It’s difficult to understand gaming vids. Why sit there and watch someone else play when you could just… play? We asked gamers directly to find out. The findings of a recent study reveal four important reasons why people watch gaming content. Knowing these motives can help marketers make more meaningful connections with gamers.
Let this sink in if you’re still startled that gaming isn’t just something you can like doing—but also something you can enjoy watching: 48% of YouTube gamers claim they spend more time on YouTube viewing gaming videos than playing games. 3
The ramifications for brands are significant. Gamers are a powerful demographic with significant spending power. To fully engage, though, you must first understand why people watch game-related video content.
To be a member of something bigger than oneself, for the community
To play a game is to immerse yourself in new, fascinating worlds. It has the potential to be entertaining. It has the potential to be engrossing. It has the potential to be completely enthralling. However, being alone with your screen can be isolating.
That is why the emergence of a gaming community is so impressive. Online communities allow gamers to break through barriers and celebrate the characters and settings they love with other real people who share their passion. “Gaming is a simple thing to bond over, and it transcends a lot of other normal roadblocks for communicating with people,” Salina, 25, said.
According to Ipsos, YouTube is where 56 percent of YouTube gamers communicate with their gaming community.
4 Gamers may double their love for the pastime, their favourite games, and the gaming community as a whole by engaging socially through “let’s plays,” walk-throughs, response videos, and reviews. “I enjoy the sense of camaraderie you get on YouTube, especially for gaming,” Jordan, 24, says. “I follow this guy Dunkey, and he’s awesome, but what I really enjoy is reading the comments on his page and watching the reactions to his videos.”
For the sake of acceptance—to feel accepted
If you still believe in misconceptions about gamers, now is the moment to let them go. The demographics of gamers are probably not what you believe. Today’s gamers come in many shapes and sizes, and anyone you know could be a gamer—your boss, your neighbour, or your barista. “It doesn’t matter what you look like or how old you are, because if you appreciate video games, you enjoy video games,” Naomi, 27, said. That is what distinguishes you as a gamer.”
Female gamers, who have found other women to interact with and learn from on YouTube, value inclusivity in particular. 66 percent of female YouTube gamers, according to Ipsos, watch gaming videos on YouTube when they want to hear from someone they can connect to. 5 As Salina, 25, described it, it’s no longer a “guys’ club.” “And being inspired by someone you like is so much more powerful.”
To have a good time—to get away from it all
Gaming has risen in popularity as a spectator sport. 73 percent of YouTube gamers said they love watching others play games on YouTube, according to Ipsos. 6 Why? People may watch a movie or read a novel for the same reasons.
Maybe it’s just for a good chuckle. “You see these folks having fun and being goofy,” Scott, 27, explained. It communicates with me.” Maybe they’re hoping to be swept up in someone else’s adventure and get a rush from it. Jennifer, 36, like gaming videos because they “put you in a position to experience something,” she added. I’ll never go skydiving or bungee jumping, but stuff like this makes my heart race.” It’s also sometimes just a matter of taking a break. “I don’t always want to play,” Jordan, 24, explained. Sometimes all I want to do is unwind and watch someone else play.”