Fans at TwitchCon in the San Diego Convention Center on September 29, 2019 in San Diego. MARTIN GARCIA/ESPAT MEDIA/GETTY IMAGES

Playing video games is probably the safest thing to do during a global pandemic.

By Chris Milligan

Chattanooga, TENN (mocsnews) – COVID-19 has many people bored at home with nothing but time on their hands because of issued stay-at-home orders. So, what better reason to cure the boredom than to watch someone stream a video game.

Although the idea of streaming a video game is not new but watching some play for hours can be seem like a silly concept when you can play it yourself.

Twitch App

Video game streaming platforms like Twitch, YouTube Live and Mixer, Twitch being the more popular of them, have all seen an increase in viewers over the past several months due to the global pandemic. Twitch’s average viewers went from 1.4 million at the beginning of the year to almost 2.5 million in June according to TwitchTracker.

Average viewership graph from TwitchTracker.com

New releases and updates for video games have also been a contributor to the viewership increase. The battle royal style games Call of Duty Warzone and Fortnite had new battle pass season updates in June. Both games had almost 200,000 viewers watching at that time. Valorant, a new game by the makers of League of Legends, released its closed beta at the beginning of April and had an average of 580,000 viewers during the first few weeks of the release.

Chattanooga resident and Twitch streamer Dillon Bartlett started streaming a couple years ago. Prior to the stay-at-home orders he mentioned only having a few people view his stream. Now, he has upwards to 30 people watching him on any day. Dillon says that he enjoys the increased viewership, because he is able to interact with more people during his streams.

Cody Petty, a resident of Chattanooga as well, enjoys watching different streamers because he is able to see which games, he wanted to buy for himself.

“Being a full-time employee made it difficult for me to find time to watch some of my favorite Twitch streamers,” Petty said. “Now that I am spending more time at home due to COVID I get to watch all of my favorite streamers.”

The average Joe is not the one using Twitch during this quarantine time. Allie Long, a member of the women’s United States national soccer team, has turned to video game streaming while staying at home and has grown quite the fan base. Long has stated that she puts soccer before streaming but enjoys streaming when she can. Now, she has become a Twitch star and plays in different tournaments to help raise money for charities.

It is hard to tell if things will go back to a “normal” or if the people who have taken up streaming as a new alternative means stop. However, it is clear that video game streaming and watching is a secure way to practice social distancing and still keep in contact with people.

About Chris Milligan

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