Gearbox Software is looking to kick things off with Borderlands 3 in a big way, as the developer is partnering with Twitch to allow viewers of the game's upcoming gameplay reveal to interact with streamers through an all-new extension called ECHOcast. The new Twitch extension appears to be about as ambitious as Borderlands 3's bombastic announcement trailer, promising to take streams of the loot shooter to new heights.
Officially revealed at PAX 2019, the Epic Games Store exclusive Borderlands 3 has sparked massive excitement among the gaming community at the prospect of returning to the lawless world of Pandora and its irreverent cast of characters. It's also made waves in more negative ways, though, with most of the outrage revolving around the game's absence from the Steam marketplace despite initial promises of releasing there. Considering the franchise's popularity, it's highly unlikely that Gearbox's and publisher 2K's snub of Steam will markedly affect the game's sales revenue, but it's clear that Borderlands 3 is working double duty to get players averse to the Epic Games Store back on board.
Just ahead of Borderlands 3's May 1 gameplay reveal event, Gearbox has announced the new ECHOcast Twitch extension, and the event's streamers and prospective viewers will be the first to put the new interactive feature to the test. The crowning jewels of ECHOcast are Rare Chest Events, which are triggered when streamers encounter special loot that viewers can opt-in to participate. Each of these unique chests will randomly award a viewer with a piece of loot of their choice from a streamer's haul, which will be redeemable via SHiFT code through Gearbox. Viewers will also be able to be able to check out streamers' active loadout, inventory, and skill trees at will, whereas this information could previously only be acquired in quick glimpses or by request.
It's doubtless that the ECHOcast extension potentially stands to mark a huge improvement in gaming streams for streamers and audiences, but it's clear that Twitch stands to gain the most here, especially with regard to the Rare Chest Events. Amounting to passive loot boxes that don't even have to be packed with premium content, Twitch users will be paying for a chance to win a single item with their viewership and generated ad revenue in what sounds like a perplexing system that increases in stinginess with channel size. It's not evil by any means and really is a win-win situation for all involved parties, but this Twitch partnership will probably only further lend to Gearbox's growing corporate image when viewed alongside Borderlands 3's Epic Games Store exclusivity.
Those doubts aside, Borderlands 3 is shaping up to be every streamer's dream: a loot shooter that brings in viewers in droves and allows them to actively participate in streams without disrupting the flow of broadcasts. Twitch's ECHOcast will likely be a hit if it functions as intended upon launch, and, if so, it seems almost guaranteed that this more interactive approach will continue to gain steam on this platform and others.
Source: Gearbox Software