Which games have the most watched eSports scenes on Twitch? Check out our rankings to find out.
Esports communities and the games they play account for a large percentage of the content consumed on Twitch. Every week, official leagues, tournaments, and competitions bring in huge viewership numbers and raise titles to the top of the Twitch charts, but figuring out just how successful a game’s competitive scene has been can be incredibly complicated. Twitch itself doesn’t distinguish between competitive and creative streams, which means all of the data regarding which esports communities are the most active on the platform is either buried deeply within streaming metrics or non-existent.
That’s why we decided to do it ourselves.
Below, you’ll find our breakdown of the top ten performing esports titles on Twitch for the month of September 2019, along with analysis of each game’s competitive scene. Keep reading to get the complete picture of just who is rising and falling in the world of eSports. To compare to last month's numbers, click here.
1. Dota 2
Total Esports Viewership: 11,604,022 Hours
Major Events: MDL Chengdu Major, DOTA Summit 11
Heading into the heart of winter, many esport leagues and circuits are going through their offseason schedules, something reflected in Twitch’s overall esports viewership, which has decreased somewhat steadily since the end of the summer. In that context, it’s the games that have established the most diverse and international community of esports organizations that manage to still rise to the top of the charts. This was on full display in November, during which the MDL Chengdu Major, held from November 16th through the 24th, pulled in a large enough audience to make Dota 2 the most watched esport of the month.
The Dota 2 Pro Circuit’s 2018/2019 season culminated in August’s ‘The International’ tournament, but a competitive community as vast as this needs most of the calendar year to fit in all the different tournaments necessary to whittle it down for the finals, so here we are, three months later, and the first major of the new season, organized by Chinese tournament brand the ‘Mars Dota 2 League,’ was by far the most watched esports event on Twitch for the month, accruing over 10 million hours of total viewership. Dota 2 has been a mainstay in the world of competitive gaming for a very long time, and in that time it has established itself in essentially every relevant international market. Months like this are the product of that work, and serve as an example of just how successful a title’s esports community can become.
2. League of Legends
Total Esports Viewership: 11,207,764
Major Events: 2019 World Championship, Twitch Rivals LoL
League of Legends dominated October’s rankings thanks to its 2019 World Championships, which collectively amounted to the single most watched esports event since we began our rankings this past summer. That event, though, extended beyond October, with its knockout stage extending into the first three days of November, and its finals finally being held on the tenth. These three days were overwhelmingly responsible for the majority of the title’s official esports viewership for the month, which just barely came in a step behind Dota 2 to bring it the number two spot in our November rankings.
As we discussed above, some of the biggest competitive leagues and organizations are currently going through offseason or early-season schedules. The League of Legends Worldships were very well timed, in that it had no other similar title’s end-of-season events with which to compete. That scheduling decision, whether it be on the part of Riot Games, or other titles simply not wanting to compete with LoL, is a big part of what led to the previous month’s ridiculous numbers, and that success continues into our November rankings. It will be interesting to see how it performs next month, moving into its own offseason events.
Total Esports Viewership: 9,852,041 Hours
Major Events: BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen, DreamHack Winter 2019, Esports Championship Series Season 8 - Finals, ESL Pro League, CS:GO Asia Championships 2019
Our number two title for the month of October, CS:GO drops only one spot in this months rankings in spite of accruing nearly 15 million fewer hours of total viewership. The ESL Pro League, which began on October 8th, extended its regular season up through the eighteenth of November, but it was the BLAST Pro Series: Copenhagen event, held over the first two days of the month, that was responsible for the largest portion of this month’s competitive Twitch viewership, and indeed was the only pair of days during which the game reached over 200,000 concurrent viewers.
CS:GO, however, enjoys one of the most diverse communities of competitive event organizers in the esports space, as evidenced by additional still-significant sources of viewership throughout the month. PGL hosted the CS:GO Asia Championships in Shanghai from November 20th through the 24th, while the DreamHack Winter Open and ECS Season 8 Championships both took place over the month’s final days, which also saw the title reach its three highest peaks in concurrent viewers, after the first two days mentioned above.
Month to month, few titles enjoy the consistency that CS:GO has managed to achieve, in terms of its competitive scene’s presence on Twitch. Even when viewership is down overall, it still manages to find its way into the top five, in every iteration of our rankings. Mark this down as another one for the books.
Total Esports Viewership: 8,898,979 Hours
Major Events: Fortnite Championship Series: Chapter 2, Season 1
Just behind CS:GO is Fortnite, which, at just under 9 million hours of esports viewership, is the fourth and final title of the month to accrue more than 2.5 million such hours. While it remains the most streamed title on Twitch by a staggering margin -- its 231,707 active streamers last week was nearly 2.5 times the 90,446 of the next title, League of Legends -- its viewership is still skewed primarily towards personalities than it is professional competitors and leagues. The Fortnite World Cup this past July was the titles first major step into that space, and this month saw another major step with the beginning of ‘Chapter 2 - Season 1’ of the Fortnite Championship Series.
Available to every player who has reached Champion League in the game’s Arena Mode, the competition saw teams of four fighting over four weekly stages, with the top teams from each week, and the eventual points leaders, invited to the finals this December. Because it involved any qualifying players, and not just professional competitors, you can actually see the competition’s impact on the game’s overall number of streamers, visible below.
