“From March through August, people watched 41.2 million hours of chess on Twitch.”
Kellen Browning, New York Times
The New York Times headline says it all: “Chess (Yes, Chess) Is Now a Streaming Obsession.” Chess, the sleepy, commodified great grandfather of all board games, is a hit with young, hip fans. Here is how New York Times author, Kellen Browning, puts it:
Since the pandemic began, viewership of live chess games has soared. From March through August, people watched 41.2 million hours of chess on Twitch, four times as many hours as in the previous six months, according to the analytics website SullyGnome.
But is the game industry ready for Chess’s 21st century moment? Are our industry leaders paying attention to Twitch, the home of televised video game competitions?
Marcus Graham, Twitch head of creator development puts the phonomenon this way: “That collision of the chess audience and the general gamer audience has created a “giant chess bonfire.”
One popular player, Hikaru Nakamura, had 528,000 followers on Twitch before signing a contract with one of the e-teams. Since then, his fan base has skyrocketed and he is raking in endorsement and prize money.
Certainly, one thing that has helped Chess is Covid-19 and those who quarantine because of it. Playing chess is one way to pass the time. Also helping Chess is that players like Mr. Nakamura are able to play top-level chess and verbally engage the audience at the same time. Click here to see Mr. Nakamura in action.
There are a number of players mentioned in the article and it would seem like some licensing deals would make sense. It would also help for main line retailers like Target and Wal-Mart to devote some serious space to Chess sets, and not cheap versions, but quality games.
Are you playing more Chess?