Live streaming isn’t necessarily a new concept for interweb jockeys. Sites like USTREAM, Meerkat, Persiscope and LIVESTREAM already have various companies using their service to do live broadcasts of things such as interviews, behind the scenes features, How-To’s, and event coverage. These services really came to light as amateur journalists were live streaming the protests in Ferguson, MO. As a geek, though, this technology has seen a unique kind of usage that has grown and even enhanced the eSports genre many times over.

(pic via gizmodo.com) Meerkat allows you to livestream and then tweet your conversations with viewers as you broadcast.
(pic via gizmodo.com) Meerkat allows you to livestream and then tweet your conversations with viewers as you broadcast.

With origins going back to 2007 and Justin Kan’s lifecasting spree, this whole gamecasting trend seemingly began back in 2011 when lifecasting site Justin.tv changed things up to become Twitch.tv. Geared towards people watching gameplay of specific games rather than the generic catch-all search engine that Youtube has, Twitch.tv allowed players to finally have an audience as they play rather than simply recording a past gameplay session and playing it on Youtube.

So, why would anyone want to watch someone else play a video game you ask? Well, ask the millions of gamers that watch, follow, and subscribe to the various players and groups registered in the Twitch.tv community. Since it began, Twitch has seen developers join to promote their upcoming games, pro gamers display their training sessions while giving real time tips, pro tourneys casting their matches, and regular gamers entertaining their friends and strangers!

(pic via videogamewriters.com) Twitch creates channels based on video games so that you can always easily view the game you wish to view as streamers begin to stream.
(pic via videogamewriters.com) Twitch creates channels based on video games so that you can always easily view the game you wish to view as streamers begin to stream.

Twitch.tv has become such an alternative to the You-Tuber sensation that You-Tube itself has begun a competitive YouTube Gaming app that will compete with Twitch.tv. Apparently this form of You-Tube will allow for much of the same that Twitch.tv provides while making it easier for the channel owners to gain followers and subscribers and save their videos for all to witness.

Just as in the You-Tuber sensation, there are a number of Twitch.tv streamers that make enough money per month to sustain themselves as well. With subscribers paying $5 to subscribe to a streamer, some  actually have seen 6 digit profit in a year with thousands of new and repeat subscribers. On top of that, many users have a donation bin as well for those who only want to contribute to the cause of improving as well as sustaining the streamer. Then, once these streamers get a significant amount of followers, they can approach companies who may sponsor them. Take things a step further and their popularity will have them making paid guest appearances on other channels as well! Many an ambitious streamer have managed to pull together a regular schedule that has brought in a bit of money from their gaming and streaming efforts!

Believe me. As a gamer, there is nothing like getting your first couple of curious gamers who chat with you while you’re in the midst of a game. Some will ask you questions about the game and others will want to help you out. There are always the few trolls that will mock you and trash talk from time to time, but all in all you receive nice people.

Just like a TV channel, you can leave it off the air or even host other channels so that you always have content playing on your channel.
Just like a TV channel, you can leave it off the air or even host other channels so that you always have content playing on your channel.

Where the experience truly shines for me is when I’m conducting an interview or displaying Early Access video games that aren’t out for release yet. Moments like these truly bring in the curious ones and they are all full of great questions. They typically don’t care if you’re good at the game or not considering they are just hungry for any bit of clue on how the game plays, what you like or dislike about it, and so forth. Developers themselves use it for a closer and quicker form of Q&A as they reveal gameplay features and progress on the game as well.

As a result, days like Tuesday are typically heavy with viewers as the week’s new releases get a ton of players who want to show off the new game. The viewers who swarm the big name games typically are hungry to see how the game plays and if the players are pleased or disappointed as they play through.

Games like Dark Souls, DOTA, League of Legends, Minecraft, and so forth are typically high on the viewership due to their extreme difficulty or capacity for unique creativity. Those that do not understand the Minecraft craze would do themselves a huge favor by watching a few sessions of Minecraft live as the magic happens. Also, trying to figure out difficult MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games would learn quite a bit by watching a few pro or even semi-pro players go through a few sessions.

Others will even use channels to organize sports leagues or betting groups. For example, I’ve seen a few communities in the WWE2K franchise start an online league where players will take their custom wrestlers and battle it out on the channel while the others in the league bet on the winner and arrange the future matches as well. I’m certain similar things happen with sports games like Madden or NBA2K as well.

Game streaming is certainly in its infancy so it will be amazing to see how it grows and evolves. You-Tube’s entry into the market is sure to see a host of new features and changes as they try to catch up with Twitch.tv’s amazing run. In the meantime, be sure to watch our Twitch.tv channel and subscribe as well!

Watch live video from HeedGeekswagg on www.twitch.tv