Live streaming has taken the world by storm in recent years and is being used for a variety of purposes, from social media to gaming. While live news is not really a phenomenon, the ability to access it from anywhere is. And this is something that has only come about thanks to increased internet speeds and advanced mobile technology. As developers work out ways to integrate live streaming into more things, this way of viewing looks set to get even bigger in the near future. Here, we take a look at how it all began, and think about the ways in which it can get better moving forward.
A Brief History of Live Streaming Online
To say that live streaming has only been a thing for a few years, it has already made a large number of people exceedingly rich. Twitch has been a big contributing factor in the rise of live streaming. The website, founded as an offshoot of Justin.tv by Justin Kan and Emmet Sheer in 2007, became its own site in 2011, and quickly grew in popularity. In fact, by 2014, Twitch was the fourth-highest source of peak internet traffic in the United States. Everyday gamers like Richard Tyler Bevins, known as Ninja, found that they could use the site to host their own live streams and attract viewers on a regular basis. YouTube content creator Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, better known as PewDiePie, had also shown that there was big money to be made by creating video game content. The Swedish gamer has over 65 million subscribers on YouTube and has an estimated net worth of more than $20 million.
PewDiePie made Let’s Play videos, where he played games and talked viewers through what was happening. Videos like this have grown huge with live streamers. Nowadays, Twitch isn’t the only outlet for these players to produce their content. YouTube and Periscope both allow for live streaming now, as does Facebook. Facebook Live has helped mass audiences realise the potential of live streaming, and now the platform is being used for news, advertising, and live concerts. Almost anything can be streamed live nowadays, and there are a myriad of possibilities of what can be done in the future with it.
What’s the Current Situation?
Streaming has been constantly advancing ever since its inception, and now there are some truly innovative uses of the technology. Within Twitch, there are different categories now, with one of the most successful sections being Twitch Plays. Some of the most popular things in the category include Twitch Plays Robot, which are real-life robots controlled by Twitch players that fight in a series of challenges. Other things include Twitch Plays Dark Souls, Twitch Plays Claw Machine, and Twitch Plays Punch Club. The streaming platform has shown that it is possible for gamers and viewers to bond and enjoy banter over almost anything, and the ideas are highly original.
Live streaming has also been used to enhance the online casino experience, as sites continue to strive to offer what their land-based counterparts have and more. While in the past, some online casino users may have complained about the lack of realism with the games, that isn’t the case anymore as they can actually play real games such as blackjack at casinos from their homes. The live streaming links them to a live casino with real dealers, and they can often interact with others at the table. Playing this way helps give people peace of mind, as they know that everything is down to pure chance and they are not at the mercy of a random number generator. There is some pretty cool technology behind the live casino links that help them work so well. One of the main things is the use of optical character recognition (OCR) which converts the physical transactions made by the dealer into data that shows up on the screen. Things like this are likely to be enhanced further with the use of virtual reality.
What’s Coming for Live Streaming?
According to eMarketer, by 2021, 2.33 billion people will be watching video streams from a mobile device. Other statistics show that VR is set to boom at around the same time, with the VR and AR market projected to be worth $209.2 billion by 2022. Virtual reality is sure to play a big part in the next phase of live streaming, and developers are scrambling to incorporate the technology in a number of different fields. In the online casino industry, Microgaming has developed a VR roulette game which could change the face of online casinos over the course of time. The game allows players to walk up to a roulette table and place their chips, and they can then watch the wheel spin. If this kind of technology takes off and is then combined with live streaming, it may allow players to actually feel as though they are in a real casino when they are really just sitting in their homes wearing a VR headset.
For gamers who live stream, VR could help their viewers get into the games with them. If viewers were able to put on their VR headset and see all the same things as the streamer it would make them feel as though they were playing the game at the same time. Even news could be made better with VR. If people were able to put on VR gear and get close to live action it would provide an amazing experience. This doesn’t seem out of the question either when you think about the progression of news. Originally there were newspapers, then came radio, after that there was live reporting on television.
These are certainly exciting times, and the possibilities for live streaming appear to be endless. The new technology has already taken the world by storm, but it looks set to get even bigger and better over the next few years. Live streaming combined with VR could be the next major development.