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Your Move: The ESPN Of Video Games

Hugo Phan

A few weeks ago, news broke that Amazon.com was buying a website named Twitch.tv for nearly a billion dollars. When I told some of my coworkers about the deal, the most common reaction I got was, “Huh? What’s Twitch?”

Twitch is a website that lets gamers stream a video of their gameplay over the internet. At any given time, there are tens of thousands of people watching gamers on Twitch, and nearly 45 million viewers per month. In fact, Twitch has more prime-time viewers than many cable networks.

Currently, the most popular game on Twitch is League of Legends - as I write this, there are more than 150,000 people watching gamers play the game. Last year, The League of Legends Championship series was the most watched video stream on the site, and was arguably the biggest gaming tournament of the year, with $2 million in prizes. Personally, I don’t much care for playing League of Legends, but watching experts play the game at a level far above anything I’d ever be able to compete at is enthralling.

But of course that’s not the only game on Twitch - you can watch people play StarCraft, Minecraft, Destiny, Street Fighter, or even speed-run through classic games like Super Mario World. Earlier this year, a channel called “Twitch Plays Pokémon” was online, which was a stream of the original Game Boy Pokémon, which the viewers could play by inputting commands in the stream’s chat. It was chaotic, but after 16 days, the viewers actually beat the game.

Twitch even has its own celebrities - people who have turned streaming into a full time job. If you can find an audience, it’s pretty easy to do. You can subscribe to a channel to support your favorite stream, and the streamer gets that money directly.

And if you want to try streaming your own gameplay, it’s easy - there are computer programs you can install to stream your PC games, and both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One can stream to Twitch without having to install anything extra.

Sam's Live Steam Of "Destiny."

Watch live video from kyouteki on www.twitch.tv

Samuel McConnell is a games enthusiast who has been playing games in one form or another since 1991. He was born in northern Maine but quickly transplanted to Wichita.