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Esports and the Rise of Interactive Metaworld Events

Are metaverse events that deliver consistent interactive and even immersive experiences that move with their audiences the future of event streaming? Chris Pfaff, CEO, Chris Pfaff Tech Media, Producers Guild of America (PGA), VR AR Association (VRARA), discusses this topic with Alan Bucaria, Director of Advanced Imaging, Media.Monks, and Joshua Johnson, Sr. Director, Solution Architects, EdgeNext, in this clip from their Streaming Media East 2023 panel.

Pfaff begins by mentioning a recent keynote he gave discussing the metaverse and why broadcasters should care about it. “The whole concept is that you have some kind of persistent experience that can move with you. It's not one platform per se,” he says. “Very quickly during the pandemic, Travis Scott had a Fortnite concert with 27.7 million uniques, and there were 12.3 million concurrent. And, of course, Sony PlayStation’s State of Plays is doing great work. We're now at a point where with eSports, and certainly what happens on Twitch, the door is open for larger events.” He asks Alan Bucaria of Media.Monks, “Do you see more of these kinds of events coming because of what you're doing?”

“Absolutely,” Bucaria says. “I think the main thing is it always has to be interactive and engaging. [It’s] like having these metaverses that can have people interact with the artist in a new way. And we're dealing with two generations of people raised on interactivity.”

“I mean, League of Legends has now been around for so long,” Pfaff says. “[It’s] kind of jumped in the last five years to the point where you've got this real-time global universe that just doesn't care that it's 2:00 AM in Mumbai and whatever time it is where you are.” He mentions a recent venture that, while it didn’t last, was an exceptional example of capitalizing on these massive live global audiences made up of all types of users. “ENTER Music was a Universal Music imprint that was creating music to be played during Twitch events, during eSports events…because they suddenly realized that if they dropped it into these tournaments, you'd get people from all over the world who were then streaming it somewhere.” He then asks Joshua Johnson of EdgeNext where he sees 2D headed in terms of large-scale events.

Johnson doesn’t believe that 2D will remain the primary component of interactive ecosystems. “I have a 23 year old son that I can't get off the computer, haven't for years,” he says. “But that's his communication mechanism, he's involved, and it's interactive. Everything is interactive. You look at a lot of eSports and gaming that's going on. It's no longer just a game being played. They are participating in the event. They're either watching, they are chatting, they are communicating throughout the whole thing, and the visuals are getting better and better. It's become a complete ecosystem [and] entertainment system now, and the infrastructure needs [to be] supported. There are companies that have literally built their underlying infrastructure to support that whole entertainment environment for just gaming, and I don't think the 2D piece is going to be there anymore. The 2D piece is going to be on top of the interactivity part.”

Bucaria speculates about where all of this interactivity is headed. “Maybe it's also kind of leading towards more interactivity and like the ultimate interactivity…VR or something, where you're super engaged. So I almost feel like, at a certain point, they're just going to intersect.”

Learn more about a wide range of streaming industry topics at Streaming Media Connect 2023.

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