A little competition can make any virtual experience more fun. From sports to video games, adding a competitive feature to your live video app is sure to draw in users and keep them coming back. One way to make video interactive is through the gamification of online services. We've come up with some fun ideas for combining live video and online competition to create amazing interactive virtual experiences. If you are looking for inspiration, you’re in the right place.

Virtual Escape Rooms

Escape rooms blend the entertainment of logic puzzles with collaboration in a themed environment. The goal is to use objects and clues they find in the room to solve the puzzle before time runs out. They create a fully immersive problem-solving experience and have grown in popularity over the past few years as a fun group pastime. Due to the already immersive nature of escape rooms, they can also naturally be translated into virtual reality spaces. Virtual reality escape rooms allow players to enter a simulated environment with their team members and try to find their way out within a certain amount of time.

To add a layer of competition, most escape rooms keep track of the fastest resolution time for each puzzle. This can be increased by broadcasting virtual reality escape rooms for viewers to watch. For example, two separate teams might simultaneously work to solve the same puzzle and compete for the best time. Viewers can use multiviewer technology to watch both teams at once or step into a specific VR room to watch that particular team. This approach combines the appeal of live game shows with streaming and online competition.

Using technology like Red5 Pro’s Mixer, this can be done on a larger scale, too. The Mixer allows developers to create dynamic compositions of many streams, while still broadcasting those streams in real time. For this use case, a large-scale competition might broadcast each of the teams and display them on a dynamic leaderboard highlighting each group as they solve the puzzle. Additionally, online escape room competitions open up room for betting and viewer interaction with the stream. Online viewers can watch their friends and family compete by entering a specific virtual room access code, and even bet on who will win. The escape room platforms could even add the option for viewers to gift hints or advantages to their favorite players throughout the game, similar to the viewer in the Hunger Games movies.

Adding a live game show layer to the traditional escape room can bring together friends and family from a distance and encourage involvement in the game. It also allows live streamers to broadcast their experience to their fans and increase interactions with their content.

Reality TV

Any reality television aficionado knows that these shows often create diehard fans who are arguably as intense about their favorite show as sports fans are about their favorite teams. TV shows like The Bachelor, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Love Island, and The Voice all have lively online communities that keep people watching. The networks behind these shows take full advantage of this intensity to help build and keep viewership. ABC promotes The Bachelor, for example, by using social media to interact with fans during and leading up to new episodes. They reply to tweets, highlight fan opinions, and stir up excitement about upcoming events. Other shows, like The Voice, rely on audiences to vote on which contestants they want to win. These interactions not only help create a community that keeps viewers coming back for more, but they also add a layer of competition as viewers try to predict what will happen and who will get sent home each week.

Just as sports fans are invested in a particular player or their home team, reality TV fans become invested in the contestants they want to win. One Bachelor fan even dedicated herself to being a full-time Bachelor data analyst who tracks everything from screen time to winning dress colors. Because of the similar intensity in fans, many of the same competition ideas that are used for sports engagement can be applied to reality TV.

Just as sports betting is quickly growing in popularity in online sports communities, betting has huge potential in the reality TV realm. Viewers already interact with other fans and official show accounts on social media as each episode airs; they hold watch parties and make bets with their friends about who will be kicked off. So why not incorporate that functionality directly into the platforms that air these shows? As discussed in a previous post, real-time streaming makes it possible to include micro-betting functionality in live video experiences. Additionally, reality TV platforms can use Red5 Pro’s Mixer and Watch Party technology to bring fans onstage to participate remotely in live Q&A and trivia episodes, and battle for superfan status.

Board Games

It may seem like increased interest in video games and online interactions would topple the board game industry, but board game playing is actually increasing in popularity. With the help of live video streaming, developers can take advantage of this growth by taking classic board games in entirely new directions. Board game enthusiasts have been using video conferencing apps to play from a distance for years now, but with the increase in video conferencing due to COVID-19, meeting friends online has become the norm in all areas of entertainment. As a result, conferencing companies have been working hard to perfect their platforms and make group video calls accessible to everyone.

Additionally, recent cultural phenomena have shown that tabletop games are as popular as ever. In particular, after season 4 of Stranger Things began airing in May 2022, Google searches for “how to play Dungeons and Dragons” rose by 600%, and the search for starter kits for the game rose by 250%. Although avid fans have been playing together online for some time now, the increase in interest shows potential for even more interactive online D&D experiences. Using a combination of watch party technology and repurposed online gambling features can help bring the game to life and add a layer of competition. For example, traditional betting features can be used to roll the dice to decide damage or healing or to bet on upcoming events. Not to mention, there is also potential in bringing tabletop games into a virtual reality space so that players can walk through the simulated worlds they create (Dejarik, anyone?).

The same ideas can be applied to other board games, too. Game nights are an important tradition in many families. Whether playing Monopoly or The Game of Life, families can join in on game night traditions even if they cannot be together in person.

Education

Gamification has been shown to make education more engaging and effective. One study shows that incorporating Kahoot - a live online trivia competition app - into the classroom improves students’ attitudes toward learning. It both reinforces what the students have been taught, and motivates them to study so that they can win the game.

One of the reasons games work so well in education is that they apply a low-stakes testing approach to learning new information. Strategy games like Civilization allow students to make mistakes, fail, learn, and play again until they feel comfortable with the game and material. Since they learn through experience, students may also improve problem-solving and critical thinking skills as they play. And, of course, gamifying education makes learning feel like fun, and students are more inclined to spend time on the activities they enjoy.

Bringing online competition into virtual education is a great way to improve students’ attitudes towards and involvement in the classroom. For example, online competition could be combined with watch party functionality to create a virtual classroom platform with built-in trivia capabilities. These “gamified” virtual classroom platforms would allow distance-learning teachers to easily host games like jeopardy in a more immersive environment. Additionally, with Red5 Pro’s Mixer technology, developers can even create a live video platform that brings active team members to the forefront of the video as they make guesses and earn points.

There are endless exciting ways to bring online competition into live video experiences. Interactive live experiences are the future of video. If any of these ideas sound exciting to you, we’d love to help bring them to life. Feel free to reach out to us at info@red5pro.com or set up a call.

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