A New Twitch Record...Thanks to E3

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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A New Twitch Record...Thanks to E3

It's been an absolutely amazing Electronics Entertainment Expo this year, sufficiently so that people are actually still talking about it almost a week after the fact. While there were huge quantities of great games shown off, and new technology besides that should have gamers plenty excited in the near term, there was actually some news that took this long to finally reach daylight. Twitch is responsible for this particular slice of news, having managed to achieve a new viewership record, thanks to not a piece of e-sports, but rather, to E3 itself.

It was already pretty well known that people would be using the Web to keep up with what was going on at E3. Between the various game trailers and the keynote addresses and the like, it was clear that E3 was going to represent a big chunk of gaming action, and give users plenty of reason to watch the proceedings, especially given that most of the population was easily more than 100 miles away from the action when it finally fired up in earnest. But few likely suspected that this was going to be a major event in the works, sufficiently so to propel Twitch to new heights. Reports suggest that on just the first day of E3, the show had fully 5.9 million unique viewers. Over the course of the entire event, that number better than doubled, reaching 12 million unique viewers. By way of comparison, that's actually more viewers than the Tuesday, June 3 edition of “America's Got Talent,” which pulled in 11.3 million viewers, and the first day alone would have come in second only to “Game of Thrones” that week.

This actually explains quite a bit. Twitch has a reported million-plus users who broadcast livestreams of games, and 45 million unique viewers show up monthly to watch the action. That sure does a good job of explaining why Google might have taken an interest in it. And it also accounts for how Nintendo likely figured it could do a streaming show instead of hitting the event live.

In fact, it's enough to make one wonder if E3 can even really still be relevant any more. If so many are showing up to watch the festivities online, why bother having the event in a hall? The studios can put on whatever event they like—Nintendo sure managed to do a bang-up job with its own—and the possibilities of a totally digital E3 are huge. Imagine on-demand playable demos, for anyone. Imagine patching in a Twitter feed to ask questions during the event or something like a Reddit AMA session. There will never be a better time for studios to connect to their audiences, and that's a development that's hard not to approve of. Sure, there's something to be said for the big booth and the special event, the chance to shake a developer's hand and talk to same in person. But the sheer success of the Twitch event makes it clear: it's a lot less necessary to be in the room now than it ever was.