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Penny Arcade - Comic - Who Watches The Overwatchers

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Who Watches The Overwatchers!

Penny Arcade - Comic - Who Watches The Overwatchers

Videogaming-related online strip by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins. Includes news and commentary.

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    OverkillengineOverkillengine Registered User regular
    I remember gaming before voyeur culture seized hold of it like a train molester.

    Now excuse me, there are some clouds that need yelled at.

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    DjiemDjiem Registered User regular
    I would leave Twitch running in the background for a skin, if Overwatch 2 wasn't trash, and give me back Good Overwatch damnit!

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    GrendusGrendus Registered User regular
    Maybe I'm just a stubborn old man, but if I don't want to watch something, no amount of non-monetary reward is going to entice me. Cool skin bruh, but literally everyone in the game is going to be rocking it making it completely pointless in terms of character fashion, so the only reason I would care is if I get it as a reward for doing something I was already going to do.

    But then, I'm also weirdly immune to lootboxes and outright repulsed by season passes (it's what ultimately drove me away from Warframe and Destiny 2, the season passes made the game feel like a chore). Which really just makes me feel more like an old man, a lot of mainstream gaming just isn't made for me anymore. At least I have all the remakes these days busily mining my nostalgia and digging into my wallet. That's... not a good thing, is it?

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    KeegantirKeegantir Registered User new member
    Very few people are actually watching those streams. Most people have the stream in another monitor, muted, and/or hidden behind something else for the 4 hours required to get the drop.

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    ShowsniShowsni Registered User regular
    I popped into Blizzard's youtube stream of some Hearthstone tournament the other day. The entire chat was a flood of people typing "!drops" interspersed by the occasional bot message stating "Typing !drops does nothing!"

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    PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    I mean the drops are a way to try and entice people who don't play overwatch to watch and see if they'd like it. Plus if I'm at work and can't play games doesn't kill me to watch someone for drops or skins or whatever. But there are people who just hate twitch and streaming in general irrationally and I don't understand that either.

    I would like some money because these are artisanal nuggets of wisdom philistine.

    pleasepaypreacher.net
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    dennisdennis aka bingley Registered User regular
    Preacher wrote: »
    I mean the drops are a way to try and entice people who don't play overwatch to watch and see if they'd like it.

    Not sure if I get that logic. Why would getting a skin for a game that you don't know if you like entice you? You don't even know if you like playing it.

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    DjiemDjiem Registered User regular
    edited October 2022
    dennis wrote: »
    Preacher wrote: »
    I mean the drops are a way to try and entice people who don't play overwatch to watch and see if they'd like it.

    Not sure if I get that logic. Why would getting a skin for a game that you don't know if you like entice you? You don't even know if you like playing it.

    But if you did you'd have a cool skin and it costs nothing. It's just another form of hoarding and FOMO.

    Djiem on
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    twmjrtwmjr Registered User regular
    edited October 2022
    Preacher wrote: »
    I mean the drops are a way to try and entice people who don't play overwatch to watch and see if they'd like it. Plus if I'm at work and can't play games doesn't kill me to watch someone for drops or skins or whatever. But there are people who just hate twitch and streaming in general irrationally and I don't understand that either.

    I think this is close but not quite right. The drops are to entice streamers who wouldn't normally stream the game to stream it. Drops drive viewership numbers (benefit for the streamer), and people who don't normally stream OW streaming it expose it to their communities who might not normally play/watch OW (benefit for Blizzy).

    twmjr on
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    PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    dennis wrote: »
    Preacher wrote: »
    I mean the drops are a way to try and entice people who don't play overwatch to watch and see if they'd like it.

    Not sure if I get that logic. Why would getting a skin for a game that you don't know if you like entice you? You don't even know if you like playing it.

    You see the skin is a reward for watching the stream, you watch the stream and go "oh hey this looks cool" and then you play the game with your new skin/

    I would like some money because these are artisanal nuggets of wisdom philistine.

    pleasepaypreacher.net
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    LttlefootLttlefoot Registered User regular
    Reminds me of the mobile game ads that say “new players get a million coins”

    I don’t play your game, so I don’t know if a million coins is good

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    LucascraftLucascraft Registered User regular
    Preacher wrote: »
    I mean the drops are a way to try and entice people who don't play overwatch to watch and see if they'd like it. Plus if I'm at work and can't play games doesn't kill me to watch someone for drops or skins or whatever. But there are people who just hate twitch and streaming in general irrationally and I don't understand that either.

