Watching streams is more popular and interactive than ever

December 18, 2020

Video games have become a popular pastime since their invention decades ago. However, new services like Twitch, YouTube Live, and other sites have added an interactive component by also showing skilled players in the corner of their screen on a livestream while viewers watch and cheer them on in chat. 

The live streamers will talk about the game, tell jokes or even ask the chat for advice. And it’s not just video games. Streamers will also do music, DIY and lifestyle content, and more.

While live streaming has gained popularity over the past decade, sites like Twitch and YouTube’s live content have skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic. With an average of more than 2.5 million viewers so far in December, Twitch has been the leading site for live streaming.

While many students enjoy viewing edited video content, some enjoy the experience of viewing content live because they are not just passive viewers. They can see the action in the moment.

“I think it’s the aspect of it being live and being able to interact with the content creator, see their reaction to the chat and even give them ideas is really cool,” junior Sharyq Siddiqi said.

Sharyq watches digital music, science and technology streams. In the live streams he watches, digital musicians challenge themselves to create a song in a certain genre in a limited time. He also enjoys watching creators edit and test code for games they create. 

Tech Nix, a junior, watches live streams of musicians who would otherwise play their music in person. Tech already listened to some artists before the pandemic meant concerts were canceled. Now that artists cannot do live shows, some are doing live streams. 

“So I started watching to get that feel of live music,” Tech said.

Live streaming can also serve as a relief between schoolwork and remote learning.

“For me it’s more of an extended video that I can watch while working on homework or creative projects,” sophomore Lorelei Deaken said.

Lorelei watches live video game playthroughs on YouTube from creators who have edited content she has seen in the past.

There is also an option for viewers to interact with the creators and talk to them in live chat. Viewers can make comments or suggestions and talk about the live stream with one another. 

“The best part is that you’re there when it’s happening,” junior Yannik Leuz said. “There’s no editing, so you can see the whole story and also the content creators are talking about something interesting and interacting with the viewer.”

Eventually, the chat will bubble down and the streamer will turn off their camera, but there is always more to watch — and all of it is live.

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