The Rise of Video Gaming As Media
Once upon a time, we would play video games and casino games like GGbet slots alone and settle for it. Multiplayer features weren’t so important: playing games was a personal experience, and getting an immersive single-player experience was paramount. Nowadays, this situation has changed a lot: most of us want to “watch”, not “play” anymore. Channels like YouTube Gaming and Twitch have changed the video games experience noticeably. This change has been so effective that we can say that video games have turned into media in their own right. So how did this change happen, and what does it involve? We will answer these questions below.
Streaming Changed Everything
First of all, let’s point out that the number of stream viewers has increased incredibly in a short time. This rate of growth is impressive enough to make streaming an independent industry. In 2016, YouTube Gaming had 29 million viewers. In 2018, this number reached 84 million. In 2020, more than 200 million people watch gaming content on YouTube every day. We can now even say that streaming services are separated from each other in terms of content. YouTube Gaming has evolved into a platform used for general-purpose gaming. Twitch, on the other hand, is mostly preferred for watching esports events. Just like TV channels, streaming channels have different “areas of expertise” and appeal to different audiences.
Moreover, the audience does not consist of only hardcore players like before. Statistics show that the number of viewers over the age of 25 and women is gradually increasing. As of 2020, 68% of streaming viewers are men, and 32% are women. But with the advent of general-purpose streaming channels, the number of female audiences is increasing. Because these platforms no longer just stream games: there are many broadcasters who want to chat, share recipes or broadcast live while travelling. Each of these has the following audience as large as the popular “player” streamers.
In fact, just this data shows why streaming has turned into media. What do you expect from the media? It can offer different content through different channels and appeal to different types of viewers, right? Streaming channels have all of these and more. They are hardly different from 24-hour live TV channels – only that their content is created by normal people, not journalists. Imagine being a rival to CNN by broadcasting live from your living room: this is what streamers do. For the same reason, each stream is a media type in its own right. Games, recipes, nature walks, chats – there are even stream groups of people watching a series together.
But Games Are Still the King
But of course, gaming streams still make up the most popular content. According to Twitch statistics, the top 5 most popular games are Fortnite (9%), League of Legends (8%), World of Warcraft (7%), GTA V (6%), and DOTA 2 (5%). All other games have a share of 45% – almost 50% of Twitch streams are made up of these 5 games. However, all newly released games temporarily change the order of this list. For example, the recently released Assassins Creed Valhalla became one of the most popular games (top three) for a few days. In other words, streamers start playing as soon as a new game is released so they can keep their content fresh. Moreover, approximately 50% of the players say that they make their purchasing decisions after watching the streams of these games. For the same reason, most producers distribute special license keys for streamers to start playing a few days before the game is released. This was also the case with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: streams started a week before the game was released, and we can say that the purchase figures were positively affected.
This creates an interesting result: other media rely on advertisements to sell a product. So they have to cut the broadcast and show commercials for a certain period of time, and they have difficulty reaching their audience. When was the last time you watched TV commercials without changing channels? Game streams are not like that because the product itself is the subject of the broadcast. For example, you wouldn’t watch a detergent commercial that lasted for a minute, but a streamer who uses that product and shares his experiences can be watched for hours. Ads that reach the consumer directly and no one changes channels – this is the dream of all agencies in the world.
So, streaming services are not just media, they are also changing the way ads are served. Every product or service that has a stream also acts as an advertisement. Esports tournaments, on the other hand, offer many opportunities for advertising agencies to express their creativity. Not many agencies understand that it is not necessary to use TV channels and websites to reach the consumer, but we anticipate that this will change in the near future. The new generation uses different media, and different advertising tactics must be used.