If we look back at the technologies that have changed the world around us over the last couple of decades, there are some obvious ones to list. The internet would be right at the top, closely followed by smartphones; other examples depend on your preferences but everything from air fryers to Internet of Things devices are all viable options.
But one technology that is making a big impact whilst still flying under the radar is streaming. It’s something we all use every day, but most of us don’t give it much thought.
In decades gone by, gaming magazines would run contests for players to complete certain tasks in video games; the idea was to try and set a fast time or reach the highest score they could within a certain number of minutes.
To enter, they’d have to record a video of it using a VHS tape and mail it to the magazine. It was long, cumbersome, and complicated.
Today, however, we can all share clips of our gaming sessions with the press of just a button or two.
In fact, some talented players have made entire careers out of broadcasting their gaming sessions live for people to see. Influencers like Ninja, auronplay, and Rubius have tens of millions of followers on Twitch and other platforms, generating huge sums because of it.
Video game streaming has also helped to popularise esports, with some competitions beginning to rival traditional sports in their size and popularity.
Another way that streaming has changed gaming is in the online casino space. Traditionally, these games operated with computer-generated graphics that would be displayed to users through their monitor or screen.
However, with the proliferation of streaming, a new category of casino offerings has been created. Known as live casino games, they combine the best of both land-based and online play by using streaming technology to broadcast a live video feed of a human dealer to players' devices.
These games have become incredibly popular since their launch around 15 years ago. To cater for this demand, online casinos have created new and unique versions of traditional games, such as Power Up Roulette, Football Roulette, and MONOPOLY Big Baller.
Each of these games combines the live video feed with digital inputs that allow the player to choose what and when to bet, while the dealer controls the game by telling people when and when not to place wagers. To add to the interactivity, players can send messages to the dealer through a live chat box; he/she can then respond by simply talking directly to the camera.
We currently find ourselves in the middle of an era known as the “streaming wars”. It involves digital media companies like Netflix and Disney battling it out for a prime spot on our televisions, smartphones, and tablets, all hoping to earn a monthly subscription fee from us.
But regardless of which service (or services) you subscribe to, the bigger picture of this battle is that these companies have completely changed the way most of us think about video content.
In the past, you’d have to watch programs when the station decided to air them, or set your VCR to record them so you could watch at a more convenient time.
You’d also have to wait a week after watching one episode to see the next, leaving you on the edge of your seat after a cliffhanger ending.
But with streaming, all of this has changed.
Most people have now become accustomed to the fact that you can watch what you want, when you want, and as much as you want. The term “binge-watching” has even found its way into common parlance, describing the act of sitting down to watch several episodes of the same show, one after the other.
This is also encouraging many people to ditch their expensive satellite and cable television subscriptions, choosing, instead, to pay simply for an internet connection and one (or a few) streaming services. There are even free streaming options that are available.
And because streaming platforms don’t usually tie you into long contracts, it’s easy to swap between them whenever you’ve watched everything you’re interested in.