Live streaming has become a worldwide phenomenon in recent years thanks to services such as Facebook Live, which has brought the technology to the masses. But the social media site, which is used by more than one billion people, was actually late to the party.
The gaming and gambling industries have been using live streaming for the last decade, and have garnered massive audiences for their content in the process. Instead of taking spectators away from participating in the activities themselves, they are actually helping viewers and inspiring them to get involved.
Twitch Ignited a Huge Audience for Video Games
One of the first ways to watch live streams of games was on Twitch, which was established in 2011. Watching other people play games rather than enjoying them yourself may seem like an odd concept to some people, but, if you look back through history, video games have actually encouraged spectatorship from their early days. Take the popular arcade halls of the 1980s, for instance. Most of the machines were one or two-player games, and friends would stand around watching others while waiting for their turn.
Twitch took this concept to the next level and gave internet users all over the world the opportunity to watch people play games from a wide variety of different genres. The interactive nature of it, which allows people to also chat with the gamer, means that it can sometimes feel like a group of people are contributing to the playing of a game. Within two years of its inception, the site, founded by Justin Kan and Emmet Shear, had attracted 45 million viewers. The service was bought by Amazon in 2014 for $970 million, highlighting just how lucrative it is. Of course, this concept of streaming games led to other, similar sites which have had varying success.
One of the biggest things that Twitch was responsible for was igniting the booming eSports scene, which became a $1 billion industry in 2020. This has brought attention to specialist eSports channels such as GINX ESports TV, which garner millions of viewers. The service, which is available in ten languages across 50 countries, was launched in 2008, but Twitch and the emerging eSports scene in the 2010s helped it find mass success after 2013. One of the biggest catalysts to its success was acquiring Poker Channel Limited, which added another 19 million homes to its household reach in Europe.
Poker Streaming Brings in High Spectator Figures
Poker is another activity that has been using live streaming for a long time. Major events like the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour have been available as live streams for a number of years, and even smaller casinos are putting live streams up online for special events. This has helped the card game spread across the world, and is one of the reasons why it is now played by millions of people.
Players like Will Kassouf provide good entertainment for viewers.
There were various contributing factors to the poker boom in the 2000s, with one aspect being that the card game was much easier for people to watch. The introduction of new technology, such as the hole card camera, meant that viewers could see all of the action taking place. Knowing which cards the players were holding helped spectators get an insight about how to play certain hands, and why the experts acted in such a way in a number of diverse situations.
The availability of poker streaming also made heavyweights in the game famous. People like Phil Helmuth, Daniel Negreanu, Tony G, and Phil Ivey became household names. These players became professionals through years of hard graft and practice, and showed that it was possible to make a career out of it. Viewers were also able to see amateur players cutting it against the pros in major tournaments, highlighting how anyone could make it to the top if they were dedicated enough.
Live streaming has even been combined with the actual playing of poker at a number of online casinos. The technology has been a revelation when it comes to offering players live casino options such as roulette and blackjack. Now, the focus of many online casinos is on variety, and there are certain live poker options that pit players against a dealer in a heads-up scenario.
Streaming Inspires More People to Get Involved
It would be reasonable to think that the sheer amount of streaming options for gaming and poker would actually put people off partaking in the activities themselves. But, on the contrary, this accessibility to the games actually serves to attract a greater number of players.
Watching people play online can stoke interest in the card game, and budding players will seek out ways to get in on the action as well and play poker games themselves. Watching poker being played can serve as an introduction to the game, and this will lead players to explore other variations and ways of playing at online casino sites. This includes options like Snap and Blast poker.
Watching other players play poker first can give new players the knowledge that they need to get started in the game, and then they can build on this through practice online. Similarly, those who watch games on Twitch and GINX ESports TV can see experts and learn some vital tips from them. This is particularly useful with fantasy card games like Hearthstone and Gwent. The streamers will often share decks that others can use, and provide detailed information about how to play them effectively.
Just as watching sports like football and cricket leads a lot of viewers to want to participate themselves, viewing live streaming of video games and poker can have the same effect. The availability of the streaming of these things has been the driving force behind the success of both the gaming and poker industries. Not only is it enjoyable to watch professionals play the games, it can also provide spectators with useful insight about how to play them.