By now, our world is well into the digital age. The next generations will all be born with smartphones and tablets by their sides, and a large part of their growing up and coming-of-age years will be spent online.
For those of us from previous generations, things have changed a great deal. But we’ve adopted the conveniences of life online and how it can improve our lives and benefit us.
Entertainment, in particular, has come a very long way. In the era of digital conveniences, having fun with the internet is easier than ever.
Here are some ways online entertainment has changed and how people use it to unwind and have a bit of fun.
Online gaming is not just for young people
Whether on computers, tablets, or smartphones, online games have become a favorite pastime for people of all ages. You may have seen others playing games on the subway or out in public to pass the time.
Being able to play anywhere at any time is all part of the fun. It can turn ten minutes of downtime into an exciting and entertaining experience.
One of the latest trends is online casinos. With these, you can play slots, card games, or any casino games you might find at an in-person casino.
Many even have live dealers, meaning you can play online, but there is an actual dealer on the other end dealing hands or facilitating the games by hand.
Most notably, there are some excellent new Irish online casinos that have amazing signup bonuses and an enormous selection of games to choose from.
With these, you can have a bit more fun with your smartphone, whether you’re standing in line somewhere or even at home on the couch.
Streaming services and apps are the new standard
While some people still use satellite TV, it is quickly becoming obsolete. Since most modern televisions all come with smart TV functionality, there isn’t a need to have an unsightly satellite on your roof anymore.
Since many modern TVs can even install their own apps, the home entertainment system has changed a lot. The need for DVDs and Blu-ray discs is virtually gone as well. And the TV can even serve as your music player for get-togethers and parties.
Most of the items in the entertainment centers in people’s living rooms during the 2010s have been replaced by one piece of tech—a smart TV.
Netflix, Amazon Prime, and many other streaming services have become household names. There are even streaming services for live sports. In the future, there may not even be cable television as we know it—just a wide range of streaming services.
Online shopping has created a new pastime
Going to the store was once the only way to buy the things you need. People often used it as an excuse to get out of the house. But the pandemic changed all of that.
Today, people still go window shopping, and brick-and-mortar retail stores are alive and well, but many people are simply ordering the items they need from online marketplaces to save time.
Thus, we have a new pastime—couch shopping. Many people enjoy ordering things online and sometimes go through a list of needed items and order them when bored.
This habit can lead to over-shopping for some, so it is important to be careful. However, online shopping offers a lot of convenience and is even a form of entertainment in the digital age.
Social media has become the primary source of entertainment for many
In years past, when people were bored, they would turn on the television and skim through the channels until they found something they wanted to watch.
Nowadays, people do virtually the same thing but with “reels” in apps like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok through their smartphones.
This is preferable to watching TV for some people because it delivers compact, highly engaging content in mere seconds. A much wider variety of content can be consumed in a much shorter time.
The effect of scrolling through social media reels can be highly engaging and entertaining. Social media mogul Mark Zuckerberg, who owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, understands this well and has formed a strategy around it to maximize user activity.
Likewise, YouTube has incorporated Shorts that attempt to deliver more compact content that users find compelling. In many ways, YouTube replaces traditional television viewing with longer-form content on offer.
YouTube’s main advantage over television is that its content is curtailed to your preferences based on previous content you’ve searched or watched.
Other streaming services like Netflix and even social media apps also note what type of content you prefer and use that to provide a tailored experience. This makes them all more compelling and, ultimately, more successful.
The way we find and enjoy music has greatly evolved
Compact discs have been somewhat obsolete for several years now. The nature of how artists release music and the platforms people use has changed the entire industry.
Artists used to create a full-length album, promote it heavily before its release, and then distribute it worldwide through record labels and distribution partners.
Now, some artists exclusively release singles. And it’s common for artists to “surprise drop” entire albums with no prior promotion.
Platforms like Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube Music have redefined the experience of putting on a song or an album to listen to.
You no longer need to purchase anything else as long as you have a subscription, and the platform pays the artists based on the number of monthly listeners they’ve had.
It’s a much more convenient system for the users and requires much less of an individual investment than the ways of yesteryear.
What’s next for online entertainment?
We are entering an unprecedented era of online entertainment that will see virtual reality become prevalent. With the latest hardware, such as Apple’s Vision Pro, and software, like the Metaverse, nearing public release, things look poised to progress rapidly.
Combined with ever-evolving AI technology, these elements will provide a fascinating future into which newer generations will be born.
These advanced technologies will all be normal for them. From AI art to AI-generated content in the workplace, we’re witnessing a technological renaissance.
Interacting with friends in a virtual space will inevitably become the favorite pastime for people worldwide. As technology progresses and we inch closer to a virtual future, one can only imagine where things could go from there.
Once virtual reality has been around for dozens or even hundreds of years, the world will be a much different place.
It’s currently unfathomable to imagine what life will be like that far into the future and what entertainment options there will be. But it’s certainly fun to think about.
The digital age has drastically transformed entertainment, making it more accessible and varied than ever.
From online gaming and streaming services to the convenience of online shopping and the dynamic world of social media, the way we engage with entertainment has evolved significantly.
The rise of platforms like Spotify and YouTube Music has revolutionized music consumption, while the future promises even more changes with virtual reality and AI technologies.
As we move forward, these advancements suggest an exciting and uncharted future for online entertainment, where virtual experiences could become the norm, reshaping our leisure activities and interactions.