More on Gaming Bubble: Commentary/Spectating
by, 06-17-2011 at 02:33 AM (658 Views)
I guess I've been thinking about it more and more recently.
I don't know how many here watch youtube gameplay/commentary, but I watch quite a bit. My main feed comes from Machinima Respawn, which for a long time (and still somewhat to this day) is almost all Call of Duty content. The "commentary" scene started out from the idea of "Lets Play" and the growing focus on professional play. Add in the explosion of Youtube in the past few years and people actually make money playing video games and posting the videos to the internet. Basically, commentary is just what it sounds like:
1. Live Comm - Player records and provides commentary while playing. Either on the gameplay or whatever. These are growing in popularity so that players don't just see epic scoring games, but rather see the "pros" play all the time.
2. Standard Commentary - Player takes select gameplay (usually a good round, or shows what the player wants to talk about) and dictates over the video after the fact. This allows for a more polished, refined, and focused discussion.
So for those of you who did not know, there are actually a lot of people who play video games, record them, and do commentary. And they get paid from youtube, sponsors, and companies like Machinima to do so. Sound's pretty sweet, huh?
Also, there is the rise of "e-sport." PC gaming has always had a strong competitive side, but it's not always very centralized - it's usually hosted by a certain brand or company, blah blah blah. Then back in the days of Halo 2 we saw the rise of MLG - Major League Gaming. Fast forward 8 years and it's serious business. It's not longer just a tournament - there are players who make thousands and thousands per year, as their primary means of work, playing competitively on the consoles. And it's all pretty organized and centralized. So consoles have gone from very "pick up and play" to streamlined. MLG and other tournaments are huge events these days, with thousands of players involved. Sponsors, partnerships, etc.
And then there's Starcraft 2. I'm rubbish, but I actually keep up with SC2 korean/world tournaments. There's another entire industry just DEVOTED to showing/hosting starcraft competition. Serious money, too... These players aren't just playing - they practice for 8 hours a day. Their hands are moving faster than world class pianists...
So why am I bringing this up and relating it to the "gaming bubble" I see as possible? Because we're part of a demographic that now has some of the highest entertainment sales in history. We also have entire industries devoted just to WATCHING other players play games! And most of all, we have players who, while they probably still have fun - this is their job. It feeds them. It puts clothes on their back. It is how they earn their living. The problem with gaming being a person's livelihood is that it's almost a razors edge. There are big names on youtube who got big through Call of Duty - and then one day they get sick of the game. Then what?
Maybe this is as big as commentary/spectating gets. Who knows - but it raises the question - when did our hobby turn into a spectator sport? It's a natural progression, sure, but damn there's a lot of money out there.
Myself, I plan on doing some "Let's Play" of SP games in the future... and while the idea sounds awesome, I simply would never want to make my living being "forced" to play a videogame. Imagine if I had to play BC2 every single day for 4-6 hours? I may do that some days, but that's because it's fun. When I stop having fun with a game I log off or find a new title. I feel bad for those who literally have to play one title because that's what they're paid to do.
I just hope it makes them happy...