A few weeks ago, we decided to promote SRX through a tool set up by Twitch called the Bounty Board.
Spoiler: It’s a failure. But it seemed interesting to us to share our experience, especially with other interesting developers who would like to use this tool.
What is the Bounty Board ?
The Bounty Board is a tool that connects content broadcasters on Twitch, who want a financial return for their work, with companies wishing to promote a product, whether it is related to video games or not.
Thus, it is represented as a management table on both sides. On the business side, it will allow us to set up campaigns with a budget, objectives to be achieved, a description of the product as well as information intended for content distributors who will accept the “mission”. We will also choose what type of broadcaster can view and participate in the mission.
To be able to use this service, you will need to create a Twitch developer account in the name of your company. You will then have direct access to the Twitch console on dev.twitch.tv to configure the account and the campaigns. It is also from this console that you can register a game as yours by filling in proofs.
Then, you have to pay attention to specific criteria:
The minimum budget for a campaign is $5,000
The duration of a campaign is a minimum of 5 days
The launch of the campaign must be planned at least 4 days in advance
You cannot customize the display of the mission beyond the message of 2000 characters maximum intended for the streamer
The mission is carried out on the basis of minutes of fulfillment of the conditions (Ex: Do something for 80 minutes). By default the streamer must complete the mission in a row
You only pay for someone who has watched at least 2 minutes of stream, which will cost $0.50 by default
What the platform is lacking
Once the campaign is launched, you notice some limitations:
There is no notification when a streamer starts broadcasting
There is no direct access to the list of streamers who accepted the mission or their schedule
There are no billing details regarding currency or taxes. So “$5,000” will be the only number you will see until the invoice. We will see later that this can be particularly problematic
Once a content is broadcast, the console does not allow you to access the replays, it’s up to you to find them
The results in figures
Let’s start with numbers, which we can then compare with the concrete results:
337 streamers were able to see and accept the mission
Of these 337 potential broadcasters, 43 streamers were able to make a video on SRX
26,240 spectators were able to see the game for just a few seconds
Of these 26,240 spectators, 15,067 watched the broadcast for at least 2 minutes
- Altogether, the cumulative number of minutes watched is 314,429
515 people clicked on the Call-To-Action which was here a link to the SRX Steam page
Out of the 43 streams broadcast during the campaign, we tried to see as many as possible which allowed us to draw two general trends:
First of all, the “quality” of the streamers varies a lot. By trying to be as objective as possible, we noticed that some streamers make an effort to take an interest in the game, to try to find qualities but also constructive faults. They will thus take the time to check the instructions provided on the mission and during the game, carefully look at the different possible options and test things. These streamers are the most useful in terms of feedback because they act as beta testers. They will also have a tendency to play for longer than the minimum mission time in order to explore parts that may have escaped their notice.
Unfortunately, there are also streamers more “in a hurry” who will tend not to concentrate on the game (we will note for example streamers who will play with the keyboard and the mouse whereas it was recommended on multiple occasions to use a gamepad). These streamers will often have chat conversations that have nothing to do with the game just to pass the time or even say nothing at all, no reviews, no comments, for the entire duration of the session. We might think that the game is the culprit but we have observed that most of these streamers are referenced in all the categories of missions and chain the minimum duration of play for several hours to accumulate the missions and therefore the rewards.
Then, we saw that the presence of one of the team members in a streamer’s chat played an essential role. Indeed, the most constructive and lively streams were generally those where we introduced ourselves in the chat as being members of the development team, which systematically aroused enthusiasm and curiosity much more than the streams where we watched passively. This will allow questions, feedback and interactions with the streamer as well as with his community.
Mistakes linked to SRX
Now let’s be less generalist and try to understand what could have been detrimental to SRX in particular and which will therefore not be valid with any other game. Here, we were able to note 3 elements which could have influenced the result of the game campaign:
First of all, our game was intended for an informed audience. Indeed, although at the time of the campaign we had game modes intended for players who are not used to fast-paced games, SRX nonetheless remains a racing game, and not the easiest. This resulted in not very appealing gameplay for the struggling streamer’s communities. To the point of sometimes giving the impression that the game was slow and buggy. To address this issue, we might have been able to fine-tune the mission’s broadcast criteria or simply have the broadcaster watch a gameplay video made by the team. Still, we have had some negative feedback related to the lack of skill of some streamers. It’s our fault, not theirs.
Then, we should have presented a clearer navigation within the game itself. The layout of our menus and the different game modes distributed in sub-menus led some streamers to get lost and only enjoy part of the game. The timeframe was not long enough during the campaign to completely review the navigation hierarchy, so we suffered this error throughout the campaign and took the time to review it once it was over.
Finally, our objectives and instructions for the Bounty Board mission were too simplistic. Apart from an instruction linked to the fact that the use of a controller was strongly recommended, the mission consisted quite simply of “Playing SRX for 30 minutes”. Even though we offered different game modes, the possibility of playing online or solo, on different tracks and episodes, with a tutorial. In retrospect, this combined with our navigation problem, we should have launched this campaign with a more linear version of the game, with fewer options and therefore less risk for the player to get lost in the game modes, especially because it was not logical to be able to test them all in just 30 minutes.
The little billing anecdote (be careful)
Twitch’s Bounty Board program is, at the time of this article and our campaign, available in 5 countries around the world:
- United Kingdom
Remember here that we are French and that Twitch belongs to Amazon, a company situated in the United States. The currency there is the US dollar $ (USD) while in Europe we use the euro € (EUR). As a rule of thumb for a few years now, €1 has been worth between $1.10 and $1.20.
When using the Bounty Board, the only currency you will see will be the US dollar (USD / $), even if you are a foreigner. We used the minimum budget for this service of $ 5,000. Taking €1 = $1.15 means that our budget was around €4350. Note that the inclusion of taxes when filling in the budget will never be mentioned.
Well a few weeks after the end of the campaign (having warned them that we had not paid) we received a funny invoice:
First of all, it was contained in an email that made no mention of Twitch but only of Amazon, which can be confusing
Then, this one had been sent by Amazon France
Amazon France being a French company, it converted the sum of $ 5,000 into € 5,000 without any calculation
It also assumed that this was the tax-free amount. The taxes being 20% in France, the invoice was therefore €6000
After a dialogue with Amazon US we were able to obtain a correction of the invoice, this time returned in dollars, which we paid by applying the current conversion rate ourselves.
Conclusion and B3.3 update
As mentioned at the very beginning and looking at the direct sales figures and results after the campaign, it is a failure. But can we draw any positive and constructive conclusions? Yes, as often. These conclusions concern many aspects of the game, be it gameplay, visuals, navigation, but also our way of seeing the game and working.
Regarding SRX, the direct conclusions result in the updates B3.3 and soon B3.4 which will bring quite drastic changes to certain elements of the game. To know more, do not hesitate to take a look at the article on update B3.3 by clicking on this link:
As for the conclusions about how we work on our games during the creation and reflection phases, we will not share them here.
On the other hand, one of the positive conclusions is the very existence of this article, which will hopefully allow other developers to better understand the Bounty Board service before starting.
This kind of feedback would have helped us a lot, but someone has to get started before the others.
Thanks for reading and goodbye !