Live streaming has become such a staple of contemporary life that it is difficult to remember its origins. This unique technology first made its indelible mark in the music industry, with resources such as iTunes and Spotify enabling users to stream their favourite tracks on-demand and download them where appropriate.
This has challenged and changed the way that people listen to music, and marked a generational shift away from CD's and vinyl. The ease and flexibility offered by live streaming has subsequently begun to influence other markets too, changing the entire shape of entertainment in the modern age.
So how has this evolution occurred? Live streaming quickly evolved into the field of audio visual entertainment, while it has also had a similar affect in this marketplace. Sites such as Netflix and Amazon Prime have emerged to offer instant access to television shows and hit films, all in exchange for a monthly (or annual) subscription fee.
As the technology that has underpinned these platforms has evolved, so too similar sites have been developed to stream live sports events.
This brings us onto the subject of live streaming in gaming, which has become a huge concern during the last 18 months. This has been driven by the rise of the virtual gambling sector, with a huge number of live casino platforms now accessible to players through the desktop or mobile devices. These outlets provide players with access to live and competitive tournaments, while they also deliver enhanced interaction between participants and online dealers.
The success of live streaming in the online gaming sector has inspired console developers to capitalise, with the latest generation of console platforms (including the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4) integrating online community features and real-time gameplay. This is creating a more exciting and integrated market, where cross-platform gaming is more than just a fanciful dream.
This evolution has taken a new course recently, thanks primarily to the emergence of Twitch. This is a live broadcasting platform through which gamers can interact and share real-time gameplay tips, as they look to educate others by broadcasting their own successes, failures or helpful hints.
Twitch offers an insight into the future of live streaming, which may ultimately be a space that is dominated by user-generated content. Allowing for licensing and broadcasting laws, there is every chance that we may eventually see live streaming supersede traditional media and become a consumer-driven entity.