Several weeks ago, we started running a charity tournament with a bunch of Twitch streamers.
For the uninitiated: Twitch is a live-streaming service with a videogame focus. What this means is that, at any hour of the day, you can visit the site and watch people broadcasting themselves playing videogames. There’s lots that makes Twitch, and the live streaming phenomenon, interesting from a sociological perspective. But what makes it interesting from a business perspective is that the big streamers – the men and women doing this full-time – have ridiculously large fan bases. Ten of thousands of viewers, hundreds of thousands, millions. For indie game developers, at least, streamers have long since surpassed the traditional games press as the way to get your work noticed.
So, several weeks ago, Versus Evil’s resident Twitch guru, Mel Mok, wrangled Twitch 32 streamers into 4 teams, with each team attached to a different charity, and kicked off the Versus Evil Charity Clash. The winner of the tournament gets $10,000 to give to the charity they represent.
The first 3 rounds of the tournament are complete; there are 4 players still in, and they’ll be facing off against each other live at PAX East in early March:
A few observations. First: over the course of the tournament, the streamers have raised an additional $25,000 for charity directly from their fans. This is independent of the $10k award that Versus Evil is providing. That is… ridiculous! We’d been hoping that the streamers would raise like $10,000 on their own — and this, to be honest, felt like a real stretch goal to me — and then they went and smashed the goal more than twice over.
Second observation: 3 of the 4 finalists are women! I’ve long felt that Antihero is a particularly female-friendly game. This is entirely anecdotal, and is based mostly on observing and chatting with the people who play the game at PAX and similar shows; in other words, it’s something I’ve noticed but that I don’t have a good explanation for. But the results of the tournament are more evidence that my hunch is correct.
I can’t wait for the finals.