Twitch Top 10: Week of December 11th

By Feature Writer Jordan Fragen

TNL Take: Welcome back! This is The Next Level’s take behind the key storylines behind the Top 10 Games on Twitch. Last week we looked at the reasons why fans flocked back to PUBG, the explosive growth in Hearthstone viewers after the release of the game’s latest expansion, and how CWL launched Call of Duty: WWII back into the top 10 for the first week since it launched in November.

Now, let’s explore the top headlines from the week of December 11th through the 17th.

Twitch Top 10 Week of Dec 11th: DotA 2, Overwatch and PUBG (Chart: Waypoint Media)

Twitch Top 10 Week of Dec 11th: DotA 2, Overwatch and PUBG (Chart: Waypoint Media)

Thank you once again to our data partner, Waypoint Media. They are the leader in esports and gaming audience data. They support clients like Nielsen in their efforts to understand the esports audience. Reach them at info@waypointmedia.com.


You Can Thank One of the Most Unique Tournaments in Esports for Dota 2’s Rise

Behind the scenes at the 8th Dota 2 Summit (Photo: Beyond the Summit)

Behind the scenes at the 8th Dota 2 Summit (Photo: Beyond the Summit)

Dota 2’s community continues to be one of the most unique in esports. Despite the attention the International brings every July, the game tends to remain in League of Legends’ shadow for the rest of the year, particularly when it comes to viewership on Twitch. It also remains uniquely dominated by international viewership as we pointed out in a previous Twitch Top 10.

However, this week saw a modest rise in hours and placement for Valve’s MOBA. Compared to the previous week, Dota 2 saw a 6% increase in Total Hours Watched and moved up a place. More importantly, there was a 231% increase in Peak Viewership and an 85% increase in Unique Viewers reached from last week.

So where did this influx of new viewers come from?

This weekend saw the 8th installment of the DOTA Summit from organizers Beyond the Summit. Rather than mimic the glitz and stadium-filling crowds esports has grown used to, BtS bucks this trend and instead holds all of their tournaments in a house with all players sleeping over. The goofiness doesn’t stop there. In addition to hard hitting esports action, fans are treated to skits and board games featuring their favorite players.

This unique take on an esports tournament serves to better humanize the players and show of their personalities. The numbers add support to this, showing the power this format has to draw in casual fans.

 

Overwatch Draws Fans Back After the Preseason Exodus

Overwatch League's Preseason drew viewers to Activision-Blizzard owned MLG.tv (Photo: OWL)

Overwatch League's Preseason drew viewers to Activision-Blizzard owned MLG.tv (Photo: OWL)

In a move that surprised almost no one, Blizzard has decided to remain protective of the Overwatch League and only air OWL games on Activision-Blizzard owned MLG.tv for the preseason. While this move makes tracking accurate data for the preseason games (and presumably the season once it starts) difficult, we can extrapolate how successful Blizzard was in migrating the audience over to its other platforms based on this week’s Twitch data.

Compared to last week, Overwatch saw a 21% increase in Total Hours Watched, a 12% increase in Hours Streamed, a stunning 325% increase in peak concurrents, a 110% increase in Unique viewers and a marginal 4% increase in hours consumed per unique viewer. The only stat that fell was average concurrent viewers (a drop of 43%) presumably due to viewers spreading out their viewing across multiple channels.

While it will be difficult to quantify just how many viewers Blizzard managed to drive to MLG.tv, the trends clearly point to a massive surge in viewership back to Twitch now that there is a lull in OWL content.

 

PUBG’s Biggest Star is Taking a Break. Has His Absence Affected Viewership?

Dr. Disrespect's Indefinite Absence Could Have Lasting Consequences on PUBG Viewership (Photo: Aftonbladet)

Dr. Disrespect's Indefinite Absence Could Have Lasting Consequences on PUBG Viewership (Photo: Aftonbladet)

Last week, PUBG managed to reclaim some of its dominance in the Battle Royale genre. With newcommer Fortnite looking to innovate in the nascent genre, PUBG needed new content to reignite viewer interest.

With the new desert map and the soft launch onto Xbox One, PUBG managed to reclaim some ground in the on-going Battle Royale war. However, fans were hit with a bombshell this week that could see long lasting consequences in Twitch viewership.

Dr. Disrespect shocked fans this week by streaming out of character, admitting to marital infidelity and announcing a break from streaming to work on these problems.

With the game’s biggest star out of the running, how did it affect PUBG’s viewership?

PUBG saw a 16% decrease in Total Hours Watched this week but saw a huge increase of 69% in Unique Viewers Reached. While Shroud continues to be the go-to streamer for PUBG, Dr. Disrespect drove over 400K Hours watched and over 690K unique viewers.

