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Do You Stream?

Don’t look now but streaming may be the next big thing in video games. At least, it’s certainly having “a moment,” though that’s understating the fact that more people are streaming their content than ever. And that goes beyond what you may expect. Sure, there are plenty of console gamers using streaming to watch films, play demos, and whatnot, and that’s great. But what I’m referring to exactly is the act of streaming your own content so that people can watch you play.

That’s right: video games are as much as spectator sport as they are, well, an actual “sport” themselves. Don’t believe me? Just read this article about how colleges are becoming “breeding grounds” for professional gamers and get back to me. But I digress, as the point here is that people have become increasingly interested in watching others play their game of choice. To be fair, the act of spectating in gaming primarily resides in the land of PC gaming, with huge titles like League of Legends leading the way. But still, consoles old and new are getting their time to shine in the streaming spotlight, what with this one guy’s recent record-breaking, glitch-fueled finish of Super Mario World.

But it’s not just your standard video games that are getting in on the streaming action. One of the biggest games, in general, of the past 15 years is getting in on the trend: poker. Sure, you may argue that card games and their tournaments have been streamed in some fashion—televised, really—since the poker’s explosion a decade or so ago. That may be true, but this is different. The topic is explored in this FlushDraw article, which reveals that some poker players are vastly changing how the game is presented and consumed. At least, they’re trying to through services such as Twitch and, of course, YouTube. FlushDraw argues that this can also be a new revenue stream for players when their channels get popular enough, noting that less than 2,000 people were viewing poker matches on Twitch at the time. That being said, most things like this start out small and gradually work their way up the popularity ladder, espe
cially with the right people behind it.

Anyone interested in watching these games take place should take an obvious step and learn about them before plopping down on their chair, couch, whatever to do so. When it comes to video games, the means of doing so is pretty easy, as you can simply look up videos, articles (like some of our reviews), etc. on the game you’re about to watch or, you know, you can actually play it yourself. As for poker, well, that’s a bit more difficult because you may not know anyone who plays and if they do, they may not be doing it right. It may be time to read up on how to play the most well-known variant, Texas Hold’em, which will likely be the one you’re watching. You can do exactly that in this guide, where you can learn about other poker variants, too, if you do some clicking around.

So what do you, the reader, think about all of this? Is streaming just another trend that’s sure to die down or is it here to say? Personally, it’s feeling like streaming isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and that could mean some very interesting things for gaming in general in the coming years.

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