Many things about YouTube fascinate me: the apparent decision of nearly everyone to go easy on copyright, the distinct possibility that it's enabling post-literate human culture, the many good and creative things it also enables, and how the comments section is still an absolute cesspool of humanity.
One of the most intriguing phenomena on YouTube of late is the tendency for folks to record themselves playing video games and post it online. Sometimes, they even stream it live. What's strange about this fact is that other people then watch the videos or streams—sometimes in evidently large numbers and for long spans of time.
That's time that could be spent, you know, playing video games.
My question is: why? What's the attraction, and how is it sufficient to take time from actual gaming?
I have some theories, but I'd love to hear your input—especially if watching other people play games on video is something you enjoy.