Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Faker may be a god at League of Legends, but that did not stop his teammates from dropping the ball over the weekend. In a shocking 0-3 loss, SKT1 was denied a Three-peat by Korean rivals Samsung Galaxy. Lead by their Mid-laner Crown and Jungler Ambition, Samsung Galaxy defied expectations and got their revenge.
Looking at the data, fans were clearly engaged by this year’s finals. Most categories were up slightly from the previous week (between 1-6%). However, Peak Concurrent Viewers surged 27% to reach 1.1M concurrents. That’s huge for both Twitch and Riot. Few streams have broken 1M concurrents on Twitch and it's only fitting to see LoL join that elite group.
Despite reaching this important milestone, most stats were down compared to the 2016 World Championships.
Total Hours Watched fell by 9%, Hours Streamed dropped by 12% and Average Concurrents sank by 10%. And perhaps most importantly, fans watched on average about an hour less this year compared to last.
Part of this is likely explained by the final series only going for 3 games instead of the full 5. Additionally, there is some good news. Unique viewers increased by 16% compared to the 2016 World Championships.
Fortnite has PUBG in its sights
Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably heard of PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS (PUBG) and its massive success. However, the steam on this hype train may be waning ever so slightly. While most metrics have remained roughly stable (±5%) from last week, the game has generally been trending downwards since late August.
And this isn’t the case for genre rival Fortnite. Epic’s take on the battle royale genre primarily differentiates itself through its cartoon-y visuals and less serious vibe and this appears to have captured gamers attention for now. For the last 6 weeks, Fortnite has slowly taken a foothold on Twitch. While the community is smaller (4.7M unique viewers watched Fortnite vs. 7.9M for PUBG), there is huge overlap between the two.
54% of Fortnite’s viewers (~1.4M viewers) also tuned into a PUBG stream in the last 6 weeks.
There are several potential reasons for Fortnite’s rise and PUBG’s decline, but the most likely explanation is the variety Fortnite offers to PUBG. While the team at Bluehole appears to be gearing up for the Xbox One X release due out in December, PC players seem to be starving for new features. The last major gameplay feature added to the game was first-person mode way back in July. Without major variety introduced since then, viewers and streamers may simply be getting bored and restless.
It’ll take more to topple the behemoth of PUBG, but for now players seem to be branching out and experimenting.
Finally, let's get to this week's biggest story.
Overwatch’s World Cup proves OWL’s Potential
Early November is always a massive time for Blizzard and their games. The company’s annual convention, Blizzcon, has traditionally been the home for their annual esports championships. Hearthstone performed well despite holding an invitational tournament rather than its championship, but it was not the main event.
With the Overwatch League’s January 10th start date looming, all eyes were on this year’s World Cup as a de facto pilot test. Armed with a slew of brand new spectating features and the world’s top talent, this past weekend was a critical test for the ambitions of Activision Blizzard and CEO Bobby Kotick.
So how did the hero shooter do?