[Editor’s Note: This article previously confused TinyBuild as the developer. This is not the case. They are, in fact the publisher. The developer is Lazy Bear games. Thank you, Dylan Coates for pointing this out.] Do you all remember Twitch Plays Pokemon, that phenomenon where the Twitch chat banded together to play a mighty game of Pokemon using nothing but text commands? Indie
Developer Publisher TinyBuild is using that exact same idea to market their upcoming game Punch Club and holding the release date “hostage” to encourage gamers to play. Sort of.
Punch Club is essentially a ‘Tycoon’ or Boxing Management style game while you train your character up in the ranks to win fights and enjoy the glory! Here’s the official synopsis from TinyBuild: “Your father was brutally murdered before your eyes. Now you must train hard, eat chicken and punch dudes in the face to earn your place in the Punch Club ranks, and discover who ended your father’s life.”
If that doesn’t sound specific enough, there’s good news! Twitch Plays Punch Club is now live, and after less than a day gamers are about 60% of the way through the game! Apparently this is quite the surprise to
the developers TinyBuild. “What’s remarkable is how organized the Twitch chat is playing Punch Club. They’re playing at the speed of an average player, which caught us by complete surprise. They are using all of the advanced tactics a normal player would, researching skill trees and figuring out what works for specific fights,” reads Tinybuild’s release. Whenever the chat wins a fight, the developers TinyBuild are dropping a Steam key into the chat. The viewership of the game also appears to be holding steady around 1,000 users.
If all of this sounds interesting to you, hop onto the Twitch chat and start playing! Announced earlier today, TinyBuild “won’t launch Punch Club until Twitch can beat it.” Well, that’s not entirely true. In a clarification on the Steam page, they do state that at the latest the game will launch January 25. Of course, many gamers took this concept as holding the game and their pre-orders hostage. “I’ve had the game sitting in my cart for over a day now, was prepared to purchase until this fiasco came up,” wrote EverDownward. Cactus Juggler wrote “This is kinda dumb… so you want to keep your costumers[sic] waiting? Or do you still work on the game, so that when “Twitch Beats the game”, it will be cut short on the development side?” Insert other gamers who absolutely don’t understand or enjoy the concept.
Here’s the deal, though: When the game was pre-ordered before today, there was no official release date. Today’s little ‘game’ IS the release date announcement. The release date is January 25 at the latest, though at this rate probably tomorrow or Saturday. It’s also a brilliant marketing strategy: There’s only so much you can gleam from game trailers and screenshots, so why not give the option to ‘play’ after a fashion and build up some hype? This is marketing, and as far as marketing goes, it’s pretty brilliant. Perhaps not quite communicated perfectly to begin with, but the concept is certainly in the right place. TinyBuild is known for its quirky titles and marketing, so honestly this whole concept fits in perfectly with their overall brand. I fully support the idea, and if you do as well, definitely give a watch!