Video game live streaming is all the buzz these days, especially with a controversial copyright amendment bill causing some fireworks in the Legislative Council.
Gamers in Hong Kong and around the world have turned it into a multibillion-dollar industry.
And thanks to massive promotion by celebrity gamers through live streaming, Tower of Saviors, a smartphone game app created in 2013 by Hong Kong tech startup Mad Head Ltd., has become a monster hit in the Greater China region.
Video game live streaming is a lot more than just watching others play video games live.
So how exactly does it work?
Popular websites such as Twitch and many others allow people to watch professional gamers in action with live streaming.
Gamers often give a running commentary and interact with the audience in real time.
You can watch pre-recorded video of these games on YouTube and share the hyperlinks on social media.
Every day, tens of thousands of people stream games or watch others play in real time on the internet.
Live video streaming can reach a very large worldwide audience at any given time.
As a result, it has proven to be an effective promotion tool for online video game developers compared with conventional ads and commercials.
Game creators are increasingly relying on live streaming to promote their products.
However, once the proposed copyright legislation is passed, video game live streaming could be illegal unless the running commentaries and the feedback are entirely about the content of the game and nothing more.
In practice, that’s next to impossible.
If live streaming is banned, that would deal a deadly blow to the fledging online video game sector which accounts for a significant chunk of Hong Kong’s tech industry.
Isn’t it ironic that while the government vows to promote new technologies with the new Innovation and Technology Bureau, it’s pushing a bill that could strangle the tech industry?
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec. 21.
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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