    My anti-Twitchness is multilayered.

    1) Twitch is blocked at work, which means the only time I can consume Twitch content is at home in the evenings or on the weekend.
    2) If I'm at home playing video games, I don't care what other people on the internet are doing. If I can spend my free time playing a video game, why would I want to watch someone else play it instead?
    3) Games (in general) require concentration. I fully 100% get running a Youtube video, or a podcast, or something on the other monitor that allows passive listening. But streaming a game means you want to watch another person play a game, which requires active watching, which makes actually playing a game on the other monitor difficult.
    4) My PS5 is my primary gaming device, which is in the living room attached to my bigass TV, with nary a computer around for streaming. So if I'm laying down on my couch playing PS5, I am definitely not going to be watching a Twitch stream.


    So that leaves turning a Twitch stream on and then muting it and ignoring it as the only option, which...maybe I get free stuff but that's definitely not the intended use case. I realize that this option is what most people do. But this option also has 0 benefit to the streamer other than giving them a viewer count number for a little while. But as soon as I qualify for the drop I'm gonna peace out, and I'm definitely not going to like or subscribe or ring the bell or gift them subs or anything else.

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    PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    Lucascraft wrote: »
    Preacher wrote: »
    I mean the drops are a way to try and entice people who don't play overwatch to watch and see if they'd like it. Plus if I'm at work and can't play games doesn't kill me to watch someone for drops or skins or whatever. But there are people who just hate twitch and streaming in general irrationally and I don't understand that either.

    My anti-Twitchness is multilayered.

    1) Twitch is blocked at work, which means the only time I can consume Twitch content is at home in the evenings or on the weekend.
    2) If I'm at home playing video games, I don't care what other people on the internet are doing. If I can spend my free time playing a video game, why would I want to watch someone else play it instead?
    3) Games (in general) require concentration. I fully 100% get running a Youtube video, or a podcast, or something on the other monitor that allows passive listening. But streaming a game means you want to watch another person play a game, which requires active watching, which makes actually playing a game on the other monitor difficult.
    4) My PS5 is my primary gaming device, which is in the living room attached to my bigass TV, with nary a computer around for streaming. So if I'm laying down on my couch playing PS5, I am definitely not going to be watching a Twitch stream.


    So that leaves turning a Twitch stream on and then muting it and ignoring it as the only option, which...maybe I get free stuff but that's definitely not the intended use case. I realize that this option is what most people do. But this option also has 0 benefit to the streamer other than giving them a viewer count number for a little while. But as soon as I qualify for the drop I'm gonna peace out, and I'm definitely not going to like or subscribe or ring the bell or gift them subs or anything else.

    I will say as someone trying to do twitch streams, having a viewer even a silent one is always a bonus. Makes you feel less like a dust spec for a second.

    I would like some money because these are artisanal nuggets of wisdom philistine.

    pleasepaypreacher.net
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    ATF_GriffATF_Griff Registered User regular
    Blizzard is dead

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    VontreVontre Registered User regular
    So there's this thing called marketing and PR.

    I jest and I'm really on the periphery of Twitch culture but this seems pretty standard. He said in the post that they want to make the Twitch number go up and... seems like it's doing ok? Having a game high on the Twitch most-watched games list is not just free eyeballs, it also makes your game look popular. There's a lot of benefits to that, from inducing FOMO and bandwagoning to reassuring players that your game is far from death and will have a healthy playerbase with full queues. Players invest in games over a long time compared to the olden days and they want to know that their skins/exp/battle pass whatever is part of a live, active game. If you grind in a game and the community dies out the stuff you got is now useless.

    .... also I may have literally gave OW2 a shot because I saw a small-time Smash Bros streamer playing it. I don't personally care about drops (I don't really like skins all that much) but there are definitely people who do. I also don't really *watch* streams I have them on my second monitor for background entertainment.

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    DratatooDratatoo Registered User regular
    I hate switching to another mediums for ingame stuff. In most cases if it involves a form of social media it is simply dishonest - you are turned into the megaphone or the marketing tool of whatever brand involved, generating seemingly activity for the platform and advertising a brand. It’s like a form of Tupperware party, but none of the involved people wants to be there.

