Unwittingly or not, Jimmy Kimmel struck a nerve recently while giving a monologue on Jimmy Kimmel Live. While discussing YouTube’s new gaming site YouTube Gaming, he made fun of the idea of watching other people play video games.
“To me, watching another person play video games is like going to a restaurant and having someone eat your food for you.” Kimmel then played a spoof commercial about a series of fake new sites that let you watch people as they watch people play video games, and watch those people, etc. The spoof ends with, “The YouTube Gaming suite: Watch it, dummies!” You can see the full video above.
A reasonable and measured response from someone who enjoys watching eSports and “Let’s Play” videos of people playing games would be to shrug off Kimmel’s comments as a generational thing. Kimmel is 47 years old, so it would be unusual if he were interested in the same things kids enjoy. Watching people play games is one of the new pastimes only made possible in recent years, thanks to the Internet.
People watch other people play games for a variety of reasons. Some are interested in professional eSports. Others can’t afford the consoles and games they’d like to play, but still want to experience them, even secondhand. Others watch Let’s Play videos to see how to get past tricky sections of games they’re already playing. Whatever the reason, there’s nothing wrong with watching these videos, but the audience for such content does skew younger. Older people, like Kimmel, really don’t understand the appeal — and that’s fine.
However, if you follow video games, you’ll know that it’s actually pretty common for the gaming community to come off poorly in response to perceived slights like this. And true to form, a vocal minority of gamers have taken to social media and YouTube to respond with disproportional vitriol to Kimmel’s video.
Not only has the segment has received far more down-votes than any video the show has ever posted, but the comments are full of awful statements like “Kill yourself” and “Get cancer.” Some people even took to the comments to attack Kimmel’s wife and daughter, who had nothing to do with what he said.
Here’s what I have to say to gamers who were offended by Kimmel’s comments: Who cares? Kimmel doesn’t understand the appeal of watching other people play games, so he made a joke about it. That’s OK. People are allowed to make jokes and to poke harmless fun at others.
Also, Kimmel is a comedian whose target audience is other people around his age. Who cares if they want to laugh about what “these crazy kids” are up to these days? His comments don’t lessen your enjoyment of watching these videos, right? His words don’t really affect you at all. Just move on.
The fact is, when a minority of gamers come out with such disproportionate outrage against such a minor slight, we all end up looking bad. If Kimmel’s comments strike you the wrong way, just don’t watch his show. Turn to something you enjoy and focus on that. The proper reaction to Kimmel, even if you think he’s wrong, is to shrug it off and move on with your life.
The fact is, sites like YouTube Gaming and Twitch don’t need to be defended. Millions and millions of people tune in to watch other people play games every day. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry. Many of the biggest YouTube channels in the world are devoted to nothing but people playing video games. We gamers have won. You don’t need to spew hatred in the comments section of Kimmel’s YouTube channel.
The Internet allows us to be more connected than ever before. We can use these platforms to make death threats over nothing, or we can use them to support the things we like. I promise you, being positive will improve your life.
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