Twitch Drops – A rising trend everyone is exploiting

In-stream or Twitch drops are a rising trend in esports and gaming live streaming. So what is the point of in-stream drops? How does one take advantage of these incentives for viewers and are publishers benefiting? Or are in-stream drops ruining the streaming experience? Let’s take a quick look…

Twitch Drops – A rising trend everyone is exploiting

© Twitch

In-stream Drops renaissance

In May, Valorant really led the “Drops” charge by offering free beta access keys on Twitch. Here at Esports.net we managed to get a Valorant key early in the giveaway thanks to Riot Games and Summit1G and then we played over 300 games. The Valorant beta key drop was hugely popular but it came to an end as Riot Games released the full version of the game. Still, some fans were disappointed in missing out on early access.

Riot Games aren’t done with drops though, the publisher has now revealed planned drops for League of Legends which will commence ahead of the Summer Split. The League of Legends drops won’t be Twitch drops though, they’ll be avaliable at the LoL Esports platform instead, but will still be tied into watching streams. Riot Games states their “goal is to continue to elevate the fan experience.”

The drops trend is growing quickly, June will see Escape from Tarkov Twitch drops, Sea of Thieves Twitch drops and the first full month of drops on YouTube. Google’s streaming focus added Twitch style drops at the end of May and Call of Duty announced broadcast drops would be coming to its official live streams saying:

“Watching Call of Duty League competition will soon earn you exclusive cross-platform in-game Call of Duty League-themed rewards, including new team emblems, sprays, and animated calling cards.”

Twitch now has a whole help section on how to earn drops and Forbes publishes a list of all the free games and loot on Twitch each month.

Publishers and streaming platforms are working “hard” to improve the watch experience for viewers and attract more to their own platform or games. With global coronavirus lockdowns, esports and streaming audiences could be rising even faster than the near 500 million strong viewership figures predicted by Newzoo for 2020.

Are Twitch Drops good for the broadcasters?

Though Twitch drops certainly incentivized new Valorant fans and generally in-stream drops are attracting attention. There is a danger that spectators are watching purely to gain their reward, perhaps generating unduly inflated audience figures rather than engaged repeat viewers. Inflated numbers might give a false sense of security about the quality of stream even for premier broadcasts.

There’s also an argument to say that drops are ruining things for avid streamers, just like TV ads used to do for watchers. Both arguments could go either way, those dropping into streams looking for freebies might decide to return just for the content. And loyal, avid, streaming audiences get extra, even unexpected rewards from drops.

With competition between platforms and esports games hotting up in 2020, drops are likely here to stay. They certainly seem popular among casuals and avid spectators. Drops are a marketing tactic, and marketing and advertising will become an even greater part of the esports space as it matures and reaches a wider audience.

Advertising and media rights revenue is a major contributor to esports net worth.  Streaming is just one offshoot niche to esports popularity, esports betting is another that’s attracting the attention of fans new and old, especially with recent events preventing traditional sports events which historically have driven much of the betting niche.

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