All hail Twitch, the Amazon-owned platform that made it possible for everyone to enjoy video games without owning a state of the art computer – or even play for that matter. The Twitch revolution is upon us and the upshot is quite clear – “PopCorn Gamers”.
What are popcorn gamers, though, unless it’s just a gamer who likes eating popcorn? Well, just as there are people going to the movies, because they love films, there are others that go to the movies because of the popcorn. While some of us tend to be esports enthusiasts and others love to game themselves, there is a third kind – that of the gaming viewer – a “PopCorn Gamer”.
Popcorn gamers are not a new breed, but they are having the best time of their lives. Tired from work or simply not too willing to play themselves, these gamers are now able to watch others play for their pleasure.
In fact, 14% of all female game enthusiasts are popcorn gamers themselves. Remember how in the past we would mostly stick to two main categorizations of gamers, i.e. casual and hardcore. Today there are all sorts out there and popcorn gaming is one of them.
A PopCorn Gaming Generation
Granted, 10 years ago there wasn’t so much things to see. You could still watch YouTube playthrough videos and even check out a streamer on Twitch, but the technology was rather limited and it wasn’t necessarily very easy for popcorn gamers to emerge as such a global movement.
Today, however, with 100 million people tuning in to see the League of Legends finals or people going at arenas to watch Overwatch League games, the popcorn gaming generation is becoming a force to be reckoned with – plain and simple.
Cars, Fortnite & Slot Machines – All Have PopCorn Gamers
Popcorn gamers seem to have a natural inclination to enjoy themselves by watching others play, just about anything. Not much is studied in regards to the games they watch, or don’t watch, or into the reasons of why they do it. Even though the details cannot be pinpointed it’s a fact that gaming videos get millions of views each day on services like Twitch and YouTube. In fact, 86% of gamers confirm that they have days when they prefer to simply watch a game rather than play themselves. This specifically applies to competitive games like Overwatch, League of Legends, StarCraft II and many more.
Why do you think that is?
Because a player who appreciates the best players in each respective game is aware as to their own limitations of time, effort and ultimately skill. If you cannot play as well as another player, it might be better to spend your time watching them and possibly deriving higher pleasure from the experience.
But it’s not only competitive games like Fortnite that are popular to watch. Angry Birds, Minecraft and Cars 2HD are all in the list of the top 30 games with most views on YouTube. These games are very popular with children but what about money games?
First of all, does anyone stream his own money gambling and if so, do people really enjoy watching someone else lose, or win, on games like slot machines? The answer is yes, to both questions. Some of the most popular streaming accounts owned by slot players have around 1 million subscribers on YouTube. Big win videos of course attract a large number of views but the jackpot videos are actually very few compared to the overall number of casino videos. This implies that there is a large group of “popcorn gamers” that simply enjoy watching others spin the wheels on these machines, hour after hour, sharing the excitement of casino games uncertainty, just out of a chance to be there in the action, when or if, the gamer will hit a big win.
Now, not much is studied on this subject yet, to probe what motivates popcorn gamers, but there are a few that support underlying reasons like tension release, information seeking and social integrative. Waiting for more research on this topic we largely rely on the diligent research of NewZoo.
Everyone Loves The PopCorn Gamer
The term “PopCorn Gamer” is relatively new. With more than 2 billion “gamers”, almost 1⁄3 of the world population (!), it’s understandable that there are several subtypes of gamers. Other subtypes of gamers include backseat viewer, time filler, hardware enthusiast and many more it’s the PopCorn Gamer that has received most attention. This type of gamer is a beloved kind by game developers, investors, smartphone brands and even professional players. Why? Because they help boost interest in the product or game immensely. By tuning in to watch, a game can gain prominence on a platform as Twitch, an app that also allows you to stream to your channel directly by using the camera on your mobile phone.
As a result, other players – such as time-fillers – might actually catch a game they like and start playing themselves.
How Apex Legends Got 2 Million New Players
Let’s give you a simple example. When EA released Apex Legends in 2019, the game went wildly popular for one specific reason only – Tylor “Ninja” Blevins, a popular Fortnite streamer, had agreed to stream Apex Legends, which drove an insane amount of viewership for a brand new game that nobody had tested by that time.
In just a few days, there were 2 million people playing with the game overtaking Fortnite on Twitch as the most-watched game. It brought a fair share of popcorn gamers along with it as well!
This just goes to show that viewing games are a huge business and one that is likely to continue successfully grow and develop in the future. Popcorn gamers are an interesting breed, but besides the terminology, they are not new.
As mentioned above, even kids sometimes prefer to watch other players, rather than participate themselves – especially if the game is ‘too complicated’ like Minecraft. Many of the games today have a decent learning edge, specifically when it comes to competitive video gaming.
All things considered, the popcorn gaming generation is finally in the spotlight and that’s just about right. After all these years of tracking down YouTube videos and hoping to find the specific games they are interested in, the hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of people out there finally have a way to enjoy gaming the way they have always wanted to.
By simply watching others play!