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Why do people watch others play video games? An empirical study on the motivations of Twitch users

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)985-996
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Early online date30 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


This study investigates why people choose to watch others play video games, on services such as Twitch. Through a questionnaire study (N = 1097), we examine five distinct types of motivations from the uses and gratifications perspective: cognitive, affective, personal integrative, social integrative and tension release. Information seeking is shown to be positively associated with the amount of hours that users chose to spend on the service, as well as the amount of individual streamers they choose to watch. Furthermore, we find that tension release, social integrative and affective motivations are positively associated with how many hours people watch streams. We also find that social integrative motivations are the primary predictor of subscription behaviour. This study lays the groundwork for understanding the motivations to consume this emerging form of new media in the context of online games and video streams.


  • Streaming, Uses and gratifications, eSports, Media usage, Let's play

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland