When did watching others play games become popular?


Around 20 years ago, you would have been called mad if you wanted to watch a friend or sibling play GoldenEye instead of joining in yourself. But now in 2016? It’s common for many to happily watch someone blitz through a few levels on YouTube with your morning coffee. So, what happened over that time period? Well, technology not only changed, but likely the perception of gaming too.

To begin with, these online gamers are often better than us – a lot better. Whether they simply have more time or are simply more talented, they can play games in a way that we never could. If it was Call of Duty multiplayer, for example, we might as well have a water pistol to fight them. But if you can’t beat ‘em, then watch ‘em. It can be hugely entertaining to take yourself out of the process, and simply be a spectator. You learn tips, be inspired, and entertained all at once.

Quite simply, the technology we have now is astounding. To think that potentially millions of people could watch someone play a game in real-time is a true testament to ingenuity. Twitch and YouTube Gaming have allowed talented gamers to broadcast their videos to anyone who is interested. And if you’re good enough, then people will watch. Similarly, YouTube in general has slowly evolved from fail videos and cute dogs to a platform to earn an actual living playing video games. The thought that it’s possible to turn a hobby into a job when it comes to YouTube has definitely been grasped by some. Here are a few from the list of the most popular YouTube personalities who make gaming videos.



PewDiePie’s channel is an in-depth look into the serious business of video gaming, and contains some great thought-provoking discussions. Just kidding, PewDiePie is one of the most outrageous and loud YouTubers on the website – and he’s also the most popular in the world with over 49 million subscribers. Expect lots of shouting, weird accents, flashy graphics, and a ton of swearing. Definitely aimed at the younger teenage audience, PewDiePie essentially plays games and commentates on them. But hey, 49 million people can’t be wrong.



Although he has branched off into music, comedy sketches, and football videos, KSI (over 15 million subscribers) still attracts the same audience as PewDiePie with his gaming observations. Everything from dating simulators to horror games gets the KSI treatment, but the FIFA series is ultimately what got KSI his initial fame. Not only providing running commentary to his matches, KSI also challenges other online comedians and even real footballers to a FIFA 17 match. But it’s no doubt his ‘FIFA funnies’ series that earned him global recognition. Showcasing weird glitches found in the FIFA games, it’s KSI’s often hilarious dialogue that makes these videos top-notch.



Capitalizing on the popularity of a little game called Minecraft, CaptainSparklez (over 9 million subscribers) is easily one of the world’s most influential YouTubers to cover the pixelated phenomenon. With a commentary style that is perhaps less in-your-face than PewDiePie or KSI, CaptainSparklez presents often 20-minute videos of his romps around the Minecraft world. Other games may sneak into his video feed from time to time but, for Minecraft fans, this is a go-to channel.

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  • XCWarrior

    This concept still makes 0 cents to me. I hated when it wasn’t my turn in the 90s, and I sure as heck am not going to use some of my little free time watching others play.