    The two latest events from my recent history. When I was way into Hero of the storm they had a promotion if you recommended HotS 9 times on Facebook and got a response back via their Facebook plugin thingie you get a mount. I simply created 9 fake Facebook accounts which congratulated each other… Yay? If I did it the “correct” way, and if I were on the platform I would have bothered 9 different people, and that’s not exactly the purpose of this medium (aside from stealing your data und eroding privacy, but that’s another matter)

    Final Fantasy 14 had a mount promotion if you dropped 20 Euros on certain twitch streams. Why not sell the thing on the own store, I don’t get it - the game is not struggling. If you need to go to such length, maybe the thing you are selling isn’t actually worth it.

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    PALaxxPALaxx Registered User regular
    I understand the argument that amounts to "just put it on another tab, mute it, and collect your free stuff" but having to go to a stream, rather than play the game yourself, for a reward is only part of the problem. The main issue that seems to be glossed over is that so many people seem not only willing, but happy, to let themselves be manipulated for investor/shareholder metrics if it means they get something of dubious value out of it. Game Devs, and Twitch by extension, aren't doing this to entice new players or reach a previously-untapped viewer base. That's just the label they put on the tin. The real reason they're doing it is so they can make their engagement numbers go up, which means shareholders get to see numbers rise. Free advertising is just the happy side-effect.

    That's all it's for, and I wish modern gamers weren't so willing to be manipulated like this.

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    LttlefootLttlefoot Registered User regular
    Are you worried that shareholders aren’t getting accurate data? I think they’d be aware that the company is doing twitch drops and therefore the numbers aren’t as good as they look

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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    like someone said upthread, the drops really don't have anything to do with the players already playing the game. If they want to afk-watch and get the drop nobody cares. Devs do it because it gets streamers to stream the game, which exposes it to people who don't already play.

    it's a really effective form of marketing; it puts the product in front of people who are likely to be interested, and the cost of creating the 'drop' item is pretty minimal.

    hold your head high soldier, it ain't over yet
    that's why we call it the struggle, you're supposed to sweat
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    ironzergironzerg Registered User regular
    PALaxx wrote: »
    The real reason they're doing it is so they can make their engagement numbers go up, which means shareholders get to see numbers rise. Free advertising is just the happy side-effect.

    That's all it's for, and I wish modern gamers weren't so willing to be manipulated like this.

    That's not how stock prices work. That's not how any of that works.

    It's the actual financial impacts of said decisions that are going to change shareholder behavior. And even then, I would bet a vast majority of the stock is owed via through mutual funds, where your average investors doesn't actually pay any attention to it. A quick search found that Warren Buffet is actually the biggest single share holder (Through Berkshire), but that 65% of investors are institutions.

    The ultimate goal of this is to get more eyeballs on Overwatch 2, get more people playing, and to monetize the living shit of it. Thus, making money, and thus driving stock prices higher.

    If revenue doesn't actually follow, how many people are "watching" Overwatch 2 on Twitch means jack shit to shareholders.

    I also guarantee you this is not "free advertising". I have to assume they're also paying Twitch a shitload of money to run this program.

    Unless your CEO gets caught naked snorting cocaine off the back of an intern after a shareholder meeting, this is no such thing as "free" advertising anymore.

    Well, actually, Penny Arcade making fun of it is actually free. And now we're all talking about Overwatch 2, and that's probably leading more people to checking it out on Twitch, which is actually fueling the promotion. So even when people are bitching about how dumb it is, they still win.



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    dennisdennis aka bingley Registered User regular
    edited October 2022
    like someone said upthread, the drops really don't have anything to do with the players already playing the game. If they want to afk-watch and get the drop nobody cares. Devs do it because it gets streamers to stream the game, which exposes it to people who don't already play.

    it's a really effective form of marketing; it puts the product in front of people who are likely to be interested, and the cost of creating the 'drop' item is pretty minimal.

    I think most people get that. But you have to acknowledge there is such a thing as anti-marketing. It's actively giving people a reason to not play your game. It doesn't even have to be the sole reason. It might just tip the balance (and there are plenty of other reasons to think of passing on this game.) This is especially true when there's a lot of choices for games out there. They have to be hoping they're going to attract more players than they're going to turn off, but that seems more like a gamble than a predictable outcome.

    dennis on
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    RatherDashing89RatherDashing89 Registered User regular
    At some point there's enough degrees of separation that no one in the chain has to prove a causal link all the way down it. Which is why I don't necessarily agree with the notion of "a company spent money on this advertising, they wouldn't do it if it didn't work". No one person has to demonstrate that it works.