 

So for now, the answer seems to be no but next week will more accurately foreshadow the impact of the Doc’s absence from the scene.

Twitch Top 10 Week of Dec 4th: PUBG, Hearthstone and Call of Duty

TWITCH TOP 10 WEEK OF DEC 4TH: PUBG, HEARTHSTONE AND CALL OF DUTY 

Call of Duty World League in Dallas (Photo: MLG)

Call of Duty World League in Dallas (Photo: MLG)

By Feature Writer Jordan Fragen

TNL Take: Welcome back! This is The Next Level’s take behind the key storylines behind the Top 10 Games on Twitch. Last week, we looked at Fortnite’s trajectory in overcoming PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, predicted the imminent rise of Hearthstone and followed up on the lasting effects of the Overwatch League.

Now, let’s explore the top headlines from the week of December 4th through the 10th.

Twitch Top 10 Week of Dec 4th: PUBG, Hearthstone and Call of Duty (Chart: Waypoint Media)

Twitch Top 10 Week of Dec 4th: PUBG, Hearthstone and Call of Duty (Chart: Waypoint Media)

Thank you once again to our data partner, Waypoint Media. They are the leader in esports and gaming audience data. They support clients like Nielsen in their efforts to understand the esports audience. Reach them at info@waypointmedia.com.


PUBG’s New Map is Luring Back Lapsed Viewers… Right?

Last week this column detailed the stagnation of PlayerUnknown’s Battleground’s viewership and subsequent rise of its rival Fortnite.

However, things have changed dramatically since then.

Following a surprise reveal at Friday’s Game Awards, PUBG’s new map dropped just a few hours after the first footage debuted.

Fans have since flocked back to the game to explore the new content. And of course, the viewership followed. PUBG saw a boost to every stat we track compared to last week. From a 28% rise in Total Hours Watched, a 29% increase in average concurrents, and a 23% increase in Unique Viewers, PUBG roared back to life in the last week.

However, not all of this should be attributed to the game’s new content. In fact, the largest boost to PUBG’s numbers this week was the official BlueHole and Twitch sponsored PUBG Winter Charity Invitational that featured teams of the game’s top streamers.

Perhaps most notable about this tournament is that fans elected to watch the personal feeds of their favorite personalities rather than the official tournament stream. Anecdotally, I tuned in to C9 Shroud’s stream (like most others considering his peak concurrents topped out at nearly 113K, the highest for a single channel this week) while listening to the caster audio from the official tournament stream.

To put this into perspective, the most recent major PUBG tournament was IEM Oakland. It’s peak concurrent viewership topped out just under 91K, 22K fewer than Shroud saw during this week’s tournament stream.

New Map? Who Cares? C9 Shroud’s Tournament Run Drove Similar Viewership (Photo: Shroud’s YouTube)

New Map? Who Cares? C9 Shroud’s Tournament Run Drove Similar Viewership (Photo: Shroud’s YouTube)

This is additional evidence that much of PUBG’s success is due to the personalities it has managed to attract.

 

Hearthstone’s Expansion Drives an 80% Increase in Viewership

Last week, we predicted an imminent surge in Hearthstone Viewership. And wow, we were right.

Compared to the previous week, Hearthstone saw:

  • 80% more Hours Watched
  • 38% more Hours Streamed
  • 81% increase in Average Concurrent Viewers
  • 154% increase in Peak Concurrent Viewers
  • 38% increase in Unique Viewers Reached
  • Nearly an extra hour watched per viewer

However, we can’t jump to conclusions too quickly. As we pointed out last week, Hearthstone’s popularity on Twitch is highly cyclical and generally concentrated around expansion releases.

So how did this expansion compare to the last?

When compared to the week of the Knights of the Frozen Throne release, Hearthstone saw:

  • 19% increase in Total Hours Watched
  • 15% more Hours Streamed
  • 3% more Average Concurrent Viewers
  • 14% increase in Unique Viewers Reached
  • 5% more time watched per viewer on average

Now that’s a big buff.

Add this to the ever expanding list of reasons to keep an eye on Blizzard’s stock in the coming month.

 

CWL Dallas Propels Call of Duty: WWII into 10th

Players and Crew Clearing the CWL Dallas Venue (Photo: MLG)

Players and Crew Clearing the CWL Dallas Venue (Photo: MLG)

As the first major tournament following Call of Duty: WWII’s release, fans were prepared for some chaos at CWL Dallas but nobody could have been prepared for everything that happened. After receiving a bomb threat early Friday, Dallas police rushed to evacuate the CWL venue in the middle of the tournament. After several hours of delays, matches were postponed until the following morning.

Somehow, MLG squeezed a massive 3 day affair into 2 and Team Kaliber walked away with the grand prize.

