Live streaming refers to online media that is simultaneously recorded and broadcast. The tech has rapidly increased in popularity over the last decade in social media, video gameplay as well as other more established industries.
For example, when YouTube was bought by Google in 2006 they subsequently launched their live streaming app which also allowed users to comment on the broadcast while it was being streamed offering viewers that chance to interact live with YouTube content producers such as in a Q&A session.
More recently, Facebook added live streaming for verified public figures in 2015. It was rolled out for public use in 2016 with support for streaming from PCs added in 2017.
Live streaming in social media has seen great popularity as it gives the viewers a more immersive experience as well as a way to interact in real-time with the broadcaster – be they a celebrity or a friend.
It is not only social media where live streaming has become popular though. Streaming of video games especially multiplayer online games has risen in popularity leading to the rise of eSports as platforms such as Twitch have enabled the gaming community to watch, broadcast and discuss video games.
Twitch, according to many, is the ESPN of gaming, but ESPN itself added a dedicated eSports coverage section in early 2016. Not only does Twitch let amateur gamers stream their games but also provides a platform for professional gamers and tournaments so people can watch live. Just looking at how the viewership of eSports rose from 204 million in 2014 to 292 million (an increase of 43%) shows how well live streaming is doing for this industry.
Interestingly, live streaming owes a lot to the iGaming industry with online casinos such as 32Red offering live casino games, adding a greater sense of immersion to the player experience. The live games on 32Red include Live Baccarat, Speed Roulette and Dream Catcher, a Wheel of Fortune-style game. In fact, such titles, which are increasingly popular with online casinos from 777 to Stargames, have helped the rise of online gaming immensely.
Using live dealers has definitely helped boost the success of online casinos and with sites such as 32Red offering live dealers as well as AI dealers players can choose the level of immersion they want whether playing poker, roulette or baccarat.
How about eSports and tournaments?
Thanks to live streaming, more and more people are able to compete in or watch eSports and eSports tournaments. Competitors and professional gamers have the same kind of status as more traditional professional athletes do amongst their fans. They even have to train and develop superb hand-eye coordination, very fine motor skills and incredibly fast reflexes to the point where the skills they develop are comparable to those of professional fighter pilots.
Viewers watching the live streams get to see and study how pros play and what equipment these gamers use – and who they are sponsored by, which can boost sales for those companies involved, from Logitech to Red Bull.
The tournaments themselves can be huge events on a similar scale as most physical sporting events, add in live streaming and the audience can be massively multiplied. For example, the 2014 League of Legends world championship had approximately 27 million views via streaming! Esports are definitely breaking into the mainstream thanks in no small part to live streaming.
From live dealers in casinos to live sessions on social media and massive online gaming tournaments live streaming has risen to become a widely accepted and common aspect of today’s digital age and is already branching out into other forms of media for example, professional sports events are not only being televised but streamed live online as well.
With internet speeds and technology improving every day live streaming will continue to grow and expand possibly incorporating virtual and augmented reality in the future allowing viewers to choose their viewpoint or further immerse themselves in the action.
In fact, games like League of Legends already have a “spectator” mode that allows the viewer to get right into the action and watch the game unfold from either side. This mode also allows access to real-time stats. Very useful for learning the nuances of the game or for shout casters running an online commentary.
Live streaming will continue to change the way we see the world now and in the future, and we can’t wait to see what’s new in the field.