May 7, 2019 - By Ryan Lee

New Era: How to launch a game with a Twitch Extension

The Borderlands 3 ECHOcast Extension is driving viewer engagement & building pre-sale buzz months before launch

It’s getting harder and harder to break through the noise and build quality buzz in the months leading up to a games’ launch. Gone are the days when a trailer, high-res screenshot, or a basic gameplay reveal event could drive the type of organic sharing, conversation, or engagement that it might have in years past.

These days, new and highly innovative pre-launch awareness tactics are not merely welcomed but required — and that’s where Twitch and Extensions come in.

Last week, a select group of Twitch streamers had the opportunity to participate in a Borderlands 3 Gameplay Reveal Event, but what made this reveal more buzzworthy and interactive than your typical gameplay reveal event was the accompanying Twitch Extension.

The Borderlands 3 ECHOcast Twitch Extension allows viewers to be an active part of the event where historically they could only sit back and watch. The feature-heavy Extension gives viewers the ability to learn key game skills and techniques by inspecting the contents of the streamers’ backpack, explore their loadout, and study their skill tree.

Taking it a step further, if viewers connect their Twitch and Gearbox SHiFT accounts — they are able to gain in-game loot and grab rare items, giving them a head start on assembling their own arsenal, while also building personal investment and motivation to purchase the game come its September release.

Not all who view the rare chest discovery on stream are winners of the rare items, the Extension coordinates a randomized drawing giving only a portion of the viewers the take-home, which undoubtedly keeps viewers watching and engaging longer.

“Streaming has become an important part of the game industry and as game developers, we should consider how our game designs leverage streaming both before and after launch. Twitch provides an endless amount of opportunities for us to build streamer and viewer features, some of which they might not have even realize they want until they use them!”

-Scott Velasquez, Lead Online & Social Developer at Gearbox

Based on the wildly active Twitch Chat, it was clear the viewers enjoyed the Extension — but what do streamers think of the interactive experience? Here’s a clip of King Gothalion giving his own unfiltered feedback (spoiler alert; he’s a fan.)

More and more game publishers are putting additional time, effort, and creativity into their pre-launch building buzz phase to capture that much-needed element of viewer engagement and participation — and that’s where Twitch is very comfortably positioned to be utilized.

Looking for other tips or ideas for launching your game on Twitch? Check out our Game Developer Playbook for all that and much more.

Follow us @TwitchDev on Twitter and /TwitchDev on Twitch.

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