A streamer who I have got to know a fair bit is a guy called Solaar Noble. An all round good guy, he used to host Friday night Jackbox Parties. They were always a hit, for a very good reason - audience participation. Viewers could vote on questions, opinions and the best T shirt design. Viewers could also join in the game and draw the T shirt. OK, this lead to some very questionable responses, but this is the internet and while it is prefered not having to moderate, it has to be expected.
I've been playing a cool new Roguelike called Ring of Pain. A dungeon crawler of sorts, you navigate your way around cards, making a mix of sensible and risky decisions in very difficult situations. I thoroughly enjoyed streaming this, and I'd argue it was a hit with the viewers, and why is this? It has Twitch Integration.
Twitch Integration is when a game has a feature that connects to your channel, and allows viewers to influence outcomes in a game. In Ring of Pain, viewers are able to vote on decisions on what cards to choose when you open a chest, but they are also able to draw the cards. Yes! Viewers are given the opportunity to add their own drawings to the cards that show in the streamers game. Moderation features are also installed, so all nazi symbols and phallic imagery can be removed if necessary. Not only does this make the streamers game more enjoyable for him or herself, the viewers also get a laugh, as well as a sense of participation in the game they are watching.
One could argue that streaming is a growing, popular source of entertainment, certainly in the younger generations. So will integration between game and chat be more of a thing? I sincerely hope so. Live interaction with a streamer you enjoy watching and chatting to, while helping or hindering their decision making in a game adds another layer of joy to the experience. Though I would stress that it should be an optional feature - to make it an integral part of a game would limit sales. There are also of course other streaming platforms aside from Twitch, on which Twitch Integration wouldnt work, obviously. But as a feature that makes a game far more enjoyable on a growing content medium on arguably the most popular platform? I think the world needs more of that.
I'm also aware of other games out there with viewer participation - if you happen to come across this blog post and would like to recommend some in the comments, please do!