Whenever I mention to someone who isn’t as invested in gaming/gaming culture as I am, that I will often just throw on a stream of someone playing a video game, they inevitbly make some offhand comment: “How is that entertaining? Isn’t it boring to watch someone else play a video game?”
This comic from loadingartist.com makes the point very clear.
For me I’m often in the mood for video games but not in the mood to play, I lack that motivation because I’m mentally fatigued. The nice thing about watching a stream on Twitch or YouTube is that it lets me just sit back and chill with someone else who does all of that hard work for me. Often times this is the best way to determine if a game is worth playing or purchasing. It’s also fun to watch someone else who is skillful at certain genre of game or play-style: speed runs, no-kill runs, setting insane challenges for themselves, etc.
I recognize that the chats in many of these streaming sites is a hot mess of bigotry, sexism, and abuse. But that can be turned off, and/or curated by following gamers who are progressive and interested in keeping the gaming community positive and friendly. It is a mixed bag and the gaming community/culture has a ton of work to do when it comes to diversity and acceptance of voice that are often silenced. But watching a stream at the end of a day of work, sometimes it’s just what I need in order to let my mind melt a bit. It’s gaming adjacent.