Motivations for streaming video games

Data Collected: July 15-17, 2015
Sample: RapidPoll of video game streamers in the US

The availability and viewership of streamed video games is skyrocketing. Over 1.5 million unique broadcasters stream 11 million videos per month (http://www.twitch.tv/year/2014). What motivates these casters to stream their gameplay? In a recent RapidPoll, we asked 400 eSports streamers in the United States exactly that: When playing PC or video games, why do you stream your gameplay? We found there are a variety of extrinsic and intrinsic motivations for streaming gameplay.

From a previous RapidPoll, we know that about 11% of gamers stream their gameplay. We wanted to dig deeper and find out what was behind their desire to stream gameplay. The 10 most common motivations are shown in “Motivations of Gameplay Streamers” below.

These motivations can be used to segment game streamers into three general types: Sharers, Socializers, and Fame Seekers. While some people demonstrated motivations from multiple types, most had one type that was more dominant than the others.

Sharers (58%)

Sharers are motivated primarily by sharing their gameplay experience with others. There may be a variety of reasons they like to share:

  • Entertainers (29%) enjoy providing an entertaining experience for others and providing their own unique commentary to their gameplay. Their primary goal is to entertain others.
  • Performers (17%) enjoy sharing their gameplay experiences for self-fulfillment purposes. They simply enjoy sharing their gaming experience and share it with the goal of entertaining themselves.
  • Teachers  (10%) want to share their expertise and help other players when they get stuck or provide strategy tips.

Motivations that influence sharers include entertaining (others or themselves) and helping others.

Socializers (43%)

Socializers are motivated by the social aspects that bring gamers together. They enjoy interacting with and building relationships with their audience.

  • Friends and Family Gamers (21%) use streaming gameplay to stay connected and share gameplay experiences with their friends. They stream their gameplay specifically so that they can share their gaming experiences with their friends and family.
  • Hosts (15%) enjoy interacting with their audience in real-time through online chat features. They like to engage with their audience and perhaps even interact with them in the games they play.
  • Achievers (7%) want to get feedback from other players to improve their own skills, whether that be in video editing/production, communication and public speaking, or their game skills.

Motivations that influence socializers include playing with friends, interacting with the audience, receiving feedback, and community building.

Fame Seekers (19%)

Fame Seekers are motivated by the possible personal gains they can receive from their streaming activity: celebrated status within the gaming community, potential income from monetizing their streams.

  • Peacocks (14%) want to show off their skills in a particular game and gain recognition or fame for their ability. It isn’t necessarily about being famous, but about being recognized for their skill.
  • Monetizers (7%) stream their gameplay in the hopes of generating a supplemental or career income from advertising revenue, sponsorship, and other revenue streams related to their gameplay streaming.

Motivations that influence Fame Seekers include gaining recognition or status and monetization.

Other Findings

Looking more at the data, there are a few interesting nuggets of information to be gleaned.

  • The Selfless Generation? Gameplay streamers age 35-44 were twice as likely to list “Help Others” as their primary motivation (21% in this age group vs. 10% overall) . Additionally, about half as many in this age group were “Fame Seekers” (11% vs. 19% overall). That is, they were not as interested in extrinsic rewards such as celebrity status or monetization.
  • Socializers slightly trended down with age. Younger streamers were more likely to have social motivations for streaming their gameplay than older casters.

Next week we look at why people watch gameplay streams. Make sure you subscribe to our newsletter so you will be notified of future reports.