    It's one person's job to increase engagement (entergagement even). He just has to demonstrate that this promotion will cause metrics of engagement to go up.

    It was someone else's job (probably someone who worked for Twitch) to demonstrate that increasing those metrics of engagement will actually increase sales.

    Add about five more middle men and you get the idea. Every link in the chain has a burden to prove that their own link serves a purpose in the chain. But no person has any vested interest in whether or not the chain itself serves any purpose, so that never gets tested (even if you reasonably could test such a thing). Which is why I think advertising of all sorts is not necessarily as directly effective as we assume it is.

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    OverkillengineOverkillengine Registered User regular
    edited October 2022
    dennis wrote: »
    But you have to acknowledge there is such a thing as anti-marketing. It's actively giving people a reason to not play your game. It doesn't even have to be the sole reason. It might just tip the balance (and there are plenty of other reasons to think of passing on this game.) This is especially true when there's a lot of choices for games out there. They have to be hoping they're going to attract more players than they're going to turn off, but that seems more like a gamble than a predictable outcome.

    I know it turns me off; it's a huge indicator that the dev team is going to be focused on things that I don't care for. It's not quite as glaring as moving an IP to say, mobile phone gaming, but it's getting up there with being conflated with obnoxious design.

    Overkillengine on
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    dennisdennis aka bingley Registered User regular
    dennis wrote: »
    But you have to acknowledge there is such a thing as anti-marketing. It's actively giving people a reason to not play your game. It doesn't even have to be the sole reason. It might just tip the balance (and there are plenty of other reasons to think of passing on this game.) This is especially true when there's a lot of choices for games out there. They have to be hoping they're going to attract more players than they're going to turn off, but that seems more like a gamble than a predictable outcome.

    I know it turns me off; it's a huge indicator that the dev team is going to be focused on things that I don't care for. It's not quite as glaring as moving an IP to say, mobile phone gaming, but it's getting up there with being conflated with obnoxious design.

    I can't help but think back to the mindset that led the Unity CEO to call developers who don't bake in monetization "fucking idiots." These companies think that art was invented to make money. They get it the wrong way around. Art is created because that's what artists (and I'm including programmers) do. Then they have to figure out how to eat. To the uncreative lampreys, the idea of actually creating something good over something profitable is anathema.

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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    dennis wrote: »
    like someone said upthread, the drops really don't have anything to do with the players already playing the game. If they want to afk-watch and get the drop nobody cares. Devs do it because it gets streamers to stream the game, which exposes it to people who don't already play.

    it's a really effective form of marketing; it puts the product in front of people who are likely to be interested, and the cost of creating the 'drop' item is pretty minimal.

    I think most people get that. But you have to acknowledge there is such a thing as anti-marketing. It's actively giving people a reason to not play your game. It doesn't even have to be the sole reason. It might just tip the balance (and there are plenty of other reasons to think of passing on this game.) This is especially true when there's a lot of choices for games out there. They have to be hoping they're going to attract more players than they're going to turn off, but that seems more like a gamble than a predictable outcome.

    do I have to acknowledge this? Because I don't really believe a meaningful number of players are going to refuse to play OW2 because they missed a halloween skin (that was available for free) because they refused to open a twitch window and minimize it for a couple hours

    (also this is a misunderstanding of what 'anti-marketing' generally means in the industry parlance)

    hold your head high soldier, it ain't over yet
    that's why we call it the struggle, you're supposed to sweat
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    dennisdennis aka bingley Registered User regular
    dennis wrote: »
    like someone said upthread, the drops really don't have anything to do with the players already playing the game. If they want to afk-watch and get the drop nobody cares. Devs do it because it gets streamers to stream the game, which exposes it to people who don't already play.

    it's a really effective form of marketing; it puts the product in front of people who are likely to be interested, and the cost of creating the 'drop' item is pretty minimal.

