Given that it has ingrained itself into our daily lives over the past few years, apart from setting new standards for the entire entertainment business, the online entertainment industry is unquestionably one of the biggest and fastest-growing markets in the world today.
As technology progresses at dizzying speed, industry leaders have pushed for more capabilities and overall improved experiences, culminating in a complete shift of how we entertain ourselves online.
It is clear that the number of people seeking entertainment online has expanded considerably in the previous two years. There has never been a time when people have been more grateful for the wealth of choices the digital world offers, whether it is through movies and TV shows, live streams, esports, or other sources.
The expansion of online entertainment, which had already undergone significant changes over the previous few years, has surely been accelerated by events during the past two years. Movie theaters, libraries, sports arenas, and even casinos were closed at this time since many individuals had to stay inside owing to a number of restrictions.
As a result, more and more individuals are using streaming services and online gaming alternatives, among other platforms and services, for amusement, and this tendency has only become stronger in 2022. In this article, we’ll go through a few of these internet alternatives that are upending the entertainment business.
The consolidation of esports
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Esports, the competitive segment of video games, in which professional gamers and teams participate in organized multiplayer video game tournaments for multi-million prize pools, is a distinct sector that has been progressively expanding since its inception.
Despite the fact that video game culture has always included tournaments and competitions, the popularity of online gaming significantly contributed to the growth of esports.
Early in the 2010s, esports enjoyed widespread popularity thanks to the advent of streaming technologies for live-streaming these contests and the professionalization of gamers. Asia, and South Korea in particular, where professional gamers have been legally recognized since 2000, is where esports first experienced a boom in popularity. Esports have, however, gained prominence in Europe and the Americas during the past ten years as well.
Specifically, MOBAs, first-person shooters, and battle royale games are the focus of the bulk of esports leagues and tournaments. The most well-known esports franchises today are League of Legends, Dota 2, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, StarCraft II, Fortnite, and Counter-Strike.
iGaming on the rise
No matter if it’s typical casino games like roulette, or sports betting, or even lottery games, gambling has historically been one of the world’s favorite hobbies. However, due to the restrictions put in place internationally over the last two years, the iGaming industry – more generally known as online gambling – saw a rise in popularity as physical casinos and betting venues were forced to shut down operations.
Players now have access to a vast range of online casinos and sportbooks. Online casinos provide both classics and live games with real hosts, including roulette, blackjack, slots, and live game shows. Online sportsbooks, on the other hand, provide a diverse range of sports betting markets, including major leagues and tournaments from across the world, such as the NFL, MLB, NBA, the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA World Cup.
Players have a wide selection of licensed and regulated operators to choose from, and each one provides a variety of betting options, a number of payment and banking options, as well as special bonuses, promotions, and reward programs.
Podcasts dominating digital platforms
Podcasts precede the internet and were known as ‘audio blogging’ in the 1980s. Similar to early blogs, this was a method for people to share their stories and ideas with others through audio recording.
However, due to a scarcity of distribution channels, it took nearly two decades for this tendency to catch on. With the emergence and widespread usage of portable audio devices such as the iPod in the early 2000s, the notion of exporting these ‘audio blogs’ to an audio device as an MP3 file became popular.
Over 30 million episodes of content have been produced by approximately 1 million podcasts since 2005, the great majority of which are free to access. However, a third of those episodes were created after June 2018, highlighting the podcast industry’s explosive growth. With smartphones having become commonplace, everyone has a gadget for listening to podcasts in their pocket.
iHeartRadio and NPR compete for the title of today’s most listened podcast network, with both receiving over 22 million weekly listeners. Podcasts genres that have soared in popularity in recent year include talk shows and true crime podcasts, the latter even influencing TV shows like Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building.
Video game streams more popular than ever
Playing and social interaction are only a small part of gaming. The activity also depends on its audience. To that aim, the industry for live streaming has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, especially on platforms like Twitch.
Anyone who grew up as a younger sibling of a gamer will tell you that watching games is nothing new. Even if the particular pull of games is their player participation, they also have a lot to offer viewers, from compelling narratives to a barrage of sensory stimuli.
Recently, the number of individuals watching live-streamed gaming content has gotten close to 1 billion. The year 2021 was a turning point for live streaming, breaking all previous records for viewership. Again, the events in the globe in 2020 made it a highly significant year for streaming. However, the audience kept growing, rising by 12.7% annually to 747 million viewers in 2021.