The NBA 2K League debuted a new, interactive Twitch overlay for Thursday night’s stream, allowing viewers to check game stats, see play-by-play and compete in Twitch mini-games revolving around player performance, among other things.
Created by overlay developer Muxy, the overlay features an overhead ticker with scores from the week as well as the interactive sidebar. The sidebar features the following options:
- Loyalty points: A brief league explanation and overlay explainer, as well as a prompt to grant access to the Twitch extension in order to compete in leaderboard games
- Player boost: Allows viewers to select a player to “boost.” The player’s in-game performance gives the viewers points, which are tracked on the…
- Leaderboards: A global top-10 points ranking for users, with daily and year-to-date filters
- Quarterly polling: At the beginning of each quarter, viewers can guess which team will outperform its counterpart in various statistical categories such as blocks and 3-pointers. Correct predictions also factor into point rankings for the leaderboard.
- Play-by-play: A live play-by-play tracker of the game’s events
- Settings: Allows users to toggle the ticker and loyalty notifications on and off
- Two team blocks: The teams playing the current game each have a block that users can click to see a pull-up box of the roster, team stats and player stats. Users can access other team’s blocks, including those not playing in the current game, from the arrow at the top of the block
The overlay is a tremendous addition to the league broadcast and probably the most significant broadcast improvement since the beginning of the season. Muxy has worked with companies like Ubisoft and games such as Overwatch, but more importantly developed a similar overlay for the NBA G League. The NBA 2K League approached Muxy about repurposing the overlay for the 2K League after the G League season ended on April 12.
While the leaderboard and points system were mostly unworkable at the beginning of the stream, the developers quickly fixed the issues by the end of the first game. They also quickly resolved an issue wherein viewers needed to refresh the stream in order for the sidebar to refresh matchups.
The point incentives are fun and refreshing, and they serve as an engaging reason for viewers to stick around throughout the stream. The pop-ups are a little slow, but they’re a positive reinforcement for viewers and an enjoyable mini-game to play during the league’s gameplay.
The player stats are another important addition, allowing users to view a team’s roster, stats and record without having to look outside the stream. The overlay does a clever job of highlighting team and player advantages in certain statistics. It needs some correction still: only season one players have a listed date of birth and age, and their season stats are from last season (rookies have the correct season stats). Countries are attributed only to season one players as well, and some—for example, Dropoff, from Canada—are incorrectly listed or not listed at all. Team cards have the incorrect positions—Dayfri, for example, is listed as a point guard—most of which are drafted positions rather than in-game positions.
The play-by-play box still needs a little work. When called up, it’s certainly up-to-date and informative. It does not automatically update, however, instead requiring the viewers to close and reopen the window. The box also takes up a significant, important portion of the screen, and the user can’t move the box in order to better see the action.
Overall, the new ticker and sidebar are a phenomenal, much-needed addition to the league’s broadcast. The league already held around 2,000 more viewers on Twitch than their average viewers from last month. Correlation isn’t causation, but it’s safe to say that the new overlay played a part in holding more viewers. This is an excellent, imperative step forward from the league that still has room for improvement.