Video games have always been a competitive sport. Back in the day, arcade leaderboards were pixelated and every kid wanted to be the top scorer in their neighborhood. With the explosion of the Internet and the release of iconic first-person shooters like Doom and Counter Strike, gamers from all over the world started coming together. In 1997, one of the first e-sports organizations, the Cyberathelete Professional League, was created. Since then, the gaming world has moved on by leaps and bounds towards online gaming and streaming. Let’s take a closer look at the phenomenon.
The rise of online gaming and streaming
Over the past four decades, online gaming has become one of the largest entertainment industries in the world. PricewaterhouseCoopers reports that the global online gaming industry was worth around $56 billion in 2010! That’s bigger than the magazine or music industries and about two-thirds of the film industry. According to a 2011 report by the Entertainment Software Association, the average age of gamers in the United States is 37 years old, and 42 percent of those gamers are women.
One of the biggest trends in live streaming today isn’t music (as you might have guessed before), but competitive gaming. Sports today, attract thousands of viewers. Many sites that are specifically for gamers and their fans broadcast sports events these days. Several sports websites have exploded all over the internet as live streaming takes competitive video gaming to a whole new level, transforming it from a sport watched by millions to one that was limited to an insider only.
Video Game Streaming: The Big Players
Among the big players in video game streaming today are Own3D.tv and Twitch TV. Own3D.tv started online video game streaming in 2010 and currently the website attracts over four million unique viewers per month for live video game streams. In March 2011, the world’s largest gaming league, the Electronic Sports League (ESL), broadcast the Intel Extreme Masters, one of the most popular gaming tournaments of the year, through Own3D. With a prize pool of $400,000, the gaming tournament drew 75,000 live viewers concurrently over the days of one event, while the overall audience reached several million players. In June 2011, more than 200,000 concurrent viewers watched a Dream hack competition (based on another popular game, League of Legends) on Own3D with around 250 Gaps’ of traffic.
And live video streaming vendor Justin.tv has witnessed 스포츠중계 video streaming grow so quickly that it dedicated an entire website to it. In June 2011, they launched Twitch TV after video game streaming reached about 3.2 million monthly unique views on its website. Twitch TV now captures over 12 million unique viewers each month. It has also had a consistent monthly growth rate of 11 percent since its launch. In addition, Twitch TV has over 1,000 premium partners. It has also received over 80,000 downloads of its iPhone mobile app in less than a month of its app 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
- Unique viewers per week: 4,214,057
- Total hours watched per unique viewer: 1.6
- Weekly unique conversations: 309,220
- Maximum concurrent viewers per stream: 125,862
- Highest number of concurrent viewers for all game content: 165,250
- Video Game Streaming: Popular Genres
- Here are some of the most popular genres of online video game live streaming:
- Adventure (Assassin’s Creed II, Lego, Lost Planet)
- Strategy (StarCraft II, Total War, Worms)
- Sports games (FIFA, NBA 2K10, MLB 2K10)
Streaming Games Online: The Legal Side
By now you may know, or at least have heard, about the new anti-streaming video law – S.978. Currently, it is not illegal to stream, say, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 online, as it is considered a public performance. However, such a bill would make such videos illegal. This bill may seem like a great thing at first as it helps curb piracy, but since parts of the bill are quite vague, it may cause some problems for members of the media/gaming communities.
However, it’s also possible that game developers and publishers will decide not to blame streamers, leaving things pretty much as they are now. Given the sheer volume of such videos available online, it would be rather optimistic to think that game developers and publishers have the time and money to go after users every time they break this potential law. In addition to online video