Is Youtube bad for fighters?
A lot of highly intelligent and respectable minds have been saying it is.
Some would say that it harms the fighting game community by dispersing it across the internet. Further causing harm by spoonfeeding scrubs footage of top-level play that they don't fully comprehend. Plus diverting traffic flow to their sites which they feel is a base/outpost to the community and keeps things together and organized.
Well, I guess I'm stupid. But at least I'm blissfully stupid. As I see it, I'm entertained by very easily and freely accessible footage, I'm exposed to many different games I wouldn't normally be, and I'm educated by observing things very closely.
I also disagree with their sentiments. I will admit that youtube is a piss-poor environment to house a community. It really doesn't house much to begin with actually. But I also don't feel that it degrades or negatively impacts the already existing communities much, or at least not significantly enough to matter. The communities rest in real life and on web forums such as forums.Shoryuken.com, they don't get pissed into the wind just because you can post comments on videos. People aren't blips on a computer screen, they are people and they don't just randomly move around or disappear. If you think about it, the people in your local area may or may not play fighters and show up to tournaments either with or without youtube, but with youtube a lot of people are more easily exposed to demonstrations of competitive gaming, which may very well lead to them becoming interested and joining the community and showing up to tournaments. Without youtube, people around you might not even have known that players took gaming to that level.
When SF4 hit, SRK forums got flooded so hard it went down a bunch. But you realize, if you google search "Street Fighter 4", shoryuken or its forums aren't even in the first ten pages of results. Now, I'm sure Youtube is one of the places people went streaming to in search of SF4, but aside from videos they weren't going to get much, so where else do they look? Well fortunately most people link places like GameFAQs and Shoryuken in their Youtube profiles or descriptions and mention it in comments. Some users mention their own sites/blogs, and on those they tend to mention other places as well. Though I don't post anything SF4 related, I for one have SRK forums plastered all over my u2be and blog.
Regarding the spoonfeeding, I'd need to conduct an experiment with several scrubs to be actually convinced on this one as well. The theory goes; back in the day we had to figure out how to play games ourselves. We went to the arcade and dropped quarters only to have our opponent cheese the shit out of us with some super seemingly-unbeatable gimmick, and we had to learn to beat it really quickly or we'd be dumping more quarters in, which made us think. The point to this theory is: thinking for yourself and learning.
Nowadays it's easy to just jump on youtube and view a rack of really good match videos from Japan and/or watch some comprehensive combo videos from all over the world. So in theory the scrubs of today aren't forced to use their heads, they rely too much on what youtube tells them to do. Normally a "vid-scrub" is expected to be only capable of parroting combos they saw in a video, and not actually be any good at the game outside of doing combos. Thus, they rarely are able to do any of their precious combos because they can't hit the opponent in the first place.
But again, I disagree. Personally I don't think it harms anything. If the player was incapable of observing the fight well enough to understand the mechanics of how to hit the opponent, then a lack of video isn't going to help any more than having the video. Actually, I think not having the video is worse.
More-so, I feel if this player is incapable of learning what to do after a set of several matches, then videos are irrelevant to the equation. It's just a learning-challenged (like, mentally challenged) player. Honestly I think dumping quarters into a machine was that much more incentive, and it has nothing to do with youtube. If I was getting steam rolled in an arcade then yeah I'd walk away from the machine or step my shit up. I've done exactly both on separate occasions (many years ago). So I think lack of arcades is more to blame than vid-scrubism.
Really, not having the video is detrimental because it removes any potential damage output the scrub may have had, because he didn't know the combos. And it removes the incentive to try really hard to hit the opponent because why bother if you can't do any damage. In the mind of a scrub, if you know you could do a really sweet combo then you'd want to hit the opponent -- but meanwhile if the scrub has no combos then their focus isn't on trying to hit anymore, their focus is on the fact that they're losing and not having fun.
It's also detrimental because if a player actually is observant then they can see very easily how the game should be played. They may not understand why, and they may not be able to play like that, but at the very least they can see the game in it's glory. Which gives them incentive to learn. Moreso than having their only experience with the game being getting strait up owned. Because without videos they might think the gameflow was pretty stupid, and hate the game for it.
I also know for a fact that some players are able to observe videos and x-copy what they see extremely well. This is a good thing because it puts the gap between them and their opponent at much less. It raises their general level, and being on a higher level is always better than being on a lower one. But it's mainly beneficial because having an enormous rift between you and a more experienced opponent is not fun or enjoyable for either player -- the closer you are in skill the move fun the game seems. So personally I think anything that can potentially get players better is a good thing, regardless of how or why. To me the result justifies the means.
Though, I'm pretty bias. I like youtube because I remember what it was like to not have any footage of any game, and not knowing what was possible or reliable. I remember the first time I saw a match video I saw things I had never even considered before being used highly effectively.
I also like youtube because I remember digging up gaming footage when it was finally available in small bits and pieces, and only for specific games. I remember downloading tons of Vampire Savior and Guilty Gear videos from separate sites, never being exposed to any other games because those sites were only about their respective games, and not being connected to any community.
And I remember finally finding youtube and falling in love with it because now I'm exposed to demonstrations of potentially every game ever made. I'm also able to find casuals from all over the world, instead of only major tournaments like in the past. And I have a place to showcase my own videos without having to go through hoops. I also have control over my videos, being able to modify the descriptions at will or even modify or delete videos. Which I'm thankful for because I remember not being able to do that and having to go through a mess of pulling teeth if I wanted to.
About the only thing I dislike about youtube is the rating system. Which is why I disable rating on my videos. Thus, I can't really hate on youtube for that, since they give you the option to disable that function as you choose.
Personally, I think the people complaining about youtube's allegedly negative effects on their community should be diverting that attention to promoting the actual community base. If they feel it's a problem then complaining to your peers isn't really going to accomplish anything. And if they want to accomplish something then maybe they should start advertising their site or other sites.
Which leaves the final point, traffic to your site and organization. Personally, I don't care. I don't have trouble finding things on youtube despite it's complete lack of organization. I feel the balance between users being able to upload things at will, individually, greatly outweighs the need for organization.
And you know, it's not like people aren't trying to organize things within the community. There's still GoForBroke and threads on web forums that linklog fighting game footage, keeping things together and organized.
Sorry, but I feel it's simply better this way. The community isn't about you, and really no individual should be the backbone to a community. The community does need a backbone, but I feel public chatting areas like web forums and IRC chat rooms make much better backbones than some one's personal site.