The Impact of Streamers on Borderlands 3

I won’t be the first person to bring up the irony of a game about evil streamers relying on the services of streamers, and I won’t be the last. The arrival of the 4th DLC tomorrow will likely, if past releases are anything to go by, coincide with followers of the big Borderlands streamers/YouTubers being inundated with videos about the DLC and the update. And if this is anything like the previous occasions, all of this will happen even before the DLC/update have finished downloading for me. This got me thinking about their impact on the game and community.

While I think they offer positives in the communities they can foster and the content they make can be helpful for those starting out or stuck (I like a good number of them), I think that their privileges (i.e. early access to DLC, updates) have allowed them to monopolize content in a way that can be detrimental to the overall exploration and creativity within the game.

What do others think?

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I have the same reaction to this as I did to streamers posting early game play of all the characters pre -release: I want to see everything, Idgaf about spoilers.

Streamers don’t have much of an impact positively or negatively on the direction of the game. Level 65 meta builds have pretty much already been figured out, it’s just math and anyone who knows the formulas can do it. I don’t see what the issue is.

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What I personally would love to have changed would be to have the early users (aka those that are part of the stream team or however it’s called) be more mindful of showing in-game areas of bosses of new content. For example they could just showcase the weapons as they always do, but instead of directly showing where to farm the gun in the video, have a link in the description and also name the farming location there. That way no visual spoilers would be in the video and people could really just spoil themselves.

Other than that I see no real negatives of streamers on the game, at least no major negatives.

Edit: Although I can see the monopoly argument, it’s just not relevant enough nowadays. I rather have a few well-presenting people that do that for a living instead of having people forced into the race for clicks.

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I have said this before on these forums, so to those of you who have read it previously, sorry.

I think having a paid “Stream Team” (or whatever they are calling it now) is a shady practice. I think it is shady to pay streamers to play and publicize your game, especially when neither the streamers nor the dev/publisher is required to disclose the amount of money being paid OR EVEN THE FACT THAT THE RELATIONSHIP EXISTS AT ALL.

Maybe others believe this is inconsequential, but I do not. I am not sure whether this practice is industry-wide at this point, but BL3 is the first game I have played where this exists. I believe it to be problematic.

EDIT: to add that I don’t believe the practice to be “not great” because the streamers get access to content before us “plebs.” I couldn’t be bothered to care about that. I believe that any non-publicly disclosed financial relationship between a business and a purported “objective consumer” who also is a reviewer of the product teeters on the edge of shady, especially when the purportedly “objective consumer” has the ability to sway public opinion and is targeted by the business for that specific reason. Criticism that is paid for by the artist is not objective in any way, shape, or form.

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No one on the stream team (I think they’re called content creator team now) is paid by GBX or 2K. They only get paid through YouTube, twitch and the like.

They get perks like early access, direct lines to to the devs, ability to stream from the official borderlands channels, and swag.

Of course it’s in their interest to hype the game. As well, many of them are vocal about the games problems. It’s also in their interest for GBX to keep it’s player base.

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Not a big issue for me, i just avoid my daily dose of cat vidyas on patch days.

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How do you know this?

I’m pretty sure @flightx3aa mentioned it before if I’m not mistaken.

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@boombumr If that is in fact true, I don’t have too much problem with this practice. I still think it should be disclosed.

But I don’t think it is unreasonable at all for players to assume that if a streamer is “endorsed” by a dev (as is basically the case here), that the streamer is being paid. That is the way this kind of thing works in the rest of the world (professional athletes or entertainers are a decent comparison - streamers are basically entertainers as far as I am concerned).

All the content creator team does is stream on the official Borderlands channel, and they get to be in more direct contact with GB to pass along feedback. They’re basically a handpicked PR team for the game, not paid promoters as far as I understand it.

Pretty sure it’s the same with Warframe and many of the other online games I play. They have Content Creator teams that basically act as hype people for new content and pass along community feedback, but they don’t get paid by the company. The endorsement directs traffic to their channels, and of course the early access to new content is a pretty worthwhile reward.

