Case Study at a Glance
Square Enix, Inc. develops, publishes, distributes and licenses SQUARE ENIX®, EIDOS® and TAITO® branded entertainment content throughout the Americas as part of the Square Enix group of companies.
Los Angeles, California
In promoting its new Life is Strange release, Square Enix worked with BEN to find a diverse, inclusive group of brand-safe creators who were regular players of similar titles.
Partner with minimum 35 creators who play “Life is Strange” to raise awareness around the latest iteration “Life is Strange: True Colors”
Used AI to select creators who are diverse, brand-safe, and reflect the “Life is Strange: True Colors” ethos of inclusivity
Zeroing in on the Perfect Match
Set in a small mining town amid the snow-capped mountains of Colorado, the graphic adventure video game “Life is Strange: True Colors” puts players in the perspective of Alex Chen—a bisexual Asian-American woman who wields the power of psychic empathy on her quest to solve the mystery of her brother’s death. The latest iteration of a fan favorite from Square Enix, this newest Life is Strange game tells stories through life-like animation and movie-like plot points. Alex can read and influence emotions, and her friends have powers of their own.
In promoting “Life Is Strange: True Colors,” Square Enix worked with BEN to find a diverse group of creators who were regular players of similar computer games and representative of the inclusivity championed by the game. This was a challenge: historically, gaming creators are a relatively homogenous talent pool. There are notoriously few female gamers in the spotlight, for example.
BEN used AI to compile a list of potential creators using key criteria such as diversity, interest in similar titles, etc. The team then drilled down to select only creators whose audiences would be most interested in narrative-driven games. BEN looked specifically for audiences of “core gamers,” defined as a streamer who routinely plays games online for an audience (versus a casual gamer that might occasionally play more mainstream games like “The Sims” or “Mario Kart.”) This level of specificity and depth in the search for the right creators yielded unprecedented results.
Thoughtful Partnerships Drive Added Value
The creators BEN selected for the “Life Is Strange: True Colors” campaign ran the gamut. Massive names like Dansgaming with 824K followers, along with more niche players, such as Kari, with 43K followers, were two of 39 total creators. Each was tasked with streaming their gameplay on Twitch during the first four days following the game’s release, resulting in completely unique live streams, since players’ choices impact the storyline.
Across 38 live content pieces, the collaboration yielded 420,000 total live views, more than 131,000 total concurrent views, 149,000 total hours watched, and 215,000 total chat messages. One of the top gamers on Twitch, Sykkuno, came in with the most average concurrent views at 20,200. He alone had a total of 2,611,680 total minutes watched and the most chatters (unique messages)–over 15K.
The most surprising and powerful result, however, was the true passion that creators had for the game. BEN contracted creators to stream for two hours. But, completely of their own accord, more than 20 creators streamed for over five hours, delivering 2,600 minutes in added value time, which would have cost Square Enix more than $72,000. Lil_Lexi delivered the longest piece of content, streaming the game in full for over eight hours.
What drove this commitment to the collaboration? Creators reported an overwhelmingly positive experience working on the campaign, citing the inclusive nature of the game. “As a personal sentiment, thank you guys again for letting me do this,” creator Snake wrote after the campaign. “The series means a great deal to a big chunk of my little community, myself included, and being able to cover it this way makes it all the more special.”
Moving forward, Square Enix is interested in re-engaging some of the top creators from the “Life Is Strange: True Colors” launch for upcoming campaigns. The brand hopes to establish brand ambassadors and maintain strong creator relationships.