YouTube has been making waves recently with their live broadcasting, notably a Coldplay concert a few weeks ago.  And this weekend YouTube is live-streaming the Starcraft finals through the Major League Gaming channel.  There are thousands of gamers at the Rhode Island Convention Center playing Starcraft 2 vying for $600,000 in prizes, with a $50,000 grand prize for winning the whole thing.  Not bad for a weekend of game play.  The streaming started Friday and will continue on to Sunday, November 20, when a champion will be crowned.

Live Streaming of Niche Events Is Freaking Awesome

Streaming of the Starcraft finals, being held in Providence, offer gamers the chance to be on the ground floor to watch professional gamers go head-to-head. There are broadcasters who are as excitable as any soccer announcers, and of course there is a rapidly moving live comment page, for better or worse (yes, YouTube’s notoriously over-the-top racist and sexist commenters make their appearances). Still, this is so much better than reading about who won, or seeing footage later.

You can take in the competition with context, rather than just seeing highlights, which is something I enjoyed with the ESPN live poker broadcast. Highlights are fantastic, we want to see the major developments, but what leads to those developments can be exciting if you truly care about the event. It’s called plotting.

A week or so ago ESPN did something that had never been done before: (almost) live streaming of the World Series of Poker Main Event final table on ESPN and via the internet through ESPN3.  Due to Nevada Gaming law, the events couldn’t be streamed completely live, but poker enthusiasts got to watch the final table uncut, playing the guessing game as to what pocket cards the players were holding.  The final ended up being kind of slow with little action, and some people didn’t like that you couldn’t see the players’ hole cards, but I really enjoyed guessing what they had.

Who will be the new Starcraft champ?  Watch live on Major League Gaming on YouTube.  It ends Sunday.