Online Streaming and Esports
16:22 06 January 2021
The growth of esports has went hand in hand with the growth and popularity of online streaming services such as Twitch – not only have these services provided a platform for the talent in esports teams to become more well-known and a household name, but also an opportunity for esports to gain coverage on a large platform without the requirement of having broadcasting or TV deals for example. With the growth found in esports over the past year through the postponement of regular sporting events and the widespread introduction of esports betting here across multiple titles, popularity has surged – but what has online streaming offered esports, and can other more traditional titles gain the same benefits?
Interactive viewership – One of the key benefits to esports and online gaming as a whole that isn’t often found in any other sport is the increased interaction between both streamer and the audience – fans can get to know their favourite player and talk to them on a daily basis, it has allowed esports stars to seem much more approachable and much more personable and has been a huge part of why so many have gained so much success. Whilst this interaction can’t be translated to live tournaments, live chat interaction allows thousands of fans to connect to each other during these games much in the same way, and with a large group of likeminded people enjoying a passion, the chats can certainly be exciting.
Integrated stream tools – This has been something that has come around relatively recently and hasn’t always been an available feature, but is something certainly widely used today. Tools can be created to display on a livestream that offer information, perhaps it can show key moments in the game, or even have stats or additional features that show viewers key aspects of an event – this gives the user more control and more information, and given traditional broadcasting offers little in this way, it allows streams to cater to the specific audience for the game and deliver additional features.
Ease of access – Possibly the most impactful feature that streaming has had on esports however is within the ease of access – not only are all larger tournaments broadcast for free, but many are available in different languages with different streaming personalities co-hosting and providing commentary. With many traditional sporting events only available behind a paywall and some only available in the local language of the sport, it can often feel non-exclusive to many, and is a space in which esports has found huge success. Without any barrier to entry, anyone, anywhere, at any time, can have access to view any ongoing event so long as they have an internet connection and that has been extremely relevant. It’s unlikely that this will change in the future either, as although television networks have started picking up the rights to show esport tournaments, streaming will remain for the longer time and will continue to be the primary broadcasting option.