Despite the compressed stream, CWL managed to pull in enough viewers to secure the #10 spot on our list. Unlike the PUBG Winter Invitational, Call of Duty’s official tournament streams accounted for the vast majority of the viewership. 

CWL’s 3 channels accounted for over 80% of all hours spent watching Call of Duty: WWII in the last week. To put this into perspective, Riot’s official channel aired the League of Legends All Stars event this weekend and only captured a measly 14% of all League of Legends hours watched during the week. Note that this viewership doesn't include MLG.com.

That’s an insane level of engagement that only serves to show the dedication of the Call of Duty community.

Twitch Top 10 Week of Nov 6th: League Stays On Top

TWITCH TOP 10 WEEK OF NOV 6TH: LEAGUE STAYS ON TOP

Doublelift Back and Boosting the League Numbers (Photo: CLICKON eSports)

Doublelift Back and Boosting the League Numbers (Photo: CLICKON eSports)

By Feature Writer Jordan Fragen

TNL Take: Welcome back! Every week, The Next Level dives into the past week’s Top 10 Games on Twitch to bring you the key storylines behind the data. Last week, we dove into the League of Legends World Championship, the potential cracks in PUBG’s armor, and whether Overwatch’s World Cup pointed to success for OWL.

Twitch Top 10: Week of Nov 6th (Infographic: Waypoint Media)

Twitch Top 10: Week of Nov 6th (Infographic: Waypoint Media)

Waypoint Media is the leader in Esports and gaming audience data. They support clients like Nielsen in their efforts to understand the Esports audience. Reach them at info@waypointmedia.com.


Worlds Maybe Over, but League Stays on Top

Frankly it was initially surprising to see League hold the top spot in such dominant fashion. Despite being the first week of the official off-season, League of Legends was watched for almost double the amount of hours of PUBG despite the fact that both games were streamed for roughly the same number of hours.

However the data suggests that the offseason itself is responsible for League of Legend’s dominance. The majority of the streamers responsible for the most viewer hours were pros. Out of the top 10 channels, 8 were current or former pros.

Pros Streaming League of Legends (Graphic: Waypoint Media)

Pros Streaming League of Legends (Graphic: Waypoint Media)

Without Worlds keeping fans up at all hours of the night and pros regaining some free time, fans flocked to their favorite personalities in droves. Alone, these 8 top channels associated with pros earned over 5.9M viewer hours, nearly ⅓ of all the hours fans spent watching League of Legends in the last week.

Beyond showing the importance of players’ personalities, this data shows that esports provide a meaningful platform for talent discovery. Imaqtpie, Yoda, Dyrus, and Shiphtur are all former LCS stars, but have turned that success into a second career of streaming. In fact, 3 of these 4 all belong to Echo Fox’s memtastic challenger series team Delta Fox. The team’s stated strategy was to acquire the top streaming talent for their challenger roster so it would generate meaningful revenue. Given that these stars are still pulling in the number, it seems to have paid off.

 

Overwatch League’s Momentum Carried Over Another Week

In last week’s article, we discussed the importance of Overwatch’s viewership during the World Cup. Many looked to it as a barrometer for the league’s potential audience. While the numbers were not outstanding, they certainly helped to clam some of my fears about Overwatch League.

Perhaps more importantly, the excitement about the World Cup and Overwatch League appears to have carried over into this week. Despite all metrics falling from last week (except for hours streamed which rose 20%), the more important comparison is to the weeks before the World Cup.

When compared to the averages for the 4 weeks leading into the World Cup, this week saw a 45% increase in Viewer Hours, a 22% increase in Hours Streamed, a 25% increase in Average Concurrent Viewers, and a 35% increase in Unique Viewers. These numbers are still nowhere close to League, but they are the significant boost that Overwatch sorely needed.

If this becomes a trend rather than a one off boost, Overwatch League may have an extremely bright future ahead of it.

 

Dota 2 Shows the Importance of Knowing Your Audience

This year marks the start of Valve’s Dota 2 Pro Circuit which is designed to bring more organization and stability to the game. Despite this being an off-week without a major or a minor tournament, the game’s viewership held strong. Compared to last week, Viewer Hours increased 16%, Hours Streamed increased 17%, Average Concurrents increased 11%, and Unique Viewers increased 13%. The only drop was 22% lower peak concurrent viewership, but that is to be expected in a week without a tournament.

What is unexpected however, is where those numbers originated from. Unlike every other game on this list (except current obscure indie hit of the week Get Over It), the predominant language for Dota 2 was not English.

44% of the hours viewed were from Russian speaking channels. Russian channels also held their audiences attention for an average of 55 minutes longer than English channels.

While this may be unsurprising to some, it does point to the importance of looking at the metrics holistically. Should marketers want to reach an Eastern European audience, Dota 2 is currently their best bet.