    I think most people get that. But you have to acknowledge there is such a thing as anti-marketing. It's actively giving people a reason to not play your game. It doesn't even have to be the sole reason. It might just tip the balance (and there are plenty of other reasons to think of passing on this game.) This is especially true when there's a lot of choices for games out there. They have to be hoping they're going to attract more players than they're going to turn off, but that seems more like a gamble than a predictable outcome.

    do I have to acknowledge this? Because I don't really believe a meaningful number of players are going to refuse to play OW2 because they missed a halloween skin (that was available for free) because they refused to open a twitch window and minimize it for a couple hours

    (also this is a misunderstanding of what 'anti-marketing' generally means in the industry parlance)

    I think you have to acknowledge it, even if you don't think it applies in this place, and whether or not you want to quibble with what it's called. If you're intellectually honest, you'll admit there can be and advertising campaign bad enough that it actually drives more sales away from a brand than it brings in.

    I'm not saying you have to believe that's what's happening here. But at least acknowledge the possibility, because that's what people are discussing in the thread. Otherwise, you sound like your argument boils down to "any publicity is good publicity."

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    OverkillengineOverkillengine Registered User regular
    At some point there's enough degrees of separation that no one in the chain has to prove a causal link all the way down it. Which is why I don't necessarily agree with the notion of "a company spent money on this advertising, they wouldn't do it if it didn't work". No one person has to demonstrate that it works.

    It's one person's job to increase engagement (entergagement even). He just has to demonstrate that this promotion will cause metrics of engagement to go up.

    It was someone else's job (probably someone who worked for Twitch) to demonstrate that increasing those metrics of engagement will actually increase sales.

    Add about five more middle men and you get the idea. Every link in the chain has a burden to prove that their own link serves a purpose in the chain. But no person has any vested interest in whether or not the chain itself serves any purpose, so that never gets tested (even if you reasonably could test such a thing). Which is why I think advertising of all sorts is not necessarily as directly effective as we assume it is.

    I'd also like to point out that the entire concept of advertising has some overlap with "bullshitting the customer" and that customers aren't just external to the organization.

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    PALaxxPALaxx Registered User regular
    ironzerg wrote: »
    That's not how stock prices work. That's not how any of that works.

    I never mentioned anything about stocks, but cool. Go off, queen.

    If you want to remain ignorant of the situation, that's your business. You're the target market, then.

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    PyrianPyrian Registered User regular
    PALaxx wrote: »
    ...investor/shareholder...shareholders...
    ironzerg wrote: »
    That's not how stock prices work. That's not how any of that works.
    PALaxx wrote: »
    I never mentioned anything about stocks...

    Then what exactly do you think shareholders hold shares of? :D

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    VontreVontre Registered User regular
    dennis wrote: »
    dennis wrote: »
    like someone said upthread, the drops really don't have anything to do with the players already playing the game. If they want to afk-watch and get the drop nobody cares. Devs do it because it gets streamers to stream the game, which exposes it to people who don't already play.

    it's a really effective form of marketing; it puts the product in front of people who are likely to be interested, and the cost of creating the 'drop' item is pretty minimal.

    I think most people get that. But you have to acknowledge there is such a thing as anti-marketing. It's actively giving people a reason to not play your game. It doesn't even have to be the sole reason. It might just tip the balance (and there are plenty of other reasons to think of passing on this game.) This is especially true when there's a lot of choices for games out there. They have to be hoping they're going to attract more players than they're going to turn off, but that seems more like a gamble than a predictable outcome.

    do I have to acknowledge this? Because I don't really believe a meaningful number of players are going to refuse to play OW2 because they missed a halloween skin (that was available for free) because they refused to open a twitch window and minimize it for a couple hours

    (also this is a misunderstanding of what 'anti-marketing' generally means in the industry parlance)

    I think you have to acknowledge it, even if you don't think it applies in this place, and whether or not you want to quibble with what it's called. If you're intellectually honest, you'll admit there can be and advertising campaign bad enough that it actually drives more sales away from a brand than it brings in.

    I'm not saying you have to believe that's what's happening here. But at least acknowledge the possibility, because that's what people are discussing in the thread. Otherwise, you sound like your argument boils down to "any publicity is good publicity."

    Sure... but this seems really innocuous. Youtube is rife with anti-blizzard and OW hate videos but this is never mentioned. People actually like Twitch drops. You get free shit for either doing something you already like doing (watching a stream) or else doing nothing (running the stream in a tab muted).

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    DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited November 2022
    It was well explained above by Eat it, but another way to think of this: Twitch stream drops are the new version of link embedding for search engine optimization.

    Darkewolfe on
    What is this I don't even.
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