Geeks' favorite DeNA interactive streaming platform looks beyond Japan

18. September 2014
Mobile gaming giant DeNA is hoping a streaming platform that serves up plenty of female idol singers beloved by "otaku," or obsessive geeks, can be a hit with users outside Japan.

Showroom is a live-streaming service that allows artists to perform for and chat with fans, who are represented in the form of customizable, cartoon avatars in front of a virtual stage.

Unlike streaming sites like Ustream and Livestream, the emphasis on Showroom is on interaction. After a performance, fans can watch as artists respond to on-screen messages and receive paid virtual gifts from their virtual audience. There are even VIP seats by the virtual stage.

Until recently, the service has only been available in Japanese. It now has English support for performers on computers, and the option to live-stream from smartphones will be added, according to DeNA.

"We see significant global potential for real-time, interactive live streaming for both artists and consumers," a DeNA spokesman wrote in an email. "Since users can watch their performance for free, Showroom can be a good marketing channel for performing artists."

While audience members can watch for free, the site generates revenue from the paid virtual gifts. The earnings are shared with performers based on the number of points they accumulate for audience size, the number of comments and other factors.