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The ability to stream content online is now so ingrained in our lives it is actually quite hard to remember a time without it. Yet, remarkably, it has only been around ten years since one of the key breakthroughs in the concept’s evolution.
That moment was the creation of “adaptive streaming,” which allowed the amount of video sent to a user to be adapted depending on the strength of the network. For the first time ever, this meant no irritating buffering or connectivity problems for web users and, ultimately, the birth of fully-fledged streaming.
It had been a long journey to that moment from the first recorded streaming event in 1995 – a radio broadcast – but it is safe to say that the concept has gone on to well and truly change the world. Just ask the millions of people using services like Netflix or Amazon Video every day.
While video was once an online luxury, research by marketing firm Through The I now shows that consumers actively prefer live content and feel more “connected” to it. So how has this trend affected – and ultimately transformed – gaming in particular?
Bringing games to life
While online multiplayer games have been popular for years, the evolution of streaming means that gamers can interact like never before.
This is particularly true in the world of online gambling. Once a sector where players would be betting for or against computer-generated outcomes and interacting with rivals via text chat, the industry has been a pioneer in using live streaming to truly change the game in recent years.
Real-life presenters now host a range of “live dealer” games via live streaming, which means players can interact with them and watch the action unfold before their very eyes. 32Red online casino’s Immersive Roulette option lets players get closer to the table and see slow-motion replays of the ball’s movement, while VIP tables are also on offer for those seeking a game which is both high-limit and high-stakes.
Arguably as close to the true casino experience as you can get, live casino games have become a standard part of online gambling and as such many sites use a host of offers to entice players – whether it is BetSafe’s £20 bonus or even 32Red’s new player bonus of up to £160.
Creating new stars
One of the more interesting side issues related to this trend in online gaming has been how the hosts of such live casino games often become mini-celebrities in their own right within the player communities they serve. Casino Euro, for example, even feature profiles on their presenters on a special “Meet The Girls” page.
More unlikely stars have also been created as a result of a growing number of online gaming fans using apps like Twitch to learn more about the hobby they love and follow the trials and tribulations of players who stream their games. While the idea of streaming videos of other people playing console games or poker online may have once seemed bizarre, it is now a genuine pastime for many – and a powerful marketing tool, as Moz.com points out.
Perhaps reflecting the Through The I research mentioned above, those who stream their poker adventures have said that authenticity is a big draw for many people.
Poker player and streamer Kevin Martin stated that: “It’s good that you can interact with people right away, but also, it’s bad in that you, as a streamer, are very vulnerable. You really put yourself out there and people get to see all of it. One-hundred percent.”
Gaming was once viewed as the pastime of those sat isolated in their bedrooms away from the outside world, but live streaming and the internet in general has changed of all of that.
Whether players are into gambling or console titles, live streaming allows them to not only play their games in innovative and exciting settings, but also to learn more about their favourite games and forge a sense of community and kinship with others who enjoy them too.
With the recent developments seen in both virtual and augmented reality technology, it is exciting to consider what the future may well hold for live streaming and its relationship with gaming. Such technology could indeed be key to enhancing live gaming even further in an effort to bring internet users the authentic and genuine experiences that they crave.