A long, long time ago (like before the internet), the only way to watch video games was in an arcade, your friend's house, or huddled around a Gameboy at school recess. That is to say, you had to be physically present in the same area. However, that would eventually change.
Fast forward to today, and we find there are many platforms for broadcasting, live video-game streams. While Twitch may be amongst the biggest, there are other companies looking to expand past the simple streaming of gameplay. Beyond looking over someone’s shoulder, they are looking to envelop the viewer in the action.
New Approaches to Game Streaming
One such pioneer is Genvid. They synchronize the game data and format to the video stream, which allows viewers to click on what they are watching as though they are in the game.
Speaking of which, there’s even live events broadcast into specific games where the viewers interact directly with the event as their own playable characters. Last February, DJ Marshmellow played a set through the game Fortnight where virtual attendees jumped and danced with the music.
There are even eSport stadiums, such as the Blizzard Arena LA in Los Angeles, where fans can gather to watch the action in person. Again, there remains a desire to improve the experience into more of a social setting. ESport events could start to take the form of music festivals where participants are free to roam to different zones throughout the venue.
It is this highly social, free-roaming, festival-like approach that designers believe will help draw more fans out of their homes to attend live eSports events. In order for this to work, however, fans need a deep sense of connection with the action on stage wherever they are within the venue.
However, that deep sense of connection absolutely requires….
Real-life happens instantly. You say something, the other person hears it and responds, etc. etc. When communicating online, we are still wired for that instantaneous response, so any sort of delay will throw off the natural feel.
In streaming services that allow fans to watch their favorite gamer as they play, viewers and players can chat together asking questions and giving feedback.
Oftentimes the video and the subsequent commentary given by the player is ahead of what the viewers see, so comments can come in staggered and out of order. Accordingly, after a perfect headshot, one might post an encouraging "nice job" only have it come across the screen after they were smacked down by an opponent.
Suddenly that compliment becomes more of a snarky remark.
Here's where Red5 Pro comes into play (literally). With our sub 500ms latency, smooth and seamless gameplay is possible with fluid chats and more natural communication. Comments are delivered right away allowing gamers to respond on time while it's still relevant to what the screen is showing. This keeps the audience engaged and creates a sense that they are participating in the stream.
As online gaming communities continue to expand with large investments from media giants like ESPN and Amazon, audiences are going to grow larger and spread to various parts of the world. With that increase, comes the need for a stable and scalable network.
Luckily, scalability is another one of Red5 Pro's area of expertise. With our autoscaling solution, you can configure servers in different regions and our clustered infrastructure and internal load balancing logic will automatically connect a viewer to the best server to get the highest performance possible.
Most importantly, you get all that scalability while maintaining the sub-500ms latency.
Real-time latency opens-up many possibilities for new forms of immersive game streaming. Perhaps we will see a mashup of popular interactive platforms like HQ Trivia and Twitch. The now established eSports community is open to evolution as well. Now that sports betting is legal, eSports gambling will be right around the corner. Placing bids is another time-sensitive activity that relies on real-time latency.
Maybe we will see giant, cross-platform, cross-continent, gaming where Mario Cart racers, and Sonic the Hedgehog crash through a player-generated Minecraft course, while an EDM festival streams through the background. Or…. something equally fun and ridiculous.
Regardless of whatever becomes the next “big thing” in live-streaming, real-time latency will definitely be essential.