Live streaming, or just ‘streaming’, is the future of entertainment. Though it might seem like one of the latest frontiers where technology and entertainment meet, live streaming has been around for decades. The very first live stream was developed back in 1995 by a group called RealVideo.
However, the trend didn’t take off until two companies launched in the late 2000s. The first was YouTube, which started to offer live events on its platform, including celebrity interviews and sports events. The second was Justin.tv, an indie project started by a gamer who wanted to live stream his playing sessions.
By 2011, Justin.tv became Twitch—and live-streaming took off around the world. The emphasis was on gaming, rather than YouTube’s early projects on interviews and live events. Just like Justin.tv, gamers flocked to Twitch to let their followers subscribe to their feeds, which covered their latest exploits in their favorite game. Over the next decade, Twitch would help launch live streaming and eSports together.
The rest, as they say, is history. Today, live streaming remains one of the cornerstones of digital entertainment. Here are a few of the most impactful ways the industry is currently evolving lately.
The Live Dealer Experience
In the realm of casino gaming, live dealer features have changed when and how people game. For example, those who play blackjack online have dozens of variations to choose from when logging in to play on their favorite platform. Along with European and Atlantic City options, they can choose a live dealer blackjack game.
This means a real-life dealer is live-streamed straight to their device to emulate a brick-and-mortar experience. So, what makes the experience so popular compared to a standard table game? It’s all about social connection. At a regular casino, players often develop relationships with dealers, and it’s common for them to structure their playing times around when a dealer is working. Now, they have that option digitally.
The Video Streaming-Network Question
The advent of live streaming has had a huge change in how and when people watch their favorite movies and TV shows. In fact, one of the greatest legacies of live streaming will be its destruction of the cable network format used for decades. Today, many consumers opt to pay just one Netflix bill versus a cable network subscription.
Still, this might not be the case moving forward. While many are focusing on the fact that streaming services will surpass cable TV by the end of the year, further developments are in store. What does the future of video streaming look like? So far, it looks like streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are simply replacing traditional networks… which begs the question, are we really heading away from a cable TV lifestyle? Or is live streaming a similar product in a slightly different package?
The Future of Cloud Gaming
While video streaming has plenty of questions to answer, cloud gaming is one of the most promising sectors in the industry. Cloud gaming is a way for gamers to live stream their favorite titles straight to their computers, phones, and consoles—all without downloading or inputting a game.
Already, major companies are looking to create cloud gaming platforms. Sony has its PlayStation Now store, while Google Stadia recently just shut down for an overhaul. Amazon Luna has hit its stride with cloud gaming. Still, none of these brands are likely to find widespread success in the coming years. That’s because internet networks simply can’t meet connection demands for live-streaming games. Unlike videos, they require a huge amount of bandwidth.
Live Streaming & Sports
If there’s one interesting intersection between live streaming and entertainment, it’s sports. Traditionally, cable networks from Fox to ESPN have battled for the exclusive right to stream live events. They pay hundreds of millions for these deals, while advertisers pay even more for a prime marketing slot. However, this is slowly changing.
This year, the NFL is using Amazon Prime to stream its Thursday Night games, along with certain Twitch channels. These moves are designed to get younger demographics excited about the NFL… but it’s posed some problems for non-techie fans. Like cloud gaming, the live streaming of sports events is going to need a bit of attention in the coming years before it finds mainstream success.
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