An example of streaming gaming via Twitch stream.
Online gaming has become such a successful phenomenon over the past few years that it has given birth to a whole new form of entertainment – watching others play games via streaming technology. While this may sound a little crazy to non-gamers, it is a very real trend that is catching on at a rapid rate and leading new technology innovation as it does so.
One only has to look at the PlayStation 4’s streaming function that allows the user to share footage of themselves with other console users as they play. In terms of gambling, online poker was the first casino game to be televised and streamed during the World Series of Poker events which have earned the game a cult fan following of viewers. This has since been followed by eSports and online casino game action.
While gaming was once regarded as anti-social behaviour and gamers were thought of as lonely individuals who sat alone every night playing games, hardly interacting with another soul, online streaming is making it a very social pastime, with many streamers interacting with their viewers via live chat as they play as well as on social media and forums. In fact a recent study has shown that shy individuals are more likely to form friendships through online gaming and social media interaction because these formats eliminate the difficulties some face in social situations.
Twitch is a popular choice of streaming platform for many gamers of all genres and boasts a 60 million strong audience each month. The site allows its users to post videos of their gaming sessions (everything from console to casino games) and allow others to watch as a form of entertainment or to preview or pick up tips on playing a particular game.
Some of the professional poker players and even casino affiliates and operators are publishing polished, informative content with a business angle and are attracting massive followings but many publishers are purely players, sharing their experiences for pure enjoyment and the social benefit.
The added benefit of this form of entertainment is that while it may be creepy to lurk around watching people play casino games in land based casinos, especially when it comes to slot machines, the online streaming of these games means that you can enjoy all of the voyeuristic action you want without the weird factor!
Games like online slots are watched to experience games before playing them and also to check out any massive wins enjoyed by other players while online blackjack and roulette are viewed mostly by those looking to learn tips. The live chat and forums associated with streaming platforms allow players to interact with one another, sharing knowledge and advice as they play.
Of course, there are the critics who call producers of the content out for providing “fake” action where players don’t use their own money or play for free when demoing the latest online slot. There are also those who criticize the gamers lack of emotion or financial and odds credibility as they play. Then again there will always be haters.
Nevertheless, game streaming and viewership is clearly an emerging form of entertainment that looks set to expand and evolve as time progresses.