As you can see, streamership spiked every weekend, when the competition was live. The same cannot be said of viewership, however, as the 9 million hours of competitive viewership pales in comparison to the game’s nearly 58 million total hours viewed for the month, making its impact on the total numbers far less pronounced.
The Fortnite team is earnestly trying to make esports a core component of the game’s community, offering serious prizes and pulling in major viewership numbers. We look forward to seeing how they continue to support its growth moving forward.
5. Rocket League
Total Esports Viewership: 2,384,945 Hours
Major Events: Rivals Series, Championship Series, Grand Series League Play, LPL Oceanic Championship
Rocket League has quietly carved out a substantial niche for itself in the competitive space, and this month marks its third consecutive appearance in our rankings on the continued strength of league play in South America (Grand Series League), Oceania (LPL Oceanic Championship), and North America (Rocket League Championship Series and Rivals Series). Unlike some of the other titles on this list, competitions actually accounted for a significant portion of the game’s overall presence on Twitch, with 42% of the title’s Twitch viewership coming from the various leagues listed above.
You can see the individual days of competition in the graph of the title’s total Twitch viewership, above. We discussed last month the unique strategy Rocket League employs in scheduling its competitions, wherein the various international leagues host matches at the same time, creating “game days” each weekend. Its continued presence in the top ten, in spite of its relatively slight overall presence on Twitch, is further evidence it’s been a smart decision.
6. Starcraft II
Total Esports Viewership: 2,380,806 Hours
Major Events: WCS Global Finals, HomeStory Cup XX, NationWars 2019
The Starcraft II World Championship Series Global Finals began on October 24th and culminated on November first, which was by far the most title’s biggest day on Twitch for the month, wherein it reached a peak of over 70,000 concurrent viewers. This was followed by the NationWars 2019’s ‘round of sixteen’ stage from November 12th through 17th, a French competition held in Paris, and then thenovel HomeStory Cup XX event from November 21st through the 24th, which took place in Berlin. Last month, the WCS finals proved that the highest level of Starcraft II competition is still relevant in the growing world of esports. This month, we saw just how diverse the competitive community has become, even beyond the title’s primary league, featuring a robust ecosystem of event organizers and competitions. Nearly a decade into its lifespan, it remains an impressive accomplishment.
7. Rainbow Six: Siege
Total Esports Viewership: 1,619,236 Hours
Major Events: Pro League Season 10 Finals, OGA PIT Season 3
Season ten of the Rainbow Six Pro League came to a conclusion on November ninth and tenth, as the regular season’s eight best teams gathered in Tokoname, Japan, with the EU’s Natus Vincere taking home the top prize. These were by far the most productive days for the title, overall, on Twitch, reaching peak concurrent viewership just below, and then just above, 70,000 audience members during a month in which the next best performing day saw a peak of approximately 27,000 viewers. This was the primary source of esports viewership for the month, the only other substantial event being the qualifiers for One Game Agency’s PIT Season 3 competition. Rainbow Six: Siege may not be one of the biggest games in the space, but its dedicated community has made it one of the most consistent. It’s made every set of rankings we’ve created since the beginning of the summer, which is an accomplishment in and of itself.
Total Esports Viewership: 1,598,093 Hours
Major Events: Overwatch World Cup
The Overwatch World Cup was held on November first and second, featuring national teams from ten different countries competing in Anaheim for their share of a $90,000 prize pool and bragging rights. It accounted for the game’s two biggest days of the month on Twitch, with it reaching peaks of nearly 200,000 viewers and 140,000 on the first and second days, respectively. The next best performance of the month was just under 80,000. The team at Blizzard is working hard to maintain activity within the competitive community during the OWL’s offseason, and this event may have been brief, but it was also very successful. Landing in the top ten is a well earned reward.
Total Esports Viewership: 1,451,796 Hours
Major Events: Grandmasters Tour Global Finals, Battlegrounds Brawl Final Showdown, Collegiate Championship
The Hearthstone GrandMasters global finals were held in Anaheim on November first and second, pitting eight of the best players in the world against each other for their share of a $500,000 prize pool and the first championship of this new premier level of Hearthstone competition. With over 26 million total hours of viewership for the month, it’s clear that the title’s massive Twitch presence doesn’t rely upon official competitions to remain on top, but that doesn’t mean that the competitive scene isn’t alive and kicking. Hearthstone remains the most watched collectible card game on Twitch, a position it’s held for a long time, and one that doesn’t show any signs of changing. Competitions are an integral component which has kept the community engaged.
10. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Total Esports Viewership: 820,621 Hours
Major Events: Code Red Tournament
The latest entry in the Call of Duty franchise makes its debut in our esports rankings thanks to the Code Red 2v2 tournament hosted by BoomTV and ZippoGaming. The field of competitors included some of the biggest names in streaming, including Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and Guy “Dr. Disrespect” Beahm, and the result was nearly a million hours of viewership for the one day event, enough to land the game in this month’s final spot. For a relatively new title without an established league or tournament system, this is a stellar performance, particularly for a one-off event. Call of Duty may be one of the most important franchises for the development of competitive multiplayer gaming over the last decade, or so, but it hasn’t lately established itself as a force in the world of esports. It remains to be seen whether this can change thanks to the latest entry, but this is a great first foray into the space.
Be sure to check out last month's rankings for comparison, our weekly Twitch rankings, and to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for all the latest blogs, announcements, and game marketing news from the team at GAMESIGHT!