Do you prefer to wage war as the humanoid Terran species, or as the scientifically advanced Protoss? Or perhaps you prefer the thrill of a Zerg rush? Whichever race is your favorite, there’s no denying the fact that excitement is still in the gaming air since last Monday’s release of StarCraft II, the much anticipated sequel to the classic real-time strategy computer game that is far from just “WarCraft in space.”
The original game was released over 12 years ago by Blizzard Entertainment, and much has changed in the gaming industry since then. One of the most fascinating evolutions of how fans digest games is due to the rise of online video sharing services like YouTube. These days, the fun of games like StarCraft isn’t limited to the one’s actually playing it; gaming is now a massively popular spectator sport as gameplay videos garner millions of views from fans across the globe.
In an article from NPR’s All Tech Considered blog, writer Jeremy Pennycook profiled HuskyStarcraft and HD – a pair of e-game sportscasters. The duo’s SportsCenter-esque play-by-play of recorded StarCraft matches have enthralled millions of viewers – both those familiar with the game and those who had never heard of it before.
“Despite neither Husky nor HD having a sports casting background, viewers flock to their online videos,” writes Pennycook. “Between the two channels they have more 250,000 subscribers. That is five times more than ESPN’s channel. They combine for 80 million plus views and are the fourth and fifth most subscribed to channels, respectively, of all time under the “Reporters” category. That translates into an average 100,000 views per upload.”
Gameplay videos from all kinds of games have been shared and broadcast online for a while now, but it is exciting to see the evolution continue into the world of play-by-play, commentary and highlight reels. We likely won’t see video games on SportsCenter any times soon, but the enormous popularity of the genre will likely continue to blossom right along with the gaming industry itself.