Live games have been topping the bill of the online entertainment industry for quite a while, but it’s only the very beginning of the huge paradigm shift. Unlike a decade ago, when all players were focused solely on developing their skills within the game, now more and more of them prefer watching to playing.
Numbers don’t lie. The average audience of concurrent streamers on YouTube has increased from 290.1 thousand in Q1 2019 to 419.6 thousand in Q4 2019. PUBG Mobile, Fortnite, Garena Free Fire, and Minecraft have dozens of thousands of viewers round-the-clock, and the numbers go berserk when decisive tournaments take place.
The same applies to Twitch, a leading streaming platform accounted for about 2% of Internet traffic in the U.S. and being my-talking-tom-friends-debuts-on-mobile-because-13-billion-downloads-watched around 9 billion hours in 2018. With 5.67 million active streamers in April 2020 and 10 million people watching streams on Twitch daily (58% of them –20 or more hours a week), the sky’s the limit for Twitch in the years to come.
The viewership of popular games is skyrocketing – 48% of the viewers spend more time watching than playing – but are there any underlying values behind the recent boom, or are live games a short-term trend to fade over time? Let’s take a look at what live games can offer.
Sense of Belonging
One of the very fundamental emotional needs at the core of our behavior and choices is belongingness, a desire to be accepted as a part of a community, whether it’s a family, co-workers, friends, religion, or gaming. More than half the gamers use YouTube as a tool to connect with their communities and ease loneliness through comments, live chats, game reviews, walkthroughs, and other types of interactive content.
A very important factor in favor of live gaming is that most troublesome stereotypes simply do not exist here. Millions of people from all walks of life watch their idols crushing opponents, and it doesn’t matter whether you are a successful businessman, a plumber, a teacher, or someone else. On top of that, watching is less demanding than playing – if you don’t have time to learn the game through and through to be competitive yourself, you can just follow your gaming star, sharing all successes and failures.
Combining Business with Pleasure
However, in spite of all the beauty of traditional gaming, it leaves no room for those willing to make money on their pastime. These people tend to indulge in gambling, which is also a cutting-edge, ever-developing business embracing live streaming technologies as fast as gaming does.
The rise of live dealer games – an industry worth $1.2 billion annually – brought brick-and-mortar casinos online and opened a new era to home-based gamblers. You can now get access to all the perks, all the bells and whistles of your land-based casino from the comfort of your home. Indeed, a round of baccarat in live casino is a great alternative for finding new acquaintances since you are playing with live dealers as if you are facing them in an offline casino.
Exclusive Emotions Unavailable in Real Life
Except for the obvious entertainment and social value, live games give you a chance to spend time in someone else’s shoes, soaking up the experience unavailable in any other way. Skiing, skydiving, parachute sports, boxing…you can try anything you’ve been willing to give a go for so long but couldn’t dare. Lack of budget, irrational fears, prejudices – all these excuses fall apart when it comes to online gaming. You learn through observing to become a better version of yourself.
Two decades ago, you should have purchased a journal with a review and a few screenshots of the game to get the idea of whether it is worth a shot, but now, with the invention of Twitch and YouTube, you can taste the actual gaming experience and learn everything you need before spending your money on the game. The recommendations of your favorite streamer and the experience from watching the gameplay are usually enough to make up your mind about the game.
Live games are excellent at delivering peculiar experiences, filling the gaps, and closing gestalts. Unpredictable, easily shareable, intuitive, and visually appealing, they have low entry barriers and tons of entertainment inside. That said, it’s crucial not to lose touch with reality since taking too much medicine at a time – and there’s no doubt gaming is one – might be dangerous for your mental and physical health.