Gaming

Video Game Streaming

Video gaming has always been a competitive sport. Arcade boxes earlier had pixelated high score charts, and every kid wanted to be the one with the top scores in their neighborhood. With the internet explosion and the release of iconic first-person shooter games like Doom and Counter-Strike, players worldwide began to come together. In 1997, one of the first e-sports organizations, the Cyberathelete Professional League, was established. Since then, the gaming world has leaped forward to online gaming and streaming. Let us take a closer look at the phenomenon.

Video Game

The Rise of Online Gaming and Streaming

Online gaming has become one of the world’s biggest entertainment industries in the past four decades. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers reports, the global online gaming industry in 2010 was worth around $56 billion! This is bigger than the magazine and the music industry and about two-thirds of the film industry’s size. According to a 2011 report by the Entertainment Software Association, the average age of a gamer in the United States is 37, and 42 percent of these gamers are female.

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One of the biggest trends today in live streaming is not music (as you might have previously assumed) but competitive gaming. E-sports today attracts thousands of viewers. Several sites today, catering specifically to gamers and their fans, stream e-sport events. Several e-sport websites have exploded worldwide as live webcasts take competitive video gaming to a completely new level, transforming it into a sport viewed by millions from one limited to just insiders.

Video Game Streaming: The Big Players

Among the big players in video game streaming today are Own3D.tv and TwitchTV. Own3Dtv began online video game streaming in 2010, and at present, the website gets over four million unique viewers a month for video game live streams. In March 2011, Electronic Sports League (ESL), the world’s largest gaming league, broadcasted the Intel Extreme Masters event, among the most popular gaming tournaments of the year, through Own3D. With $400,000 as prize money, the gaming tournament drew 75,000 simultaneous live viewers on single event days, while the overall audience reached several million gamers. June 2011 saw over 200,000 concurrent viewers watching a Dreamhack contest (which is based on League of Legends, another popular game) on Own3D, with about 250 Gbps of traffic through the event.

And live video streaming vendor Justin. TV witnessed e-sports video streaming grow rapidly, so they dedicated an entire website. In June 2011, they launched TwitchTV after video game streaming reached around 3.2 million monthly unique views on its main website. TwitchTV now engages over 12 million unique viewers each month. It has also had a steady monthly growth rate of 11 percent since its launch. Besides that, TwitchTV has over 1,000 premium partners. It has received over 80,000 downloads of its iPhone mobile app in less than a month of its launch. Between October 10th and October 16th, the website received massive traffic, as can be seen from the following figures:

  • Total Hours Watched: 6,737,250
  • Weekly Unique Viewers: 4,214,057
  • Total Hours Watched per Unique Viewer: 1.6
  • Weekly Unique Chatters: 309,220
  • Peak Concurrent Viewers on a Single Stream: 125,862
  • Peak Concurrent Viewers on all Gaming Content: 165,250
  • Video Game Streaming: Popular Genres
  • Here are some of the most popular genres in live online video game streaming:

Adventure (Assassin’s Creed II, Lego, Lost Planet)
Strategy (StarCraft II, Total War, Worms)
Sports Games (FIFA, NBA 2K10, MLB 2K10)
Shooter (Modern Warfare 3, Bad Company 2, Left 4 Dead 2)
Role-Playing (Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age)
Racing (Need for Speed: The Run Playthrough Part 1!, GP2 Asia Series 2011)
Simulation (The Sims)
Massively multiplayer online role-playing game – MMORPG (World of Warcraft, Hydra 9)

Streaming Games Online: The Legal Side

By now, you might know or at least have heard about the new bill related to the anti-streaming video – S.978. Currently, it is not illegal to stream, for instance, a walk-through of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 online as it is considered a public performance. However, a bill like this would make such videos illegal. This bill might seem like a great thing at first glance as it helps curb piracy, but as parts of the bill are quite vague, it could lead to a few issues for members of the media/gaming enthusiast communities.

However, it is also possible that game developers and publishers may decide not to prosecute streaming games, leaving things quite the same way as they are now. Given the huge number of such videos on the web, it would be rather optimistic to think that game developers and publishers will have the time and money to pursue users every time they break this would-be law. Besides, online video game streaming has generated a win-win scenario for all parties involved.

Game Streaming: A Win-Win Situation for Everyone

Websites like Own3D.tv and TwitchTV witness most of their traffic around gaming events. However, these websites also feature live video feeds of games playing popular video games anytime. Some gamers are just amateurs who like to show their gaming skills to other gamers. Simultaneously, some belong to professional gaming teams and are preparing for the next tournament.

Besides, gamers today are increasingly monetizing matches as live video game streaming offers them another way of earning money and making a living. Live video game streaming websites like Own3D.tv and TwitchTV have revenue-sharing deals with professional gaming partners. The most common types of monetization include ads, subscriptions, and pay-per-views.

TwitchTV, for instance, has a revenue-sharing plan where they sell ads on the gamer’s stream, and the profits earned are split between them. TwitchTV also includes automatic transcoding, where viewers can flip between various quality settings based on their connection. Besides that, partners also get early access to the latest technology from Twitch and the ability to test out new features.

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I work for WideInfo and I love writing on my blog every day with huge new information to help my readers. Fashion is my hobby and eating food is my life. Social Media is my blood to connect my family and friends.
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