GOTV - The Impact to Streaming and "Shoutcasters"
The other night a well known CS player (it was you, Moe) spent some time streaming the ESWC matches and adding his own commentary (and artwork on the overview screen apparently) while watching via the ESWC GOTV broadcast. And he pulled in over 1,300 viewers, all while at 2-4AM EST. With the release of GOTV, spectatorship of the game, especially key matches, will likely increase greatly-- but will that come at the expense of a decrease in Twitch.tv and similar stream services viewership? And how will it impact the ability for commentators to attract an audience?
Watching a live stream can be quite entertaining, even from the non-game-action perspective. You often get to watch a players reaction to shots, deaths, winning or losing a round, as well as listen to his/her team make their calls on Mumble, talk strategy, etc. But there's a big limit to this-- you have to watch only what the player you're watching can see.
But now with GOTV, you can join the GOTV server and spectate the player of your choice. In the past, it was common for viewers to spectate the player that was playing a particular spot on a given map so they could learn new angles, flashes, and tactics to use for their own matches. A live stream doesn't provide this ability. If you play upper on de_nuke, and the player you're watching on Twitch plays ramp, you may not learn a great deal on playing your usual position.
While that sounds great to some, what Moe showcased the other night/this morning, and again this afternoon, will likely be what we see moving forward. A GOTV/Streaming hybrid approach, as follows: Commentators (or shoutcasters, if you prefer) join a GOTV for a big match, and then live stream from their own PCs, hoping to attract viewers based on their ability to call a match. What does that mean for the game, the players, and the viewers?
Well today there are only a handful of well known, quality commentators around these days. However, you should expect to see more and more people give it a try using the model outlined above, hoping to attract more viewers than their "competitors". That will likely do a few things.
First, it'll weed out the not-so-great commentators and highlight the good ones, and you'll see the viewership #s tell that story very clearly. Second, it'll allow the CS:GO community to discover the next wave of commentators and give people the opportunity to showcase their ability to call a match, making the game more entertaining and engaging.
Third, it'll split the stream viewership into something like shown in the image above, where some watch one stream, some watch another, and some skip the streaming entirely to watch the GOTV broadcast instead. While I don't believe any CS:GO players are making full time money from their streams (yet), this can havre an impact on their wallets (small today, could be larger in the future).
Lastly and most important of all, it should get more people watching and hopefully interested in playing CS:GO, which is something that all of us CS:GO players and fans can appreciate and benefit from.
As a side note, Moe was on the team that won the last RyuLAN event, and was named the finals MVP. See below!