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Meet Vasco - Twitch Live Stream Companion

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Objective

In September 2023, gaming studio Bethesda, known for their award-winning, critically acclaimed games such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Fallout 4 launched ‘Starfield’ - their first new original game setting in over 25 years!

Embarking on an open world action adventure, players joined ‘The Constellation’, a group of intrepid explorers in pursuit of rare artifacts throughout the galaxy. Vasco, a peaceful droid and indispensable in-game friend, assists players on their missions.

To introduce Starfield to the gaming masses, we wanted to capitalize on this iconic character and extend his friendship to Twitch gaming audiences worldwide, redefining the boundaries of streaming innovation in the process.

Harnessing the full potential of the gaming community from public fans to gamer talent, Powster enabled intrepid explorers to take Vasco on their intergalactic travels, as their very own Twitch live stream companion. Elevating the gaming experience for both streamers and viewers alike, a fully interactive 3D model of Vasco was created, and available to download by anyone globally and added to streams - no app required.

We animated Vasco with a set of fun interactions and enabled the public to power them up basic chat commands, creating a whole new way for them to produce dynamic streams! After loading Vasco up in their OBS System, streamers and channel moderators could type text commands to trigger each pre-programmed animation, allowing the robotic companion to engage and entertain audiences here on Planet Earth.

Strategy

Sending Vasco on his mission into Twitch was no small feat; so to prepare him to take his first steps into this new platform, we faced many technical challenges along the way:

3D model optimisation:

Adapting Bethesda’s in-game’s files for web compatibility presented its first technical challenge. This involved replicating Vasco’s in-game movement seamlessly on screen for an enhanced viewing experience. 

Character expression & hero animations: 

Vasco’s capabilities were well suited for space and beyond, so to prepare our robotic friend for his journey into Twitch’s streaming environment, we created a set of five unique characteristic animations which faithfully translated the bot’s personality onto screens. From preparing a hot beverage, to cleaning your screen, Vasco entertained audiences with relatable and attention grabbing ‘human’ mannerisms. 

Twitch interactions / character controls: 

Through innovative streamer tools built within the Twitch environment, we enabled the streamer (or approved moderators) to action each animation command in two unique ways; 

  1. Integrated text commands. Typed into the OBS chat window, both streamers and moderators could add selected keywords (eg. !thumbsup) see Vasco perform their desired action
  2. Numerical keyboard controls. This secondary control enabled streamers to interact with the OBS browser source via the “interact” function to trigger each bespoke animation action 

One key challenge was optimizing the latency of the Vasco model for smooth transitions between idle states and hero animations - the overall effect led to a more seamless result and overall authentic experience. 

Accessibility:

Unlike traditional Twitch campaigns, the Vasco companion tool didn’t rely on a high-profile streamer to launch the campaign, rather this was fully democratized, allowing established and amateur streamers to effortlessly add Vasco to their streams through a dedicated scrolling microsite.

Promoted on partner’s official social channels, streamers could authorize their Twitch channel, and generate a URL with a single click to add Vasco to their streams via OBS or Twitch Studio. Enabling Vasco to be seamlessly integrated into their Twitch environment, without the need for additional extensions, plugins, or apps. 

Offline Interaction:

Repurposing the 3D Vasco model and features into a Native AR file (Quicklook for iOS & Model Viewer for Android), viewers instantly accessed Vasco in their own environment, thereby enriching their overall experience with an additional layer of engagement.

Results

Launched alongside the game release, the Vasco Twitch companion helped Starfield reach more than 10 million players in its release on September 1, making it the biggest launch in Bethesda history after shooting past six million players on September 7.

Announced to Bethesda's millions of fans across social platforms, the Vasco Twitch companion made a huge impression worldwide and prompted a massive positive fan reaction with fans eager to try the companion out for themselves on their gameplay streams. 

In the days following the activation’s launch, we saw the charismatic droid appearing across hundreds of Twitch streams worldwide to a combined reach of over 368k+ subscribers, with notable streamers such as Burkeblack (307.4k followers), Rikkichuu (14.3k followers) and TweetyExpert (19.2k followers) taking Vasco on their galactic voyages.

Engaging the target gaming viewership, audiences were thrilled to meet and interact with this beloved Bethesda fan favorite in a completely innovative way, and immerse themselves further in the Starfield universe.

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Entrant Company / Organization Name

Powster, Bethesda

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