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Twitch TV was created to cast live footage of PC and video games across the web. Now richer by $20 million, it points the way forward for increasing use of video (both live and recorded) and social media, while gaming continues to innovate in hardware and services that could impact any business or hobby.  

Who Cares About Games Anyway?

Gaming may easily get forgotten as we grow up, or is drowned out by the constant waves of tablet and smartphone launches. However, it remains one of technology's maxims, where gaming goes the rest of technology will follow eventually. So, over the last twelve months, we've seen Oculus Rift reinvent virtual reality for gamers (pictured below), and the tech is likely to be rapidly picked up by developers of serious applications when it hits the stores.

Also, take PC game developer Valve (of Half-Life fame) which had already turned itself into a service provider and store via Steam, and now helps crowdfund new game development via its Greenlight initiative. It also plans to release a new Linux-based Steam operating system, hardware and controller that can turn any living room into a PC gaming experience.

But, aside from a few lucky apps on mobile devices, the most successful gaming story in recent times is Twitch.tv. It started out as social media project, became a themed streaming service and is now generating some tens of millions of hours viewing per month across over 45 million users tuning into live gaming tournaments (online and strategy games are particularly popular), with close to 100,000 viewers watching top games like League of Legends or the new Grand Theft Auto 5 in action at once.

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Twitching to Succeed

The investment in Twitch, from the likes of WestSummit Capital and Take-Two Interactive brings its funding to $42 million, not bad for a two-year old company. The interest has likely been sparked by the use of Twitch in Sony's upcoming PlayStation 4 console, allowing gamers to broadcast by pressing the Share button. 

Why do that? Non-gamers might be asking. Well some of the leading players can earn serious money (reportedly up to six figures) via a share of the advertising revenue that plays during a stream. Which leads us to ask what other services and hobby niches are successfully promoting their wares online? 

To compete on a technical level, we've seen YouTube recently open up live-streaming to users with 100 or more followers, while other services like UStream continue to grow, creating a new market for people live streaming their hobbies, tutorials or events, increasing the pool of content creators who cna prove surprisingly popular.

So, you can now watch the 2013 World Carp Classic being streamed from Lake Bolsenga in Italy, with plenty of highlight clips. While UStream provides plenty of forums for tech heads like Leo Laporte and events like Chess tournaments, regular sports and more. All of these run with ad support, creating revenue and opportunities for anyone with an event or a voice to be heard.

So, while gaming may not play a big part in your life, keep an eye on where its going as the next twists and turns could have a big impact on revenue for your site, company or just to cash in on a hobby.