I was reminded of Twitch drops once again because Blizzard had an event that would reward you with something if you spent four hours on Twitch watching designated streamers playing the Dragonflight expansion. You can read about it here. It runs through Monday, so there is still time.
I am always in favor of free things, so I went to Twitch, found a streamer with the drops enabled, got them on screen, muted them, put them in the background, then went back to my work computer and completely ignored the whole thing for a couple of hours.
That streamer eventually logged off, so when I checked I as on some other stream that didn’t count, so I found another stream with drops enabled and did the same thing.
Eventually I hit the magic time mark and earned my drop.
I went to the inventory page and was looking at some of the other drops I had claimed and started wondering what was really gained by anybody by this.
It is hard to read, but there is an Albion Online loot drop in that mix, and I don’t even play Albion Online. I think I made an account at one point, but never got beyond that. But I got a Twitch drop!
The others are from Lost Ark, which we were playing last year at this time. I did the same thing for those, found a Twitch channel that had drops enabled and left it on in the background muted and stayed there until the timer was done.
I got some things, some streamers got some more viewers briefly, and some video games go a little more attention… but did anything really change?
The Twitch streamers with drops enabled got a boost to their viewership numbers, and probably got a some more people following their channel, but I suspect that there wasn’t much of a change to subscribers. My relationship with them was strictly transactional; I will have your stream on my screen for a set amount of time for in exchange for whatever the company was offering. I wasn’t going to follow or subscribe or mash any other further buttons.
The game company itself got a bit of attention for their product. But the target audience was really people who already owned the game and were playing it. I did the Lost Ark drops because we were active in the game at the time, but haven’t done any since.
And I only did the WoW drop because I was already subscribed and playing WoW Classic. Blizzard didn’t get anything further from me save a login to retail WoW. I guess that will help them with their MAU metric, but that is such a bullshit measurement the way they use it across all their titles that it would be strictly masturbatory if that was what they were after.
In the end this feels like it barely adds up to a “tear drops in the rain” level of effect.
I guess it could be a bid by Blizzard to keep their streamers engaged with the Dragonflight expansion. There is some level of correlation between having the focus of some major streamers and the level of attention a game can hold onto. But I suspect that that influence is grossly over estimated as often as it is completely dismissed. It is a thing, but nobody can quantify how much impact it really has on an already popular title. WoW isn’t Among Us, a hidden gem to be discovered. We’ve all heard about WoW at this point.
Or I supposed it could be just good will, but that is a tough call to make given what we have heard about Blizzard over the last couple of years. I would be more readily convinced that some marketing VP is desperate to keep engagement with Dragonflight up lest it become another Shadowlands, so is willing to throw resources into anything with a chance to help.
Anyway, Twitch drop events are a thing, I am just not sure what level of impact they have on the streamers or the games that promote them.
I have done the exact same thing you described, also for Lost Ark, as well as Warframe and more recently for Hunt: Showdown.
I could very well do without that stuff, it’s just one more thing they want us to feel FOMO for imho.
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I can’t be bothered to make even the minimal effort you describe for Twitch drops but I do claim my Amazon Prime freebies every month for any game I have installed and might conceivably play again some day. Hardly any of those ever get used in game so I do find myself wondering why I do it sometimes. Because it’s there and it’s easy, I guess.
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My hunch is that it is just an engagement/marketing push in every way. Streamers who want to stream the game have an incentive to do so, it drives up the popularity of the game on Twitch (which is sometimes referenced as a bastardized measure of success for the game itself), and there’s an off chance that a lapsed player or newbie might see a stream and decide it looks fun enough to get into the game. I think for Blizzard specifically, they’re trying to grease the wheels any chance they get, and putting old/hard-to-get/expensive WoW TCG items and stuff that feels cash-shoppy in nature as freebies for watching someone play also buys goodwill from a playerbase that lacks it to varying degrees for Blizzard because of the, well, everything the last few years.
(As a funny side note, you can stream it yourself and monitor your own stream to get the freebie – that’s how I got the last 3 drops. Not sure if it’s intentional, but hey!)
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I’m with Kaylriene on this one – I’m sure it’s a numbers game to get people to pay attention and maybe get attracted by something. The only cost is what it took to implement the item, and bonus if it already exists. Then it’s just adding value to the sunk cost.
I’ll do the Twitch viewing — browser with a separate window minimized and muted, overnight if need be — for games I have actively played. Now, I’ll do this for the freebies, but I won’t buy Twitch subs for others as Blizzard set up with the Dragonflight launch. I’ll jump through the hoops for the freebies, but I’ll be damned if I’ll pay a sub to a streamer I don’t care about. But then, I very rarely watch a streamer. I want to play the game, not watch someone else play the game. But that’s me and obviously not the Twitch crowd.
Now one difference from Twitch is the Amazon Prime rewards. Those I’ll claim for games I might have tried for five minutes and likely will never return to. There I can let my collector’s bug run rampant as the effort to reward ratio is minimal. ^_^
One side note, I’ll know Blizzard is desperate for Twitch views if they ever put up the Spectral Tiger as a drop. The howls of them doing that would be a major popcorn event…
Seems I missed this, damn.
But yeah, kinda horrible and everyone just does the thing except it’s from a streamer you’re actually watching at least sometimes… I dunno, kids these days…