Watching Games A Bigger Draw Than Expected

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Watching Games A Bigger Draw Than Expected

Recently, Deepfield brought out a study on peak Internet traffic. Some fairly major names appeared on the list of places people often go online, and many of the expected names led the way. But where things got very interesting was one of the top five biggest names on the list, and just who came immediately after that particular entry. It turns out that Twitch—a site largely devoted to video game streaming video—managed to pull the fourth largest amount of traffic on the Internet last week.

Indeed, the commonly expected names when looking at top traffic in a week were all in force. Netflix ruled the roost, followed immediately by Google and Apple. But Twitch, coming in fourth, managed to pull off something of a trifecta all its own. One, it managed to beat out Hulu, which has to come as a major shock to just about anyone watching, as well as major traffic figures like Pandora, Facebook, and even Valve. Two, it's actually in a position to, at some point, take the third slot as it represents a little under half, right now, of Apple's traffic. A loss in one direction, a gain in another, and suddenly it's the third most traveled site around when it comes to peak time. Three, it's showing us, definitively, that watching video games being played may one day be every bit as popular as watching baseball or football being played.

What's more, based on Deepfield's numbers, fully 68 percent of viewers turned to Twitch over television, abandoning most standard programming lineups to get a shot of video game-related fun. It wasn't so long ago that the extent of Twitch's programming was made known, with a combined 900,000 broadcasters—one in five Twitch broadcasters are coming to us direct from a PlayStation 4—but now we see that there's not only plenty of people bringing video to Twitch, there are plenty of people watching it as well. While Deepfield's numbers are a bit skewed in terms of bandwidth used rather than in number of people watching—one person downloading a gigabyte would mean more than 900 people downloading a megabyte—it still doesn't matter much, as Twitch beat Hulu. The two are comparably matched in terms of video files sent out, so clearly, there were plenty of people watching Twitch during the peak hours.

Of course, Twitch isn't just about gaming, a development that may well have proven helpful in the long run. Twitch also talks about movies of various stripes, so there's a certain amount of leeway involved in the Twitch figures as not everyone is there for gaming. But still, there's plenty of people here who came in specifically for the games, and that's a positive development. There were those who thought that the idea of an e-sports bar, the idea of professional gaming as a sport, couldn't take off, because no one would sit around and watch other people play games when said people could play the exact same games themselves. But that's not the case, as is quite clearly shown here, and the end result should bode very well indeed for those looking to make a living showing off gaming prowess. Gaming in general is an increasingly mainstream activity, and the end results should be quite positive indeed.
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