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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
You Can Thank One of the Most Unique Tournaments in Esports for Dota 2’s Rise
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
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?
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.