streamed live online in October to 32 million viewers through various streaming services,” notes WSJ. “More than the series finales of television shows ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘24’ and ‘The Sopranos’ put together.”