Mid-tier broadcasters with between 33 and 3,333 simultaneous viewers most valuable to devs

Twitch streams responsible for 25% of Punch Club and The Culling sales, report estimates

Encouraging players to livestream your game could have a seriously big effect on sales, if a new report from streaming platform Twitch is anything to go by.

Writing on the Twitch blog, data scientist Danny Hernandez examined a number of indie and triple-A games that had seen their sales rise as a result of gameplay being broadcast on the website.

At the upper end of the spectrum were indie efforts Punch Club and The Culling, which saw approximately a quarter of their sales directly associated with viewers purchasing the titles after seeing Twitch streams.

Punch Club developer TinyBuild used the platform to generate pre-release interest in the game, by announcing that it wouldn’t release the title for sale until it was completed on the ‘Twitch Plays Punch Club’ channel – with viewers submitting in-game inputs via the chat.

“Within six weeks, 1.2 million viewers watched Punch Club on Twitch,” Hernandez recalled. “The viewing experience was so compelling that 2.8 per cent of Steam-connected viewers went on to buy the game.

“Given the assumption that Steam-connected viewers (0.53 per cent of views) behave similarly to Twitch’s global viewership, I estimate 25 per cent of Punch Club sales are directly attributable to Twitch.”

Another title to benefit from livestreaming interest was Ubisoft’s open-world shooter The Division, with Hernandez predicting that almost a fifth of sales were related to Twitch broadcasts.

Hernandez also examined the types of channels streaming, finding that small- to mid-sized audiences are more likely to go and buy a game after seeing live gameplay online.

46 per cent of game sale referrals were found to be from channels with simultaneous viewers of between 33 and 3,333.

“Mid-tier broadcasters convert views into purchases 13 times more effectively than top-tier broadcasters, and small broadcasters convert views into purchases 1,000 times more effectively than top tier broadcasters,” Hernandez observed.

Looking specifically at the experience of multiplayer survival shooter Hurtworld, Hernandez said that more than four fifths of sales came from streamers that played the game on at least three different days, with a similar number coming from those who broadcast at least 10 hours.

He also suggested that streams help retain users, giving the example of Dota 2 as a game where players who watched Twitch were more likely to return to the game the following week, with 82 per cent of those who tuned in returning compared with 77 per cent of non-viewers.

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