The main villains in Borderlands 3, the Calypso Twins, are notorious streamers in the game. Because of this, developer, Gearbox Software, thought it would be a good time to partner with Twitch for a unique gaming experience. At TwitchCon, they presented a panel on the Borderlands 3 ECHOcast Extension.
The extension is downloadable on Twitch and provides opportunities for streamers and their viewers to interact in ways never before seen. The focus is on two possible means of interaction; passive and interactive.
Through the passive experience, players can pull up the ECHOcast and watch what streamers are doing in real time. In addition, they can analyze their favorite player’s inventory to see what gear they favor and the character build details to observe how they fill out their skill trees. Also, once they beat the game, viewers can study how experience is spent on Guardian rewards.
The interactive experience is where the ECHOcast truly separates itself from other video games. A variety of events allow viewers to directly involve themselves during a player’s stream. For example, there is the Red Chest event where streamers open specially colored chests in the game to gain loot. Everyone watching live has the opportunity to win the same item, that is scaled down to their level, the next time the log into their own game.
Another event, the Piñata event, gives viewers a chance to give a prize to the streamer they are watching when the player completes certain objectives. At this time, all the spectators vote on what gift the streamer will receive. It can be beneficial or in some cases, unfavorable, depending on the audience’s mood. It can be mean, but also entertaining, to watch a streamer break the piñata and find armed grenades inside.
The last event currently available is the Badass event where a powerful enemy spawns in the game and the onlookers vote on how this “Bad Ass” behaves. Once again, there is a possibility to either help or hurt the streamer. For an added touch, the Bad Ass is given the name of one of the spectators.
The Borderlands 3 ECHOcast Extension is an innovative way to bring viewers and streamers closer together through direct interactions. Being able to either help or troll players during their livestreams provides another dimension and a more hands on dynamic than chatting or earning exclusive skins. In the future they plan to bring the extension to consoles and create a new event where the audience can vote on a potion given to the streamer that grants specific buffs.