Mobile phones are now ubiquitous when it comes to our daily lives. No longer are our mobile handsets just used for making calls and texts on the go; they are used as companions for our daily tasks and, in many cases, they have replaced the traditional ways that we get things done.
For example, mobile devices are now being used more than ever to browse the Internet. In 2015, SimilarWeb’s State of Mobile Web US 2015 report revealed that approximately 56% of consumer traffic to leading websites in the United States comes from mobile devices. With e-commerce, more people do their holiday shopping using a mobile device than on a desktop, according to data from Adobe Analytics. They are now a primary source of entertainment too, providing us with access to all sorts of games, including the likes of Pokemon GO, Candy Crush, and poker games such as Texas Hold’Em and Omaha Hi/Lo, which have been adapted for mobile devices, appealing to this growing market of mobile users.
One area that has particularly been impacted by this shift to mobile is game live-streaming. The video game live-streaming industry may have sprouted on PC desktops because the content being streamed was PC gaming and, therefore, appealed to an audience that is traditionally using their PCs to access content anyway. But, as mobile phones have begun to be used so much for everything else, so too have they become increasingly used to tune into gaming live-streams too.
Why Do People Enjoy Mobile Game Streams So Much?
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Streaming service Twitch now gets as many viewers as MSNBC and CNN and a key part of that is down to the atmosphere. While it may not be feasible to host a house party every night of the week, gathering around your pals to watch a League of Legends tournament, it is perfectly feasible to fire up a website and tune into a stream and you can even do this on the go.
Key to this community atmosphere is that streaming sites now cater to so many different kinds of gaming interests. Just about any sort of game you enjoy – whether a traditional video game, a sport or a version of a game made more suitable for live-streaming – can be found on Twitch. As of the time of writing, some of the most popular categories being streamed on Twitch include battle royale game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, music rhythm action game Beat Saber, and poker. Although poker isn’t a traditional video game, more than 29,000 people tune in to watch people play poker games in real-time. It just highlights the fact that Twitch is able to cater to all sorts of niches, no matter what sort of games (whether traditional or adapted for online audiences) viewers are into.
According to live streaming solutions provider Livestream, 81% of internet and mobile audiences watched more live video in 2016 than they did in 2015. Meanwhile, data from YouTube suggests that mobile video consumption increases by 100% every year. This is because it has now become easier than ever to tune in to these kinds of connected social experiences.
There are dedicated mobile apps for many of the most popular live-streaming services including Twitch, Mixer, and YouTube Gaming. Not only does the existence of platforms like these make it simple to connect with a community that you’re interested in but the apps also make it a piece of cake for you to connect with these communities wherever you are. While finding a poker enthusiast or action adventure aficionado to bond with may seem difficult, it’s not too hard to seek out your (potential) friend group if you have a phone in your pocket and a data plan.
The Rise of Live-Streaming Interactivity
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Mobile phones are commonly used for entertainment these days. It’s why we fire up puzzle and word games such as Monument Valley and Toy Crush; they see us having fun on a long commute or in times of boredom. These games are interactive experiences that give us things to do and offer rewards for doing so, so it makes a considerable amount of sense that mobile users would look for more examples like that, examples such as interactive live streams.
Video game live streams offer plenty of opportunities for us to interact and providers are steadily offering viewers more chances to engage, improving the entertainment factor of a game. One of these new methods includes Twitch Bits, where players can use Bits to “cheer” a streamer on in the chat, making a game feel like a sporting event as much as a stream. Elsewhere, interactive stream features have offered huge improvements to the poker games carried by 888poker, as poker live streams let players watch human croupiers deal their cards. They can also discuss games like Omaha Hi, Texas Hold’Em, 7 Card Stud with other poker fans who have tuned into the streams too. This turns an ordinary game into a social experience with a welcoming, competitive atmosphere. This is the ethos behind streams and the interactive features being offered.
Moreover, some games even feature Twitch interactive features specifically for live stream viewers. According to Twitch, some supported games include PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, World of Tanks, World of Warcraft, World of Warships, and the family-friendly block building game, Minecraft. While it doesn’t seem as though any mobile games support the Twitch overlay or the add-ons/mods offered by the streaming platform, there is clear room for growth there in order to capture even more mobile users.
According to data published by industry analysis firm Statista, by the year 2019, 2.5 billion people will own a smartphone. This is a significant increase from the estimated 2.1 billion who are said to have owned a smartphone in 2016. In comparison, more than 500 million people are believed to tune into video-based gaming content (including live streams and recorded videos). What this means is that there is a significant overlap in the two demographics and, likely, most – if not all – of the people watching gaming-related content also own a mobile handset.
As both of these sectors grow, so too will this overlap, and it will mean that, just like with e-commerce and with visiting websites in general, watching a live stream on a mobile device will become the most popular way to watch other people play battle royale games, multiplayer sports titles and a thrilling rounds of Texas Hold’Em. It’s clear how streaming platforms can accelerate that growth; chiefly, make their apps even more optimized for mobile devices, roll out more interactive features that work on mobile devices, and work with more mobile gaming partners. There is already a significant number of people watching live streams using their phones but, by doing this, these figures will only skyrocket further.