Small game companies have paid streamers to promote their games for ages. Now big publishers like Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, and Take-Two have embraced the marketing power of live broadcasting. According to The Wall Street Journal, celebrity streamers’ rates could reach $50,000 an hour.
Take-Two intends to use streamers to publicize Borderlands 3 when the title comes out on September 13. Ubisoft, which was quick to adopt live-streaming as a marketing tool, will be paying broadcasters to play Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint on October 4.
“If you don’t have live-streaming as part of your marketing spend, you’re doing it wrong.”
John Benyamine, chief executive of Greenlit Content LLC marketing agency
Live broadcasting gained recognition when Electronic Arts used the tactic to publicize Apex Legends. The game didn’t have any advance marketing campaign. However, played by over a dozen streamers, it reached over a million installs on its first day and more than 50 million within its first month. That’s $90 million in revenue during that first month.
Popular live-streamers attracting 15,000 simultaneous viewers or more, can get between $25,000 and $35,000 an hour during a big launch, with the top broadcasters earning even more, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two’s chief executive cautions, however, that sponsored streams do not automatically translate into downloads.
“Having celebrity streamers play games is an important part of the business. It is relatively new, but it has to be organic. The streamers have to believe in it.”
Strauss Zelnick, Chief Executive at Take-Two
In a crowded industry, in which users keep playing several titles that receive constant updates, streaming offers another tool to promote new games. And it’s difficult to overestimate its importance. Last year, users spent 8.9 billion hours watching videogame content on Twitch.