Every Sunday, I have two displays for NFL football, with a projector forcing me to confront the weekly embarrassment that is the Chicago Bears on a wall-sized screen, and a laptop humming to NFL Red Zone. If you haven’t heard of Red Zone, it’s a channel dedicated to showing when a football team is in the “red zone,” which begins at 20 yards from goal line, and cutting between the games, as teams march up the field.
Recently,the Microsoft-owned streaming service Mixer launched something it’s dubbed the HypeZone, a Red Zone-influenced channel dedicated to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which launched on Xbox One this week. (It's not a good version of the game—yet, anyway.) The point of HypeZone is to swap between streamers near the end of a Battlegrounds match, allowing you to bear witness to the unbelievable tension dominating the final moments of the Battle Royale-inspired shooter.
HypeZone kicks in when a streamer has made it into the coveted top 10 spot, in which the rapidly dwindling circle of play has funneled players into a small corner of the map.
Perhaps most interesting about HypeZone is how it’s pitched as a way for viewers to get introduced to new streamers, and streamers to get in front of an audience.
“HypeZone switches between Mixer streamers closest to winning the coveted Chicken Dinner, hosting the streamer until they either win or die. This gives viewers the opportunity to discover streamers of all levels during the most intense moments of the game.”
If you don’t already have a following, starting a Twitch or YouTube channel is hard. How do you convince people to watch? It’s a combination of talent, luck, and, uh, more luck. Theoretically, HypeZone can function as an open mic for streamers. There’s no guarantee people will stick around after the round is over, but there's a chance. That’s more than most streamers will ever get.
It's working, too.
"Had it happen to me this morning," said one streamer on reddit. "Stream had 2 viewers then all of a sudden I kept getting random follows and it jumped to mid 70's. Funny because I ended in the top 10 that game, but didn't get a chicken dinner until two games later."
This is something Twitch and YouTube should copy immediately. I’m guessing most haven’t spent much time on Mixer—lord knows I haven’t—but this definitely has me more interested, and Mixer would benefit from more creative ideas like this one.
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