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Bringing Humanity into Interactive Entertainment

Photo “Conectados” (CC BY 2.0) by Tupolev und seine Kamera

The advent of the internet was a revelation for many reasons, one of the largest of which comes from how it allowed us to connect with others. Even a world away, family, friends, and strangers could spend time together to have fun and grow. In the early days, this manifested as simple chat and emails, but recently, the potential of this realm has expanded rapidly.

In this article, we want to examine some of the most engaging developments to come from interactive entertainment in the last few years. Where did these come from, and why do they hold so much more appeal than traditional methods of online engagement?

An Evolution in Hangouts

One of the first breakout hits when the internet reached the mainstream were chatrooms. Back when the idea was still novel, talking to people all over the work with simple text chat was enormously appealing. With low data requirements that operated perfectly on the common 56k modems of yore, these were perfect fits. Of course, they were also limited, with video chat being largely impossible.

Friend group chat systems like those of MSN Messenger or ICQ soon took off during this era, making hangouts more personal, but still similarly restricted. You could hang out together, but that was practically all you could do. Modern technology has changed this pattern, however, with programs like Netflix Party working to synchronize friends in activities like watching movies. It might not be quite the same as hanging out in the same room, but options like this are still amazingly fun and useful. Combined with live video chat, the bar has been raised significantly.

Best of Both Worlds

One of the more directly interactive forms of online entertainment is seen in the world of online casino games. Popular for groups of players and individual players for years, modern changes within this industry took it a step further, and have led to the rise of what are called live casino games.

Games like Live Lightning Roulette Hold’em Jumbo 7 and Blackjack at Leovegas live casino work by fusing both the convenience of online play with real human dealers. This development takes what was already a widely-loved communal experience and elevates it to an entirely new level. Through this addition of more appreciable human interaction, live casino games have bridged a gap few expected to ever be crossed.

The Rise of Streaming

In terms of basic video streaming, a surprisingly large early driver came from the realm of video games. The Twitch service, launched in 2011, was based on the idea of sharing live video game tournaments and general gameplay. Over time, competitive gaming known as speedrunning would also find a home here, and the platform would grow far beyond its early roots.

Sparking the idea of general video chat channels for hosts to communicate with fans, the progress of Twitch slowly but surely drew in what was then an untapped market. As face-cams became popular, channels would find better engagement by interacting with viewers, sharing stories, advice, and more. Despite being what the founder called a “terrible idea”, Twitch quickly became worth hundreds of millions, operating far beyond its early goals.

DSCF9930” (Public Domain) by f999999_key

While the internet always held immense promise, leveraging that promise was not immediately possible. It has only been with time, evolving technology, and online trends that society has been able to develop interactive entertainment on the level that we enjoy today. Already leagues away from the early years, we can’t say for sure what form this will take next, but if the past is any indication, the future will be more open and communicative than ever before.

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