Popular Twitch streamer Ben ‘DrLupo’ Lupo has called out Twitch streamers who are apparently using Valorant drops to trick viewers into thinking their channel is live, when they’re just recycling old content for ad revenue.
Valorant peaked at 1.7 million concurrent viewers on Twitch on the day of its closed beta launch, and within 24 hours the game had amassed over 34 million hours watched on the Amazon-owned platform.
A key to this skew in the figures is Riot’s partnership with Twitch, who have collaborated to bring drops (account access to the beta) providing you link both your Riot and Twitch accounts and watch the specified Twitch stream.
With fans of the tactical shooter flooding Twitch in their droves to bolster their chances of getting into Valorant’s closed beta, DrLupo believes that streamers are capitalizing on this as he vented his frustrations in a short Twitter thread.
The 33-year-old alleges that some streamers who have ‘Drops Enabled’ on their broadcast are playing back old VODs and tagging them as live, to bait unsuspecting fans into the stream and make ad revenue from the pre-roll advertisement that plays before you can view content.
By combining this with the fact that there are floods of fake accounts being made to farm beta access, some streamers are seeing substantially more growth as a result of Valorant’s beta drop system.
Interesting to see streamers that have been granted drops on their channel for @PlayVALORANT beta access taking advantage of the increase in viewership (that means $ from ads) by literally playing back an old VOD on their PC and just re-streaming it. Typically AFK.
— DrLupo (@DrLupo) April 12, 2020
The crux of the issues lies with some streamers falsely labeling their stream as ‘live’ as opposed to a 'rerun' — which, as Lupo pointed out, typically gets fewer viewers due to the lack of interaction.
Combine that with bot accounts (which also "see" ads, which is $) being used to farm beta access for sale (which Riot is then banning), makes for a crazy set of conditions that is influencing what people will do when it comes to drops on Twitch.
— DrLupo (@DrLupo) April 12, 2020
This comes after esports journalist, Rod ‘Slasher’ Breslau, highlighted both sides of the coin, labeling those who farm drop viewers as “pretty lame” while also acknowledging that “Riot created a weird situation to begin with” by giving exclusive access to select few.
Breslau also gave a nod towards some “big esports leagues” who utilize Twitch’s rebroadcast system in the same light as Lupo mentioned in the above Tweets.
on the other hand Riot created a weird situation to begin with allowing only streamers who played the test event to get drops even after beta was released, meanwhile everyone including big esports leagues exploit Twitch's rebroadcast live system
may as well go for it
— Rod 'keydaddy' Breslau (@Slasher) April 11, 2020
So while Riot has most definitely boosted the amount of interest in their game through their unique beta marketing strategy, it appears that some are using the circumstance to their advantage and squeezing every last drop out of it while the situation still permits.
Of course, Riot will inevitably pull the plug on drops for beta access. And when that happens, that’s when Valorant’s viewership numbers will more accurately reflect the level of interest generated by the closed beta.