WARNING: CRANKY RANT AHEAD
Amazon has acquired/merged/bought Twitch for something between 970 mil and 1.1 bil depending on your news source. Now, this next bit I have to explain very slowly because I'm still in shock even though it's been 12 hours since I heard the news clip on the CBC National last night. Bear with me. Twitch Interactive, Inc. is a streaming website where users watch other people play video games.
Users WATCH other users play video games.
Let that sink in for a minute. (God knows, a minute is all we can stand to think about anything these days.) It was suggested by a young gamer in the segment that this was similar to viewers watching televised sports. At this point I said "What the fuck?"
And now I have to do the unthinkable. I have to defend televised sports. There are three reasons why watching a kid playing video games is NOTHING like watching professional sports.
1) Athletes. Real people taking real hits. Watching a gamer get to the next level in a digital environment is not the same thing because a gamer is not an athlete. Watch if you must, but don't compare it to watching a professional athlete on the field/court/rink/track. And if you don't see why you can't, go outside and run around the block. For a year. See? Gaming is not athletics.
2) Risk. In professional sports, all the stakeholders have assumed a level of risk and responsibility. Money is on the line, careers and reputations. What's on the line for a gamer who screws up? Nada. Zip. Sitting in mom's basement, gaming on devices bought by one's parents is not a high risk endeavor.
3) Rarity. Few human beings are willing to put in the hours of training required to become pro athletes but there are hundreds of thousands of us willing to play games all day. Which makes gaming a hobby, not a profession. If watching people play video games is your thing then make it your thing. Give it your own designation. Unplug it from comparisons that are just plain insulting. I have no suggestions because to me it's the equivalent of watching nothing happen. Even paint drying has a purpose to it...
In conclusion, I want to congratulate Twitch and Amazon for driving this gym-loathing, sports-hating bookworm into defending professional sports! Nice going! Hell just froze over!