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360-degree views coming to video game live streaming

A South Korean company will be debuting the new technology at the Game Developers Conference later this month.


With devices such as Samsung's new Gear 360 camera promising to bring 360-degree photos and videos into the mainstream, another South Korean company hopes to do the same to video game streaming.

Minkonet will debut its new technology at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco later in March. Its software, called Swing360, allows you to control the point of view of a video game live stream or replay you're watching, letting you choose which part of the game you're looking at, regardless of what the player is doing. This promises a more interactive experience than simply watching from the player's point of view. You can see the software in action in this demo.

Two new technologies make this possible. Firstly, Swing360 incorporates video capture tech that allows gamers to upload content in ultra-small data packets, shrinking data consumption by as much as 95 percent. It then broadcasts the stream and allows viewers to chose their point of view. Gamers can live stream their mobile and PC gameplay on YouTube and Facebook in 360 degrees, in up to 4K (3,840x2,160-pixel) resolution. Viewers can watch these streams using any existing virtual reality device on market.

Video game streaming is big business, thanks partly to the explosion in popularity of e-sports, which analyst Superdata estimates now has a viewer base of over 130 million. This has led to the creation of numerous widely used services dedicated to video-game live-streaming, such as Twitch -- which was bought by Amazon for $970 million in 2014.

Minkonet says it will partner with game developers to bring the 360-degree viewer experience to platforms such as YouTube Gaming and Twitch.

"If you are recording the gameplay, it is like video recording. It is dumb recording. It simply records what the gamer is doing," Minkonet CEO and co-founder Kim Tae-woo said.

"Our technology controls the 3D game's objects. We're inside the game and know all the data being produced in the game. In first-person shooter and real-time strategy games, there is the data available that the gamer is not aware of in the game, " Kim said. Swing360 "makes gameplay a cyber-360 video."

Minkonet will launch a beta version of Swing360 for gamers at GDC, Kim said. In April, the company plans to team up with global gaming channel OGN to broadcast mobile first-person shooter e-sports competitions using its 360 live-streaming technologies.