Over the past few years, battle royale games such as Fortnite, Apex Legends, PUBG, and Tetris 99 among many others have risen to the forefront of multiplayer gaming. What is it about these games that make them so popular? Having thought about this for years, I share my hot take on a potentially deep psychological reason what makes these games different from other multiplayer formats!
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Late last year, I was playing Tetris Effect when I stumbled on a cool secret level with visuals and music inspired by the 1989 Game Boy version of Tetris. Not thinking much of it, I recorded some video of it and put it on my channel. To my surprise, the video built a head of steam until it was prominently featured on Kotaku.
Whether they chose my video to feature at the top because it was the best one or only one available at the time, it was cool to get at least a subtle nod from one of the biggest gaming publications around. Here’s a few more times my work reached beyond the bounds of this site!
A few months back, I streamed Tetris Effect for a few nights. At launch, the game seemingly had a lot of buzz. Critics raved about it. The game has incredible music and gorgeous visuals. And not to toot my own horn too much, but I’m pretty good at Tetris too, completing expert mode without losing once. All of those things made me think that this was going to be a great game for me to stream in terms of pulling in an audience.
While I had a blast playing the game, it bombed hard in terms of viewership. When I look back at the timing, it’s unfortunately part of the reason why I didn’t hit Twitch Affiliate late last year when I was right on the brink. Some of that blame could be my own performance and lack of promotion, but I think it’s much bigger than that. At the time, there were about five streamers broadcasting for an audience of under 20 viewers. As I type this, there is one streamer playing the game and zero people watching.
Tetris Effect might be an amazing game, but it’s a terrible streaming game if your goal as a streamer is to draw in an audience. Streaming adds an extra variable to the game selection process that can feel scummy, but it’s something you have to reconcile every time you play with the camera on.