The Winds of Change

Sorry this is so late today. I've had a pretty crazy week. But I saw something today that made me think about how the world we interact with is constantly shifting in weird ways that we sometimes take for granted.

For the first time in history, there are more people who subscribe to Netflix than there are people who own a DVR. This is a big deal. As the infrastructure around the internet improves, people are using it for more and more things in their lives.

When I was a kid, it was a big deal to have Cable. As I grew up, you were kind of expected to have it. The people I knew, almost everyone had it in some capacity. But in college things started shifting. People started watching stuff online. Netflix, Hulu, YouTube; there are probably hundreds of streaming services these days.

But this isn't anything new. The internet has been incredibly disruptive to a number of major entertainment and media industries over the past 20 years. 

The first and probably the most famous was the music industry. Beginning with Napster and Limewire and other services of the sort, people started sharing music with each other digitally where they used to just trade mixed-tapes and CDs. Then stuff like MP3.com and iTunes came onto the scene and the sale of digital music took off. Recently, we've entered the age of streaming music. YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music; there are tons of options out there. Why buy music, when you can pay $10/month to listen to all the music you could ever want without a single commercial?

Then it was the publishing industry. When the Kindle came on the scene, it was seen as something of a joke from the major publishing houses... and then Amazon kicked them all in the nuts. Now ebooks consume more than 30% of sales from the 5 major publishers. (Note: The ebook sales from the major publishers have been hurting lately, and it mostly seems to be due to their high prices an inability to adapt to the culture of digital publishing.) And the major publishers are hurting for new talent as authors are getting smarter and realizing they can make more money doing it all themselves and selling through stores like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes than they ever would signing with a publisher.

The two big industries dealing with these pains right now are Hollywood and Television. People would rather stream a movie in the comfort of their own home than pay $15+ per person to see it in a theater (not counting snacks). And people are getting sick of paying $50 for 200 channels they don't watch for the 3 channels they do want to watch. 

So far every industry who has had to go through this process has failed to learn from any of the ones who have gone through it before them. In a perfect world, all of these changes would lead to a better world for consumers. In reality, the growing pains generally lead to the people in charge of these try to cling even tighter to the old ways.

So who is next? Streaming Games? Steam has a pretty huge strangle-hold on the Digital games world (which is crushing companies like Gamestop). But even they have begun to try and tackle streaming games. PlayStation is getting in on the action too. PlayStation Now lets you play PlayStation 4 games on your PC without owning a PS4. Which is kind of awesome. No downloading, just fully streamed games.

I can't wait to see what the future holds. How about you? What are your thoughts on the future of Streaming? What are your favorite streaming services?

** CHOP'S LCS GAMES OF THE WEEK **

I'm going to go with something a little different this week. With only 3 weeks left in the split, people are fighting for playoff spots, and struggling to avoid relegation. So we're going to avoid the top of the totem pole and start looking at the middle and bottom of the packs.

Saturday March 11 @ 6pm - Phoenix1 vs Echo Fox - Going into the weekend, Phoenix1 is sitting in 4th place, Echo Fox is in a tie for 6th. Meaning if the split ended right now, Echo Fox and Immortals would be playing to see who gets the last playoff spot. Phoenix1 needs the win to try and fight for one of the two top seeds (currently being held pretty strongly by Team SoloMid and Cloud9). Echo Fox need to win this one to try and claw their way into the last playoff spot and stay as far away from relegation as they can.

Sunday March 12 @ 6pm - Team Liquid vs Team Envy - This is a game of desperation. Going into this weekend, these two teams are tied for last place. No one wants to be relegated. Liquid has gone full-on panic mode over the last two weeks. Last weekend, World Champion AD Carry Piglet swapped roles and is now their Midlaner. Goldenglue has been benched. This week, they pay what is probably a ridiculous amount of money to Team SoloMid for their semi-retired AD Carry DoubleLift. Liquid's quest to avoid relegation is an insane one from here. Cloud9, Envy, Dignitas, Phoenix1, Team SoloMid, and FlyQuest. They have to go through the top 4 teams to try and catch up with the 7th place team. It's not a huge gap for either of these teams. They're sitting at 3-9. The tie up in 6th place for that last playoff spot is at 5-7. There are 6 matchups left for each team, so anything can happen.

You can tune in on Twitch (They have 2 channels: NALCS1 & NALCS2) or Riot's eSports YouTube Channel.