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@boombumr Hm, fair enough. If that is the case, then I will shut up my objection to this practice, because that would basically make them equivalent to any other gaming media outlet - who also receive expenses-paid trips to play the games and whatnot.

If what you are saying is true, I will admit that I do find it surprising.

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Video games are a tech business, and tech does things weirdly.

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Totally reasonable. And I can remember when several of them were flown out to GBX studios in Dallas to play an early version before release. The perks are real, lol.

But I have heard them say publicly on stream that they are not paid. Doubt they’d be able to say anything on that topic if they were.

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I don’t mind them on a conceptual level, but the real harmful stuff to me is balancing the game around what they have/can do. We all know they get tons of handouts and perfect gear through various means that most players will not have. So stuff that would be super challenging to them would in theory be even harder or impossible for other players.

Also, not a fan of them getting special goodies that the rest of the playerbase still mostly don’t have.

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They say they dont get handouts but i know better everybody knows they dont farm if they farmed like us normal fans they would not have time to make those god roll videos there is to many ways to cheat the game on pc and guess what thats what they all play on.

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this is not true, if you are being paid for advertisement you have to disclose it

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Exactly and not only has it to be disclosed, it has to be very clear. Every BL3 youtube video of any financially partnered person would need to start with a disclaimer in text and/or speech if there was some sort of financial partnership. You can see some of that on pre-release footage from the May 2019 event when everyone and their mother disclosed that they were “paid” by 2k by letting them cover the costs for travel and hotel.

Having paid advertisements in a video is less intrusive, but you still need to disclose that with a prompt.

I think this is something that needs to be argued, instead of stated. I don’t get how or why you’ve come to this conclusion. I’m not trying to be confrontational, sorry if I come across that way. It’s just that the negative premise stated here seems to come out of nowhere.

The design direction of the game (and obviously the plot) was decided before launch. Gearbox went with this before streamers ever existed on the scene (however much urging was at 2K’s request we can only guess at. It could’ve been none at all). I don’t get what they’re monopolising.

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It’s quite easy: They grant early access, as far as we know up to 1 week early, which leads to content creators having videos ready even before the DLC is available. That absolutely kills the chances of other channels to compete with that type of content as the algorithm shows a combination of the most recent and most relevant videos, which will almost always be one of the videos of the stream team due to their early access. Sure, they do not really monopolize anything, but in terms of how the algorithm works they might as well. That’s also why so many of the smaller Borderlands channels don’t focus on weapons alone, but rather on the math behind it all. That’s unrelated to early access and nothing one would cover for that sake anyway as weapon previews are way easier to digest.

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This most of what I wanted to get across. I would add to this build diversity. There has been a hit to build diversity as there would normally be as Gearbox tries to make the game more challenging, so it is not entirely down to content. However, compared to when Borderlands 3 was launched, build diversity has suffered in terms of variety and source. When the level cap was 50, I kept seeing many videos with different builds from a lot different people, whereas now I only see build videos from a few of the big streamers/YouTubers. Early access allows for those working with Gearbox to have tested builds done sooner and out for the viewer.

I don’t mean that streamers themselves influence the content within the game, or how it turns out down the line (although it would be foolish to deny that they have more influence on Gearbox than average players such as myself). Instead what I take issue with is the timing of their content and the potential detriment it may have on the game experience.

Again I will compare to the launch of Borderlands 3. Streamer content in the early days didn’t arrive on launch, it was a steady and slow stream of informative videos and item guides, before builds at level 50. This gave an impression of relatability, as you could find something in the game that they might not have found or covered yet. There was still mystery and discovery in the game. Fast-forward to the last two DLC releases, and before you could even get the DLC and update fully downloaded their would already be item guides for over half of the new items. You already can know the viability of these items for your play style and character and where to find them before even starting the DLC. It is this difference that I think has a negative impact on the game experience.

Now obviously you don’t need to watch these videos on release, if at all. But the ease that they offer can be very compelling in a game with an ever expanding legendary tally.