Twitch users have played (and beaten) a lot of video games together — like Pokémon Red and Dark Souls — and now they’re playing a game before anyone else.

Before Punch Club, a new fighting sim from Lazy Bear Games and TinyBuild, releases on PC (and then iOS and Android), Twitch users have to first beat it. Currently, around 400 people are playing Punch Club together on the livestreaming site, using hashtag comments to make decisions, and they’re about 31 percent of the way through. You can watch their progress here. As an added incentive to play, every time the in-game hero wins a fight, the TwitchPlaysPunchClub chat bot drops a redeemable Steam code for the full game into the live chat.

It’s an interesting way of getting attention in a crowded gaming market — 3,000 new titles released on the Steam store last year, and the Apple App Store and Google Play see hundreds of new releases every day. This unique launch concept is inspiring a wide range of reactions among gamers, though.

It’s unclear how long it will take Twitch to finish Punch Club completely — although most players do seem to be pretty together in their thoughts — and until that happens, the game won’t unlock to anyone who’s preordered it via Steam.

“I can’t decide if it’s a pretty fun idea or a terribly crippling bad one,” says Steam user Lygram.

Steam user Shinmai isn’t divided, though: “So people have preordered a game you have finished making, and instead of releasing it, you hold it hostage until a human-powered fuzzing-engine manages to RNG [random number generator] its way through the game, all the while handing out free copies of the game to people [enabling] this nonsense? Seems like a solid plan to [alienate] your demographic; good luck with that.”

But some people, like Track Baller 7, just see it as a fun piece of marketing: “I love it! I know the game will come out regardless of whether Twitch beats it. But still, this is a pretty unique way of launching something. Also see you giving out Steam Keys on Twitch, so naysayers on this comment board are just being boring.”


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