What is live streaming?
Live streaming is a type of gaming technology that allows you to watch or create videos that are streaming, or shared, in real-time.
In terms of gaming, live streaming is when a user actively records their gameplay for others to watch whilst they’re playing. People who are viewing are typically able to comment in a chat section and share emojis to express their opinions. The streamer (the person playing the game and recording it live) can see these and choose to talk back. On some platforms, you can choose to record your screen and yourself simultaneously.
If you’re interested in either creating or watching a gaming livestream, check out the best five platforms for it below.
Twitch is the most popular live streaming platform around today. Founded in 2011 by Justin Kan as a spin-off of his initial Justin.tv channel, Twitch gained superstar status as a gaming tool after being sold to Amazon in 2014.
As of February 2021, Twitch has 2.9 million average viewers at one time and had a total of 9.5 million active streamers in February, making it one of the biggest platforms for gamers and fans alike.
What can you do on Twitch?
The platform is completely free to sign up to, and while you don’t need an account in order to watch streamers, you’ll need one to create your own livestream or ‘favourite’ creators to find again.
If you pay the monthly subscription, you can subscribe to channels you enjoy, which supports the gamers themselves and gives you access to additional benefits like badges, alerts, chatrooms, and ad-free watching.
Discord was released online in 2015 as a group hangout software for gamers to connect. It was originally designed by founders Jason Citron and Stan Vishnevskiy as a way to chat with their fellow gaming friends. It has since expanded into a global chat-room for people to simply connect online, gaming or not, competing with the likes of Skype and Zoom.
Though still primarily viewed as a social gaming network, the founders have tried to expand the platform to more of an overall chat service, with the option to set up servers with subcategories of interest that people can join.
As of so far in 2021, Discord has recorded 140 million active monthly users.
What can you do on Discord?
Originally only set up as a text-and-talk service, Discord added video technology two years later in 2017. Gamers can use the “Go Live” feature to stream their gameplay to fellow friends and users online at the time. You can also stream movies and general chats, making the software more than just a gamer’s platform.
It’s free to sign up for Discord and free to join a server (a chat) to talk with other people who share the same interests as you. Discord integrates with multiple consoles as a result of its gaming roots, so you can sync it with your Xbox and PlayStation.
As a user, you can create your own channels and organise them by category for people to join and chat. You can also join up to 100 servers. Servers can be both public and private, so you can either chat with solely friends or allow anyone online to join in.
Nearly everyone on the internet has heard of, or actively uses, YouTube. Originally founded in 2005, it has extended into multiple different platforms, such as YouTube Music and now YouTube Gaming.
If you have YouTube on your smartphone or tablet, then you’ll also have access to YouTube Gaming, which was launched a decade later in 2015 for gamers to find relevant videos. Initially its own app, the gaming platform has since been integrated with the main website instead.
Allegedly YouTube Gaming was established to compete with Google’s rival, Amazon, and the seemingly unbeatable popularity of their streaming service Twitch.
With around 40 million active users in 2020, YouTube Gaming is the ideal platform for media fanatics who like to keep all of their content in one place - video, music, gaming, and chat.
What can you do on YouTube Gaming?
Joining YouTube in general is free, but to start creating on YouTube Gaming, you have to pay a monthly subscription. Once you have, you’re free to watch and stream unlimited content.
Interactive chats are also set up at the side of streams, where all viewers can chat to the streamer during their gameplay. You can subscribe to gaming channels the same way you subscribe to regular channels on YouTube, simply by clicking the tab.
Like YouTube, Facebook Gaming is an extension from the original app, Facebook. It’s one of the newest additions to the livestream gaming community, having been released in April 2020.
Facebook Gaming allows users to watch live and pre-recorded video streams of gameplays, as well as build their own fanbases and earn money through spectator support. The livestreams will be shared on the user’s Facebook page.
The platform is thriving, with over 800 million people using it to play games and follow others who stream.
What can you do on Facebook Gaming?
Creating an account for Facebook is completely free, but there are payments involved in the gaming side of this social media giant. If you want to stream, you need an account and you’ll need to pay for the right to stream online.
Facebook announced that they also plan to give users the ability to charge others to access and watch their streams, allowing Facebookers to start making some money as gamers. Additionally, Facebook pays users a very small fee to support the gaming community in getting involved, so you can earn money as a contributor and request money from viewers.
If you’re not interested in the economical side of gaming, you can just simply sign up and join groups to chat with fellow game fanatics, as well as play a range of mini games alone or with friends.
Founded in 2017 by Charles Wayn and Cole Chen, DLive is a video live streaming service that uses blockchain for its servers to keep chat content encrypted. Whilst it’s not as popular as the platforms listed above, DLive has around five million monthly active users streaming and watching games.
Its status was raised significantly when famous YouTube personality, ‘PewDiePie’, used the platform to stream his gameplay alongside some friends in mid 2019.
What can you do on DLive?
Like Twitch, you don’t need an account to watch live streams, but it’s completely free to set one up if you want to create any streams or follow your favourite content.
DLive also gives creators the option to set up subscriptions so that fellow fans and streamers can pay a set price to access premium benefits. DLive gives 90.1% of their subscription revenue back to the creators, so it may be easier to kickstart a career if you start off smaller.
If you want to download any of these apps and start watching live streams of gameplays, you might want to know which phones are best for gaming. If you do select a new phone to kickstart your livestream career, why not consider pairing it with an Asda mobile unlimited data bundle?
If you’re not a fan of live streaming, but love board games, here’s a bunch you can play virtually on your smartphone or tablet.
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