Esports and competitive online gaming shot to prominence in the early 2000s and have never looked back. One of the main reasons for their unstoppable rise has been a push by tech and internet giants to turn their customers into people who not only buy and play games online, but who also broadcast themselves playing said games. These live streams can then be sold back to other users, with platforms like Twitch and YouTube Gaming taking a sizeable cut.
While the motives of such a business model can and should be questioned by the gaming community at large, what cannot be denied is that it has put huge power in the hands of those pro gamers/streamers who are considered to be leaders in their respective fields.
Here we look at how exactly the world’s most popular online streamers of games became some of the most influential tastemakers in the industry, as well as getting out our crystal ball to see how this trend could morph in the years to come.
Virtually anyone can now become a live streaming sensation, as long as they have a strong on-screen presence and know their way around a gaming lobby
Streamers Give Casino Games a Facelift
While the biggest names in online streaming tend to dedicate themselves to battle royale games such as Valorant or Call of Duty, there are others who like to plumb the niches that exist in the online gaming sphere.
One such niche is that of classic casino games and specifically slots which, despite being games that have been around for close to a century, are still finding a wealth of players and audiences online.
Some of the streamers who are bringing slots to new audiences are ClassyBeef and Roshtein, whose amiable hosts play slots live and commentate on the workings of the games. There is no doubt that such streams also have some connection to the games providers who post free bets on sites such as OddsChecker, but as long as viewers keep this in mind while they watch, then slots streams can be fun and entertaining.
More and more gamers are repurposing their spare bedroom or home office into a studio, which allows them to produce professional levels of gaming content for their followers
Battle Royale Games Turned into Genuine Spectator Sports
There was a time when the idea of watching people play video games was viewed as either weird or just a downright waste of time, but all that has changed thanks to platforms like Twitch, which have helped spawn a whole new genre of sports broadcasters and entertainers.
The rise of such platforms also coincided with the release of battle royale games like Fortnite and PUBG. Because they were free-to-play, and connected players from all over the world, their popularity skyrocketed, as did the fame of those gamers who chose to live stream their exploits to the world.
People like Ninja and Dr Disrespect became overnight sensations and still command huge audiences to this day. As well as being ardent critics of games, they also have the power to swing their sizeable followings behind a new product or game release, something which is evidenced by the latter’s recent playthroughs of games like Resident Evil Village, and Ninja even having his own avatar in Fortnite.
Where Will Streaming Take Games Next?
Because the live streaming of video games is still very much in its naissance, only a fraction of its potential to shape the industry has been tapped into.
Many avid gamers now watch fellow gaming enthusiasts at the same time as playing themselves, bringing a unique media dynamic to the fore. In the future this could mean that entire tournament fields of players could be streaming and playing simultaneously, allowing for an interactive broadcast experience the likes of which has never been seen before.
Even further down the line there could be scope for the gamers themselves to play a part in the in-game development and bug fixing that is usually done by trained developers, as the barriers between creator, player, and spectator continue to break down and blur.