Publishing lessons

Board games & crowdfunding

The power of Twitch drops

8th June 2023 5

Last week saw the release of Diablo 4, and with it, one of the largest marketing campaigns I have ever seen for a video game. Featuring billboards all around the world, partnerships with KFC, converting a church in France, creating a drink, celebrity collaborations, a music video, and much more. It’s not surprising, Diablo 3 has been one of the most successful games of all time, and Diablo 4 has a lot to live up to.

This type of marketing is well outside the budget of most companies, let alone board game publishers, but there is one thing that has intrigued me for a while. A campaign offered through the live streaming platform Twitch known as Twitch drops.

Twitch is the home of live streaming and features hundreds of thousands of people streaming gameplay, music, game shows, and many aspects of their lives, including playing board games.

Twitch drops are a reward where watching a live stream that is currently featuring the game in question, in this case, Diablo 4, rewards you with an in-game reward for free after viewing 3 hours of content. In other words, if you go to Twitch and watch someone playing Diablo for 3 hours, you will be given a free in-game item in the form of a unique code you enter into the game.

I wonder how effective this could be in board games and how it may be implemented.

One method might be during a crowdfunding campaign to provide people with a unique code for viewing a live stream, and then upon entering that code into a system, it adds a free promo pack to their order.

Another feature Diablo 4 has used on Twitch has been the sponsored segment, which I believe offers a lot of benefits to everyone involved. Twitch streamers must apply for this, and then during a set week, any viewer may gift any 2 viewers a 1-month subscription to the channel being watched in order to receive an in-game reward.

The benefits here are as follows:

  • The content creator earns money from the gifted subscriptions; it does not go to the advertiser.
  • Twitch also takes a cut, adding value to them.
  • The recipients of the gifted subscriptions now receive special benefits while watching the stream for the next month, encouraging them to engage further.
  • The gifter receives a unique item.

What I like about this system is that the gifter is paying their favourite content creator to receive a promotional item for something they enjoy. The content creator and platform (Twitch) are both earning money, and the advertiser is getting great promotional coverage.

It would be interesting to explore how these concepts could work with board game content creators and how, as a publisher, I could partner with people to provide extra content for my community while promoting the content creators and rewarding them for their efforts.

Can you see this working in the board game industry?

Frank West

Frank West is a gamer and designer based in Bristol, UK. He published his first board game, The City of Kings, in 2018 and now works on other games and organising events in the local area. His goal? To design and publish games focusing on immersive themes, fun mechanics and beautiful components. If you have any questions or would just like a chat, feel free to get in touch at any time!


  • Jamey Stegmaier

    8th June 2023 at 6:10 pm

    This is fascinating. How would you determine that someone has actually watched X hours of content? One semi-related equivalent I’ve seen are campaigns that offer bonus perks if you solve a certain number of puzzles that require you to really pay attention (and even a chance to win the game).


    • Frank West

      8th June 2023 at 7:40 pm

      I think the puzzle-solving approach is a good equivalent!

      Through Twitch, I think having an organizational-level account and using the official implementations are the only real options as they manage all this automatically (I’m not sure what the costs would be). It works well as having 10+ streamers live at the same time gives viewers the options to find their favourite style while discoving new creators. I specifically like that no streamer is required to say anything or do any specific, other than play or talk about the game during the time.


      – Twitch does enable third-party apps, which means you could use them to create your own plugin, but this would be cost-prohibitive.
      – Twitch also give streamers access to stats on their viewers, so you could ask streamers to take a snapshot pre-stream and post-stream of viewer times, but again, it’s not ideal.

      The “gifting subs” method would be easiest to track, as you can easily see this data on Twitch, and I assume you can track it on YouTube too.

      The watch time approach is certainly something I’ll be exploring more, as I’d love to find a way to incorporate it in future campaigns.


      • Jamey Stegmaier

        8th June 2023 at 7:46 pm

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts on how this might be possible. For a looser, less organized approach, I think the puzzles/clues are a good alternative.


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