The gaming industry is always looking for ways to move forward, to go bigger and better. Live streaming looks as though it could be the newest way for the industry to do that. Hundreds of millions of people around the world are tuning into live streams, watching others play League of Legends, Dota 2 or CS: Go (and communicating with streamers as they do so), taking part in games hosted on Twitch and streaming platforms, and watching new games like the 2019’s Clash Royale update being revealed live.
Technology blogs largely agree that live streaming is the next big thing in gaming. It’s why we’ve seen companies emerge, making gaming setups more affordable and why sales of webcams have shot through the roof (streamers use these to show themselves during broadcasts).
Why Live Streaming Could Be Bigger Than AI Gaming
The potential of video game live streaming has been tipped to be bigger than gaming with artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence has been used to emulate how real-life players play, and in some cases, it has allowed AI opponents to beat human players.
New Scientist reports that AI beat amateur Dota 2 players in 2018, though developments of this AI meant that in April 2019, AI was able to beat a professional Dota 2 team, reports Vox. Also in 2019, an AI made by Google successfully beat professional players at RTS (real-time strategy game) StarCraft 2 and in 2016, AI beat players at the strategy board game Go.
While the development of these AIs is a major step in the technology, it also shows how people are hugely interested in watching talented players compete, whether they are AIs, professionals, or just your average player. This interest has allowed live streams to become popular as most gamers want to watch others try to beat some kind of opponent.
These AI developments all affect our enjoyment of a game, making them more difficult or better to challenge us at any skill level and to give us new objectives as we have to think of new ways to get around smarter enemies. Live streaming has the same amount of potential as AI in gaming (if not more) and it also gives players more reasons to want a stream a game (and show people how good they are) and so the technologies go well together.
How Live Streaming Has Been Successful Already
Another way that AI is like live streaming is that it has found some success already. While it may not be as well understood by the wider public, streaming is way past the testing stage. Billions of hours of live streamed content on platforms like Twitch, Mixer, and YouTube, are being viewed every year and developers are now looking for ways to get more engagement and offer viewers new ways to enjoy it.
Polygon reports that Twitch has announced Twitch Sings, a karaoke game designed to use the fun, community aspect of live streaming. Whether the singing streamers is bad, good, or just mediocre, viewers will be able to get in on the fun, critiquing their performance, suggesting songs to perform next, or nominating other streamers to collaborate with them. Streaming already makes people feel like they are playing a game together with features such as Chat and Cheers, and this type of game adds to that.
We’ve also seen it in the games being offered by online casinos. Known for being a solitary gaming affair, casinos like Betway are offering live casino games online, which feature real-life dealers and are streamed in high definition, to give players a welcoming atmosphere and add a social element while they play.
There are also features such as Twitch’s Squad Stream, which puts several broadcasters in one stream window. It is designed to help streamers grow their communities and engage with new fans. On a platform where enjoying games with your friends is the main reason for its success, Squad Stream also has the potential to be incredibly popular.
The games industry has many reasons to want game live streaming to be successful. One of these is that it could turn a casual follower of a game into a loyal fan as they watch talented streamers perform high-level plays, find a new community to part of, and new friends to play together. For online games that are updated regularly, it also broadcasts new, entertaining changes to a game that may not have been covered in launch reviews. It may also get lapsed players to get back into a game and start enjoying it again. So, with all of this potential, expect the games industry to put more support behind streaming in future.