Entertainment of various kinds has existed for millennia. From the earliest known games played using parchment or sticks and stones, right up to cutting-edge developments like virtual reality, nothing stays the same in this sector – and the pace of change is certainly fast.
There have been losses right here in Warrington, for example: the Kinema House cinema on Church Street has gone, and it’s unlikely that the town’s current entertainment options will look the same in fifty, twenty or even ten years from now. Here’s how entertainment is going to continue to evolve.
Entertainment in years gone by
The last few centuries created all kinds of entertainment opportunities. In the 19th and 20th century, for example, board games became popular: Scrabble was invented in 1933, while Monopoly came out around the same time. The arrival of the radio, or the wireless as it was then known, brought entertaining music and speech from external sources into the home in a way that had never been possible before.
The modern age
But while these entertainment formats had their benefits, choice was not one of them. One of the major advantages of living in the modern age is of course the vast range of entertainment options which can be enjoyed. Often, these modern forms of entertainment are on-demand in nature: television programmes can now be watched via streaming services, for example, and it’s believed that Netflix alone has almost 150 million subscribers. Films, meanwhile, are now starting to become available in virtual reality – so the cinema or even the home movie system is facing a challenge.
And even leisure activities which previously could only have taken place in person are now able to be played either online or from home. While you could head down to Buzz Bingo in the Cockhedge Centre if you wanted to play bingo, say, it’s now possible to play bingo games online in the comfort of your own home. And the same goes for cinema: as outlined above, Netflix’s dominance means that heading out to a multiplex is much less attractive now than it was even ten years ago.
What’s to come?
For entertainment fans, the future looks exciting. Virtual reality is likely to grow in popularity: one study suggests that the global virtual and augmented reality market may be worth in excess of $200 billion US dollars by 2020, and this could have significant or even threatening effects on the profit margins of cinemas, TV companies and many more institutions which currently dominate the entertainment scene. So, it’s likely that there’ll be plenty of change on the horizon in the future entertainment world!
Entertainment, then, is a changing beast. Some entertainment formats, like the novel, have stood the test of time for the last few centuries. Others, such as virtual reality, are very new – and nobody has a true idea of what they might offer in the future. But one thing’s for certain: entertainment is ever-changing, and that’s an inevitable outcome.