How to Promote Games on Twitch?

Thanks to Twitch tinyBuild’s and Lazy Bear Games’ fighting sim “Punch Club” has made $2 million in 2 months. Alex Nichiporchik, tinyBuild CEO, has shared with us some thoughts about how to promote games on the streaming service.

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Image Credit: Lazy Bear Games

Lazy Bear Games team told us that Twitch has become one of the best promotion tools for their Punch Club. Can you share any statistics on the number of views or estimates on the number of users this channel has brought to you?

Here we don’t talk about such a concept as a direct marketing channel. We have a snowball effect, accumulation of factors that starts with a shocking story (no release until Twitch tries the game), and the rest comes from it. People from the industry learn about it and share the news. That’s the most powerful marketing tool ever. However, without Twitch as an originally marketing idea the game would unlikely be such a success.

Question from Captain Obvious’ favorites: what types of games can easily be promoted in Twitch/can not be promoted there at all?

Live audience really wants to have a game that can be tested with the audience. The games with personal narrative – like the very multiplayer sandboxes – are very suitable, whereas old-school platformers are less so.

The games that are interesting to watch as a kind of sports will always be exciting and if there is a skill-based game, people would always watch the good players.

Are Candy Crush-type mobile free-to-play and Twitch really compatible?

If Candy Crush had a PVP multiplayer, millions of people would watch it. We still lack the understanding of how mobile livestreaming would work. 20 years ago everybody thought that as soon as we had mobile TV we would be using phones to watch it! But we watch cat gifs instead.

What are the pitfalls of Twitch as a promotion tool?

Interface. In YouTube video, one can cut out awkward set-up moments or obscure elements of interface. You can’t do that in livestream! Make the life of a streamer easier, try to stream you game and communicate with the audience at the same time. It’s a challenge.

“Who would win – Superman or Batman”-type of question. What is better for promotion of a contest game, YouTube or Twitch? What features does each of the channels have?

The winner was Marta:) YouTube is now oversaturated. There are networks and organisations that deal with talent management. They are enjoying big marketing budgets for AAA-titles. Meanwhile, Twitch streamers are easy to communicate with and everybody has been disregarding them so far. Start-up teams should rather focus on streamers. Bigger companies with marketing budgets should start with YouTubers and their networks.

The last question: how suitable is Twitch as a tool for indie-game promotion?

There are tons of indie-games that soared due to Twitch. It should not be perceived as a tool, it’s rather a part of their eco-system. If we follow marketing-centered thinking with ROI and statistics, we step back to the area of free-to-play trash. Dozens of idiot companies are trying to sell traffic to us and are surprised to learn that we make no free-to-plays. And buy no ads. People who think so are completely out of the picture.

It’s better to spend money from ‘marketing budget’ on networking or DevGAMM or any other event for developers. Imagine you approach a Rami Ismail and show him a game. He likes it and introduces you to some Sony guys and you have Firewatch released in a year. That’s how it works – through a network of trusted contacts, who are in the field and filter out any trash.

Thanks for the interview!

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