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One of the biggest trends of the last five years has been the growth of live streaming play sessions on Twitch and Youtube, something that the industry would have been hardpressed to predict, and has generally been slow to adapt to. However, being able to watch someone play a game is now a massive part of the appeal of a new game, and that’s something Overwatch’s Jeff Kaplan thinks we should be looking to as a big area for expansion and innovation going forward.
“I think the most notable change happening in gaming right now is the influence of streaming and viewing and the generational shift towards the streaming culture,” he explains. “For many, watching games is as fun as playing games. As developers start to embrace the concept of streaming and viewing, it opens the door for new and exciting design space to be explored.
“I personally believe that the next big trend in videogames will be the adoption and embracement of streaming culture with games designed to maximise the experience for the streamer, viewers and other affected players.”
So what would that look like? Well, building games with the spectator in mind from the beginning is an important place to start. Having non-player camera options and controls that will allow viewers to either get a different view of the action or customise their view how they see fit. As bandwidth opens up, why not have everyone be their own camera operator as they watch, focusing in on whatever they think is important? These are big additional challenges for developers.
David Braben sees this as a trend with a lot of potential. “We are likely to see the connection between players and game developers get tighter and closer, and new kinds of game emerge where players are closely involved in the whole process,” he tells us. “We will see tighter integration of streamed video – similar to Twitch and Youtube Gaming today – and different kinds of interaction.”
“WE ARE LIKELY TO SEE THE CONNECTION BETWEEN PLAYERS AND GAME DEVELOPERS GET TIGHTER AND CLOSER”