As a technology built on variety, the internet is home to a great many systems. Sometimes these exist in self-contained bubbles, set in corners of the online world, never entering mainstream consciousness. Other times, systems find their base is widespread and shared experiences, drawing from as many sources and inspirations as possible. This is the case for three platforms we wish to investigate today: social media platforms, media sharing platforms, and gaming platforms. Originally built with focussed purposes, the modern state of these platforms exists in a constant state of evolution, blurring boundaries along their never-ending journey of development.
The Big Three
Before looking at the connections between them, it’s first necessary to quantify each platform type. Social media platforms likely require the least introduction, having become a ubiquitous element in our daily lives. As systems of sharing and communication, these essentially act as online meeting places, where we can converse and connect to people easy to people even a world away. Illustrated best by Facebook and the former competitors of Myspace and Bebo, the modern social media landscape has only one modern king.
Media sharing platforms are some of the most popular regular websites we use, though we often don’t classify them by this name. Services like YouTube and Instagram are the most popular here, where users can share audio/visual examples of their experiences and hard work simply and to a broad audience.
Gaming platforms are similarly diverse, finding a home on PC as Steam, at least in straight video games. Outside of video games, we can look towards online casinos and sportsbooks. With iGaming, it offers a more diverse look at what different platforms in this arena can offer. This form of online gaming platform involves a network of different components, customisable depending on the needs of the service and users. Including bonus engines, modularity, and automated market features, this arm of the competitive market continually strives to do something new. These platforms offer customisable modules to allow the service to be tailored for their customers, allowing specialisation.
For years, the above three types of platforms existed in discrete operation. This was more of a reflection of limited tech and different parent companies than it was of intent, as expanding out to connect these systems was just a matter of time. Eventually, with better tech and buy ups from practical monopolies like Facebook and Google, better communication became key.
Google linked their systems to YouTube, for example, making it much easier to share media back on social media accounts. This was the same for Instagram and Facebook, who again saw success through combining social media and media sharing into an interconnected whole. Extending further, integrating gaming platforms with social and media sharing again brought these worlds closer together.
It’s not just the connections between these systems that have become standard, however, with many systems expanding beyond their early states to adopt features of other platforms. Gaming platforms like Steam now include heavy social media and media sharing systems, and this is a development increasing matched by the other media branches.
As for the future of media and gaming platforms, current trajectories paint an ever-growing reliance on compatibility and reach. This is a move taken to increase user involvement, but it could have potential implications for which platform users call home.
With the homogenization of each branch, it continuously becomes less necessary to juggle different accounts, with users able to call one or another home. This raises some interesting questions about how we’ll treat platforms in the future and whether the current stalwarts will be able to stand the test of time. If it helps escape the dangers of monopolies, you can bet these developments will make many socially conscious users happy, and even if just for the sake of simplicity, we hope a more open future of this tech becomes a broad reality.