It is no secret that gaming has become a more social hobby than ever. You only have to look as far as the PlayStation 4’s incredibly user-friendly capabilities for streaming, recording, editing, and uploading footage. Sure, it might not be as big as any given League of Legends tournament or some other established Internet personality, but it allows you to create your own unique online community within a larger one.
Virtually all parties involved benefit from this ease of sharing. Players get to share their love for a game they really found themselves enjoying or riffing on an unbelievably bad game riddled with questionable design choices. Developers get cheap advertising so presumably they like it. The viewers get a whole slew of benefits: entertainment, a more in-depth look at a game they might be interested in, or a new take on a game they may have already played, and maybe most importantly they get a cool place to just hang out and chat with likeminded individuals.
Now whether or not that is an appropriate substitute for face-to-face interaction is another question but as it stands it is an emerging and engaging forum of discussion and entertainment for gamers that is incredibly easy to get into and not only that but fairly versatile forms of entertainment ranging from simple hangouts, to tournaments, to amazingly successful charities like Awesome Games Done Quick done by Speed Demos Archive that raised $1,000,000 USD in a week for the Prevent Cancer Foundation.
These gaming marathons streamed for charity can still be considerably esoteric and challenging in their setup—not to mention expensive—but it is likely that as the PS4 and Xbox One libraries grow these types of streams might become even more common, not to mention just how simple it is to get going with a stream on these consoles. A successful charity and fundraiser foster community, which streams demonstrate impeccably in a variety of ways. This is particularly true for larger endeavors such as Awesome Games Done Quick because they can supplement their streams with a forum of some kind for viewers to return to when there is no stream and continue their conversations.
As gaming continues to evolve in this new and social direction, it is likely that its culture at large will grow to become more expansive and more inclusive as its communal strengths are bolstered by this ease of use. A successful stream would do well to encourage participation and engage its audience because there is frankly no better way to build that unique sense of camaraderie that these venues are capable of creating. Because of how varied streamed content can be, there is a little something for everyone.