• Paul Hurley

What Will Interactive Streaming Look Like In A Post-Pandemic World?

There are growing new online trends for Twitch and other platforms, that look like they are here to stay.

January 2020: Freiburg, Germany. DJ B-Phisto works in his studio preparing for some upcoming appearances. A popular, busy DJ, he has a full roster of gigs lined up for the year, including a schedule of summer festival appearances.

We all know that life will change when we reemerge to some semblance of normality post-pandemic. New habits acquired over this and last year will infiltrate the norm. For example, the fear of a resurgence, or a mutation of the virus, will persist. Public mask-wearing will no longer just be associated with Japanese subway riders. It will be much more socially acceptable to avoid going to an in-person meeting and do it online instead.

History may also repeat itself of course: the Spanish Flu of 100 years ago was immediately succeeded by a decade that was given its own nickname. Will the 2020s also roar as people crave more human interaction following a period of being stuck inside?

Whether they will or not, we think one thing is certain. A new form of interactivity is emerging online.

March 2020: Texas, USA. Presenter Gus Davis pulls over to take a call in his car. He learns that his upcoming programme of in-person live shows has been cancelled. The company he works for, which successfully promotes and presents corporate gameshows all over the United States, faces a sudden meltdown.

Despite the best efforts of platform controllers, online interactivity is still largely a one-way phenomenon. On busy Twitch and YouTube channels, the chat whizzes up so quickly that it is hard to read. A streamer might catch the odd comment, but by the time they have replied, the chat has moved on. It might be called ‘chat’, but it’s far removed from a conversation. Some users even pay to have their chat pinned briefly to the top of the stream. Sound alerts and polls are also common, but until now any form of ‘true’ interactivity has been lacking.

At Codices, we make tools that allow people to host their own gameshows. Our current best-in-show product is Quiz Kit, which allows anyone in any language to launch and host a live, interactive quiz show in a few seconds. You can see some stats about it on our accompanying infographic.

May 2020: Since lockdown, B-Phisto hasn’t had any in-person gigs. His long list of upcoming gigs has evaporated. He decides to stream on Twitch for the first time. At first it’s a bit slow and hard to build an audience, so he looks around at the various available extensions — the in-platform ‘apps’ that broadcasters use to liven up their streams — to see how they might help him entertain and engage with his audience more. One extension stands out.

We acquired our first hundred or so Quiz Kit hosts at the end of 2018. Hundreds grew into thousands in 2019 and thousands have since become tens of thousands. That’s tens of thousands of individuals all around the world hosting their own game shows. And, as their individual audiences range from the tens to the tens of thousands, we have had over 20 million players worldwide. If you’re doing something interactive on Twitch, it’s increasingly likely to be a Codices product (we have various formats and plenty more in the pipeline). Our infographic shows some of the highlights of the last year.

We think this is a trend that is becoming the norm. Yes, once bars and clubs open, festivals restart and meeting someone for dinner is normal again, people will enjoy a frenzy of real human interaction. It’s what we are built for and thrive on. But the habits built up during the pandemic will not only linger, they will last. And one of those habits will be true, two-way live interaction that makes people feel part of a real community.

December 2020: Gus’ schedule is now almost as busy as it was pre-pandemic. Companies who are now working en masse at home love the fact that they can bring their teams together.

Our tools have allowed people to run their own shows on just about any topic you can imagine. It’s far from just being about gaming. Yoga teachers, handicrafters and chess teachers have used them. We’ve hosted online Christmas parties. New friendships have been forged. And this has been happening worldwide. Again and again and again.

December 2020: B-Phisto’s follower numbers have been growing steadily. He’s even beginning to make some money. He’s still a DJ above all, but he’s also the world’s most prolific Quiz Kit user in 2020. And he has no plans to stop using it.

Please request any further information by emailing paul@codices.io.