There are a lot of good things happening in the genre of video game commentary right now. The live streaming site Twitch is finicky, especially when large audience congregate on one live stream, but constant advancements in computer technology will surely allow commentary via live streams an increasingly viable option for more and more people to both produce and watch. Additionally, the production value and effort put into E-sports and video game commentary is becoming better and better all the time.
Here is a video showing a Korean Dota 2 tournament with some amazing production quality: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zx7Fz4xzuO0
Here is an article talking about the U.S. government recognizing League of Legends as a sport, which adds legitimacy to esports and contributes to the health of the commentary genre: http://www.scpr.org/blogs/newmedia/2013/07/15/14255/us-government-recognizes-league-of-legends-video-g/
This article talks about a South Korean Starcraft player being given an athlete Visa: http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2013/12/15/250793493/u-s-recognizes-a-south-korean-starcraft-player-as-an-athlete
However, it is not all news is good news in the world of video game commentary. For the large majority of commentators that rely on youtube as their video hosting site. In recent months, youtube has implemented a strict and volatile new system that makes it very stressful for commentators and Let’s Play producers. The new Content ID system requires that many youtube commentators must submit their video to be scanned for copyright material before it is uploaded. If they do not do this, they risk getting a copyright strike against their channel, which can cause them to lose their partner status (ability to make money from advertisements).
Additionally, there is a new system that allows people to file copyright claims against other people and claim ad revenue from the videos in question until the claim is resolved. This has led to many people impersonating game companies on youtube and making copyright claims in order to steal ad revenue from videos. The most blatant example of this is when a copyright imposter by the name of “TombRaider” filed a copyright claim on videos released by the channel for the developers of the Tomb Raider video games. Not only did youtube take a very long time to work out the solution, even with the developers themselves providing proof that the claim was false, but the fake name was allowed to steal ad revenue from the developers for the duration of the claim.
Here is a great video by a video game youtuber “NerdCubed” explaining his thoughts about youtube’s new system: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1f4q17UDr0
Personally, I think video game commentary will survive even the strictest of youtube copyright crackdowns. Even if video game commentary did not evolve for a while, it would still retain audiences because there will always be new games and tournaments for people to commentate on. As streaming technology increases, video game commentary will only get better and bigger. Also, E-sports in general are becoming a huge hit across the world. During the grand finals of the last International Dota 2 championship, Valve (developers of Dota 2) reported over 1 million concurrent viewers, and next year should be even bigger. Personally, I think that video game commentary is on a great track right now. The only thing that could get better in my opinion is that Let’s Play producers sometimes put too little effort into their videos, and leave in parts where they get stuck in the game for long periods of time, or fail to warn about spoilers for the plot of the game they play. Other than that, I am excited to see just how big this genre can get!