From humble beginnings: the webs biggest entertainment explosions

Posted on 16 April 2020
By Carlton Whitfield
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Despite our best efforts, there is no way to perfectly encapsulate how profound an effect the development of the internet has had on human society. From communication to education, technology, and more, everything we do is shaded by this world in some way.

What we can do is look at the most visible ways the internet has shaped entertainment, bringing it from possibility to worldwide avenue of preference. With that in mind, here are the biggest ways the internet has shaped the entertainment world.

The New Kings

In what is sure to date us to our younger readers, we need to first talk about the death of video rental stores. The likes of Ritz Video and Blockbuster were, in their prime, the backbone of at-home weekend entertainment. Numerous, convenient, and cheap (unless you racked up late-fees), these were the way many of us engaged with the world of film.

Now gone the way of the dinosaur, usurped by undeniably superior streaming systems like Hulu and Netflix, these former giants now only exist as fossils of a bygone age. At its peak, Blockbuster was worth upwards of US $3 billion. Today, their equity lies in a debt of $580 million. For context, the current equity of Netflix is around $7.58 billion. Even adjusted for inflation, this is considerably more than Blockbuster ever managed.

The obvious components of this takeover were found in both cost and convenience, and these same elements also track to other sections of the entertainment industry. Online gaming, like that in the online casino world, has seen similar growth, though their origins remain much more intact.

In the same way that people preferred getting their movies at home or on the go, it seems many of them prefer to play games like pokies in the same manner. Rather than being tied to a physical location, players can now get pokiewins anywhere. This includes an enormous variety of games, free spins, deposit matches, and the potential for massive jackpots.

Together, this makes it somewhat unsurprising that online casinos have become as dominant as they have. Growing from basically unknown in the new millennium to a worth of around $60 billion today, this arm of the industry is still very much on an upward trend. The primary difference in this regard is that, despite having come so far, online casinos are still acting as an alternative to the older physical systems, rather than a total replacement.

Somewhere between movies and online casinos is the industry of traditional video games. Here, online marketplaces such as Steam, GMG, and Origin have effectively become the default, but older physical stores still exist (albeit in a vastly diminished capacity). The fact is that downloads from online systems as the sole form of access is not currently a realistic goal meaning physical stores are still important: though they have had to diversify to stay alive.

Final Form

Unless we experience some sort of global internet catastrophe, it is safe to say that physical movie rentals are a thing of the past. Conversely, it seems physical game stores, while still on a downward trend, will always play a part in how console and PC gaming operates. Online and physical casinos, though related, are the obvious outlier here, having a much healthier relationship.

While there are questions as to what path these industries will play in the future, it’s important to note that none of these is what we could call settled. With internet technology still developing and speeds increasing with each passing year, who knows what the entertainment world will look like in another 20 years. Whatever the case, if you still have any overdue rentals, you probably don’t need to worry about it.