Twitch began testing sub-only streams this week

TL;DR - Twitch tested the new feature this week and it was discovered by some intrepid viewers with very good timing.  From what’s been revealed thus far, non-subs would have a short preview period after which they’d need to subscribe to continue viewing a broadcast.  Opinions thus far have been mixed, leaning more towards the negative, but it’s quite early to form an opinion one way or the other. Rod “Slasher” Breslau speculated on Twitter that this was Twitch testing the OWL All Access Pass and that sub-only viewing will not be a common feature on Twitch.  No word yet from Twitch on the direction this might take.

Full story -

Twitch suspends new accounts from streaming after Artifact incident

TL;DR - We shared a story last week about the very odd state of things in the Artifact directory on Twitch.  Twitch responded to the situation by temporarily suspending all new accounts on the platform from streaming.  Twitch cited safety concerns to justify its actions, and claimed most of the offending accounts were actually just bots.  No word from Twitch on how long the suspension will be in place, or if it plans on making it a permanent aspect of new account creation.

Full story -

Streamlabs rolling out a simple website builder for content creators

TL;DR - Streamlabs latest feature, Creator Sites, is a drag-and-drop website builder for content creators that can pull in their content and info from services like YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, Instagram, Twitter, and Mixer.  Each site will come with a custom URL and email address, will be free to use, and comes with two themes. With an annual $149 Streamlabs Prime subscription, creators can unlock 10 more themes, an additional page, and various other useful features.  Streamlabs reportedly has plans to expand the feature set further down the road.

Full story -

Dota 2’s The International prize pool clears $15M in under three weeks

TL;DR - It hasn’t even been three weeks and The International’s prize pool is up 839% over last year during the same time period.  This means Valve has sold over $13M in TI19 Battles Passes thus far, with more content still in the pipeline for release. Once a player has unlocked the Battle Pass, they can then vote on what items they’d like to see added in future additions to the pass.  Should the hot streak continue, this years prize pool is on track to land near $28M - the highest for any esports event in history.

Full story -

Caffeine becomes the official streaming platform for Team Dignitas

TL;DR - Along with the exclusive streaming arrangement, Dignitas will work with Caffeine to develop original series around the organization’s Rocket League team and its all-women CS:GO team.  Caffeine has also landed the naming rights for Dignitas’s soon-to-be christened gaming facility in New Jersey. Finally, Dignitas has plans to launch an influencer program whose content will live on Caffeine as part of this multi-year arrangement.

Full story -

Riot launches $14.99 premium League viewing subscription

TL;DR - League of Legends Pro View will set fans back $14.99, and will grant them access to synchronized streams, individual player following, and a timeline of the key moments in LCS and LEC matches.  The new service will kick off with the Summer Split in June, with NA / EU region bundling available for $19.99. Teams within the respective regions will enjoy a revenue split with Riot from Pro View subscription sales.

Full story -

In case you missed it…

It’s beginning to feel like a series at this point but ICYMI keeps coming back to how developers and publishers are using streaming platforms as marketing channels for their games.  Just last week we looked at how EA paid some of the largest streamers on Twitch to promote the launch of Apex Legends and how that strategy may have actually backfired for EA and Respawn.  This week we bring you a story from Kotaku covering another live-stream marketing attempt, this time for Sony’s upcoming title, Death Stranding.

For this effort, Sony streamed for almost a full day a black screen with occasional handprints appearing set to creepy music - a fitting arrangement for the type of game Death Stranding aims to be.  Later in the day the full, 9-minute trailer was released, much to the relief of those who’d been watching the hands on the screen effect for hours.

As absurd as this all may sound, it was arguably successful.  Consider for a minute how many streamers struggle to build an audience, pouring hours of effort and energy into creating entertaining content.  Meanwhile, this unveiling stream from Sony was keeping about 100k people viewing throughout the day on nothing more than hype.  Hype is strong, and this type of marketing is the perfect vehicle for it.

What could it have possibly cost Sony to put on this stream? It was pennies relative to the type of influencer marketing EA and Respawn did for Apex Legends.  We saw a similar approach from Bethesda for the Fallout ‘76 announcement. And, while the game ultimately underperformed, the hype leading up to the release was undoubtedly escalated by its Twitch stream.

While I’m not personally one to get caught up in these lengthy announcement streams, they work, and they’re cheap.  So we should expect to see more, and hopefully more creativity will follow in short order.