Live Streaming's Influence on the Way We Play

Streaming is one of those technologies which has been a long time coming. The idea itself could be traced back to the video games of old. Games have always been more fun together, even single-player games. Getting together with your friends to pass the controller around or just watching while shooting the breeze has been an activity which has brought friends and gamers together for decades. So how has this evolved, and what changes has it made to gaming as a whole?

The Dark Ages

There was a time, around the end of the PS2 generation, where split-screen gaming became less common. With a greater focus on pushing out the best looking images for single-player games, these engines were often not equipped to handle the added strain of outputting a second image, let alone something like a four-player split-screen. This had many of us worried that the future would be less community driven, a fear which turned out to be largely unfounded. While many of us grew up and didn’t have the spare time we had as kids, to go around to each-others places and watch them play, we could at least still engage in online gaming. But what of watching, was that something which would be lost to the ages?

Better Tech, Better Sharing

It was the increase of both processing power and average bandwidth which gave birth to the streaming market. Using the internet, it became possible for many of us to watch and hang out in a way very similar to how we grew up as kids, albeit in a far more convenient way. This drew in younger players as well, who were quick to accept and adopt this style of play into their own game time. Services like Twitch sprung up, supported by programs which further streamlined the experience and reduced the barriers to entry. Together, these have helped grow streaming into an experience which is not just popular, but incredibly profitable. In fact, experts believe that eSports and game streaming revenues will rise to $3.5 billion by 2021.

Twitch-Stand auf der Gamescom 2017 by wuestenigel, on Flickr
"Twitch-Stand auf der Gamescom 2017" (CC BY 2.0) by wuestenigel

Not Just Traditional

Streaming in this manner became popular not only in our more traditional games but in many other activities as well. We can see examples of this everywhere, and the wide range of adoption might surprise you. For instance, live roulette at Jackpot247 casino streams video content of a croupier spinning the roulette wheel for the player, who can place his or her bets and chat to the dealer from their mobile or desktop. Board games are also now officially supported on the likes of Twitch, and even people working, streaming has affected the way we not only play but the way we work. Gaming has become more social than ever, encouraging talk, discourse, and fun, even with users on the other side of the world. Today, people manage to make full-time careers out of streaming, a development which few of us saw coming.

The Future of Streaming

Streaming is here to stay, and it’s only going to get bigger, better, and easier. This does leave us with the question – where could streaming possibly be going? While we can’t guess the trajectory of such an industry with any degree of real reliability we can guess that VR and AR will become a huge area for streaming. Imagine being able to sit next to your family or favorite streamer with AR, even if they sit on the other side of the world. You can have hangouts with each friend in a different country or even continent, reliving the days of yore. Wherever this goes, we know the future is bright, and we can’t wait to see what comes up next.

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