TGN Focus: What’s So Great About a Beta?


If there’s one thing Blizzard does really well, it’s getting people excited about their games.  Sure, they bank off of some very popular franchises that the fanboys naturally get excited about, but Blizzard is one of very few companies that really capitalize off of that hype as well as they do.  What’s their secret?  Most recently, limited beta access has been the key to generating the buzz that surrounds their games – and as content creators, we get to reap the rewards…

As YouTubers, we’re stoked to cover the next game that we’re excited about and we always hope that our viewers are just as excited as we are.  But there’s more to it than just showing game footage if you’re one of the lucky few to get beta access.

First Things First – The Rules

If you get beta (or even alpha) access to a game, there are often rules from the publisher about what you can and can’t share publically.  Usually these rules are more stringent if the game is far from release because the publisher doesn’t want to lose potential customers due to bugs or glitches in early footage.  You are, after all, testing an early version of the game and not the final release.

It’s important to check these rules out if you’re looking to create content around the beta, because it will keep you safe from sharing something that you shouldn’t.  Depending on the publisher, you might actually have to request permission to share your footage.

“This actually puts you at a strategic advantage, because you can look at what

your competitors are doing and develop your own niche for your content.”  

Being a Conscious Creator

Let’s face it, you’re not the only one with beta access, and there are usually some keeners who get to the footage first.  This actually puts you at a strategic advantage, because you can look at what your competitors are doing and develop your own niche for your content.  For example, are your competitors doing level walkthroughs of the latest RPG beta?  If so, be the first to do a class breakdown – or at least the first to do it in an original way.  A great example of this competitive space is the Hearthstone beta.  Everyone with Hearthstone beta access is scrounging for new content to bring to the table, but the ones that are seeing the most success from the beta are the ones that are having the most fun with the game’s ‘creativity factor’.

 Another one of my coined terms, a game’s ‘creativity factor’ is pretty much defined by how much a YouTuber can do with the game mechanics to make it entertaining for themselves (and a viewer base).  In Hearthstone, for example, creating a minionless deck and trying to climb the ladder could be pretty entertaining if done well.  Of course, commentary and personality have a lot to do with getting subscribers, but the ‘creativity factor’ has a lot of potential.

“With some creativity, you could create a dozen or more

concepts and run with them for the length of the beta.”

Keep the Ball Rolling

The most successful content creators for beta content run their videos in series because it ensures that your audience has something to look forward to.  Diablo 3 was an excellent example of what you could do with a series because of the various classes that everyone was so excited about.  This meant at least 5 videos (one per class) for each content series.  With some creativity, you could create a dozen or more concepts and run with them for the length of the beta.  Even if only a few of them are really solid, that’s a lot of content and a decent amount of views that you could be raking in.

The keys to success for beta coverage are originality, quality and consistency.  If you’ve got those in the bag, you’ll see greater rewards from your beta access.

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