Tags: Video | Games | Twitch | Bezos

Video Games Turn US Into Nation of Watchers

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Tuesday, 02 Sep 2014 01:45 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Almost $1 billion was spent on a new video channel where millions now watch others playing video games. Sign of the once-over-lightly culture that now engulfs society?
 
Jeff Bezos’ $970 million cash-on-the-barrel deal is the biggest acquisition in Amazon’s history. It is buying Twitch, a website on which people watch other people play video games. How many? Some 5.5 million at a single sitting that lasts several hours.
 
Amazon’s revenue is now pushing $100 billion a year.
 
Extrapolating, it is hardly surprising that 90 percent of the American public wants to stay home rather than get involved again with ground troops in Iraq for Round 3.
 
We are apparently slowly morphing from a nation of doers to one of watchers. Stats now prove that people like watching other people play video games. Special couches for prone TV game watching are probably next.
 
Twittering half-moron status could be next on the road to decline and fall.
 
Newspaper readers are a dying breed. Average age: 55. Most adults now get their news online from a wide variety of sources, many of them of dubious value.
 
Twitch, with 58 percent of its 55 million viewers watching 20 plus hours a week of others playing video games, averages 540,000 primetime viewers, beating almost all cable networks.
 
Twitch's biggest attractions, reports Colleen Taylor, a reporter for TechCrunch and the editorial director for TechCrunch TV, are “League of Legends,” “DOTA 2,” and “Call of Duty.”
 
At any time of day or night, Twitch is drawing an average of almost 1 million viewers, much more than most cable networks.
 
DOTA 2, developed by the Valve Corp., recently carried $11 million in prize money. And global revenue for TV games is now reported to be $20 billion more than the music industry’s and is rapidly catching up to the movie business.
 
As explained online, DOTA-2 has a fanatical following of tens of millions of gamers worldwide — played professionally and casually by countless millions of passionate fans.
 
“Players pick from a pool of over 100 heroes, forming two teams of five characters each. Radiant heroes then battle their DOTA counterparts to control a fantasy landscape, waging campaigns of cunning stealth and outright warfare,” all from the comfort of your bed or couch.
 
The new indolent craze of video games is now known as “e-sports.” And e-sport stars make over $1 million a year watched by millions of adoring fans.
 
Internet games have swept the globe. Many of the youngsters we almost kill daily as they cross a street against a red light are glued to online stars playing e-sports.
 
Ben Popper in The Verge website reports, “Given Jeff Bezos’ ambitions (He bought The Washington Post from the Graham family in 2013 for $250 million), it’s no surprise he’s willing to pay almost $1 billion to remain a contender for the future. Luckily for him, Amazon’s reputation for sacrificing profits in favor of ambitious bets convinced Twitch the house of Bezos was the best place to keep building.”
 
There are now 3.5 billion — half planet earth’s population — on Twitter (and other social media) who read about the world in 140 character bursts. National governments and their activities become irrelevant; distant conflicts of little concern.
 
There is also virtual reality gaming. As explained online, “a player, or watcher, can experience being in a three-dimensional environment and interact with that environment during a game.”
 
And there is also “bio-sensing,” which is the way “of detecting a person’s presence in a game.”
 
Fasten your seat belt. “These are small sensors which are attached in a data-glove, suit, or even the body and record movements made by that person in a 3-D space. These movements are then interpreted by a computer and trigger a variety of responses within that space.”
 
As part of a “driving game,” you wear a data glove with sensors attached . . . they record the way your hand moves as part of the game, say, when turning the wheel in a particular direction.”
 
These movements are then fed back to a computer “which analyzes the data and uses this to transform your actions into the appropriate responses on the screen.”
 
“Second Life” is the most popular “virtual world” experienced by millions since its creation 11 years ago.
 
This enables one to visit a virtual world and interact with other people in the form of a virtual person or avatar . . . designed by you and in whatever form you want.”
 
This also enables you to build virtual properties and engage in any form of activity from astronaut to champion lover.
 
By now, you have forgotten about Iraq, Syria, and ISIS, all now part of a real-world fantasy.
 
Noted editor and journalist Arnaud de Borchgrave is an editor at large for United Press International. He is a founding board member of Newsmax.com who now serves on Newsmax's Advisory Board. Read more reports from Arnaud de Borchgrave — Click Here Now.
 
 

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Almost $1 billion was spent on a new video channel where millions now watch others playing video games. Sign of the once-over-lightly culture that now engulfs society?
Video, Games, Twitch, Bezos
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2014-45-02
Tuesday, 02 Sep 2014 01:45 PM
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