This has become a common game for me recently: which NYtimes article will cover a topic that I knew was a good story but didn’t get around to covering?
Today was the news of Amazon’s purchase of a gaming company that doesn’t make games, but instead provides a forum for people to watch other people play video games.
I’ve been watching my nieces and nephews for a couple years stare into Youtube, watching other people play video games, as if they were watching a movie. This was an extremely weird newly passive way of consuming video games and I suspected that this was a broader phenomenon.
I had brought the idea up in the newsroom about six months ago when I was pitching story ideas but no one else had heard of it at the time and I hadn’t done much research. I had recently read at the bottom of an article that the most popular Youtube channel was from a Scandinavian 20-something named PewdiePie, who makes millions playing video games for a living–so I knew it was almost certainly a trend. I sent off an email, to see if he was interested, but I suspected it wouldn’t get through to him, that if it did he would have much better offers and, my deadline for producing a story idea was too soon, so I knew I really couldn’t follow up on the story with all of my other commitments at the time. But if I was more confident in my news judgement I could’ve found someone else who is equally captivating.
And today the ‘game watching’ industry appeared on “page one” for a billion dollar Amazon purchase. If I had an article already to go, largely researched and interviewed, I could probably sell it pretty quickly right now. But now everyone is being assigned the more in depth version of the news story that came out today.