Which games are rising on the Twitch charts? Which titles are sliding? We bring you the hard numbers and reaction, every week, in the GAMESIGHT power rankings!
Note: The following rankings are based on a combination of both gross and percentage change to viewership and total streams. As such, dominant and stable titles near the top of the charts will not always, or often, appear. To compare to last week's rankings, click here.
The latest expansion of what remains the biggest digital collectible card game on Twitch was released on April 9th, and as you can see on the graph above, it immediately reinvigorated Hearthstone. 'Rise of Shadows' features 135 new collectible cards a brand new hero, and single-player content, and in the week of its release the title saw its total viewership increase by 146%, and the total number of streamers nearly double. It was the fifth most watched title overall.
We'll be talking in great detail about the digital collectible card game (DCCG) genre in the future, but for now we'll just note that Hearthstone's great success has been built upon moments like this. Content releases lie at the heart of the success of really any competitive title, but particularly for card games, and it's been an important part of the genre's success since the days when they were only played on table-tops. New cards, new systems, and new stories reinvigorate the game's community and bring everyone back to experience what's new and how it changes the dynamic of the game. Even for smaller titles, this serves as an illustrative example of just how important keeping your title fresh and active can be.
Last week, the beginning of "Stage 2" of the Overwatch League brought in an influx of viewers large enough to make it one of our fastest rising titles on Twitch. That upward trajectory continued, as the second week of competition continued to explode the game's numbers.
Overwatch was the ninth most watched title overall, this past week, seeing its total viewership rise by 56%, and, once again, even though the viewership is coming from official league streams, the title also saw a modest increase in total streamers, rising by 13%. We noted last week that this increase in streamers seems to be a pattern among competitive titles when they host major league events or tournaments, and it continued through this week. We've already spoken at great length regarding the overwhelming value an established competitive community presents, but let's be clear: when you successfully create a popular esports title, that game can last for a very, very long time. Overwatch is killing it, in that regard.
3. Escape from Tarkov
Escape from Tarkov is an interesting beast. A tactical shooter with multiplayer and RPG elements, the game has been available only through the developer's website, not yet seeing a release on any distribution platform. That lack of ubiquity across places like Steam, GoG, and the Epic Game Store typically severely limits a game's reach, particularly when its from a smaller developer or publisher.
But, the beta version of the game, what would be called "Early Access" if it was on Steam, saw a major update this week, and, in spite of the aforementioned challenges, it exploded in popularity on Twitch. Over the past week, the game's overall viewership increased by nearly 200%, and its total streamers increased by 45% to a total of 6912. This kind of attention is very impressive for a title that is still only available directly through the developer. Given that the team has stated they do intend to eventually get the title onto other platforms, this bodes very well for whenever it eventually is able to get into the hands of even more players and creators.
4. Rocket League
Rocket League, like Overwatch, has an intensely dedicated professional competitive community, and when league play begins, it leads to large increases in Twitch viewership. Week 1 of the Rocket League Championship Series, Season 7, began on April 6th, and as you can see above, the matches that took place over the next two days brought in big time numbers.
Viewership was up 70% for the week, and, once again, even though that viewership was primarily of the competition, it also led to an overall increase in total streamers. How much? You guessed it: 15% again. This number is popping up over and over as we look into competitive games featuring major tournaments or leagues. It's not just that people are excited to watch the event; it also legitimately draws in more players and creators, and in quantities that seem highly regular and predictable. Rocket League is yet another game that, in spite of its age, keeps coming back into the spotlight because it has such an intense following in the competitive gaming space. We're sure we'll continue to see it popping up as the season goes on.
5. Enter the Gungeon
In another example of new content drawing players back to an older game in droves, Enter the Gungeon released a new expansion this week, 'Farewell to Arms,' which features myriad new weapons and tools, new characters, a new game mode, and, most importantly, the ability to put your character's dog. The result was a 192% increase in total viewership and a 159% increase in total streamers, bringing the latter to 4544 creators.
Enter the Gungeon was released in 2016, but it still manages to find its way back up the Twitch charts because the team behind it has been constantly supporting it with new updates and patches. While this is reportedly the final major update for the game, the fact that it can still swing so strongly is a testament to not only the quality of the title itself, but the power of a team that is dedicated to consistent improvement and engagement with their own players. We see it again and again in our rankings, but it bares repeating: games with teams that listen to criticism and keep their title fresh stand the test of time.
Top New Releases
1. Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain
It was a relatively slow week for new releases; nothing overly anticipated or heavily promoted was in the rotation, so it was a collection of smaller titles that rose to the top, the most successful of them being Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain. A spin off the long-running series that's been around since 2003, this third-person shooter was released this week only on the PS4, and saw 145,470 hours of total viewership through over 1800 streams by 539 creators. This was good enough to make it the fastest growing new release on the platform, and represents a sizable community of creators for what is a more niche game that's exclusive to a single console. It's unclear if the title has more room to grow, without seeing release on more platforms, but, for now, the game is off to a great start, and it's likely a sign of healthy sales.
Pathway is a top-down strategy RPG adventure featuring pixel-style graphics and an "X-Com_esque" battle system. Released on April 11, the title saw just over 136,000 hours of viewership across 1550 streams on 578 channels. These are similar numbers to the game above, but as its not a console exclusive it likely is available to a wider audience of gamers, so it might have less room to grow. Still, this is an impressive debut for a surprise indie, and if larger streamers start giving it a shot it could continue to pick up steam. We're not certain that will happen, and it doesn't seem that resources are being put into incentivizing those larger creators, but still, this title is in a solid position at the conclusion of its first week, and the possibility for organic growth remains.
3. Weedcraft Inc.
It was only a matter of time before a game focused on the cannabis industry was made with enough polish and style to build a real audience, and now, after the past week, that game may have emerged. Weedcraft Inc. is a business management simulator that dives into the world of growing, manufacturing, and selling cannabis, combining many familiar mechanics and a somewhat unfamiliar context. From the date of its release on April 11 through the end of the week, the game was viewed for a total of 47,653 hours via 655 streams on 289 channels.
Is this enough to be convinced the game will see continued success moving forward? No. As you can see above, viewership primarily game in over the first two days, and quickly fell off thereafter. The possibility for the game to be picked up by other larger creators still exists, but it seems more likely that the novelty of the game's subject matter was the primary draw, and it wore off quickly as viewers and creators moved on. This may, indeed, be the go-to game for cannabis-business simulation for the foreseeable future, but we have our doubts that this will be enough to establish a consistent audience or community.
4. Falcon Age
Sometimes, even a really quick stream from a major creator can be enough, on its own, to rise a title into our rankings. Such is the case with Falcon Age, a PS4 exclusive title released on April 7th. As you can see above, that was really the only day that the game saw real viewership, and that's because it was played that day, just for an hour, by major creator Lirik. That single hour brought in 27,444 hours of the game's 30,533 hours of viewershership. So, while there were 83 other streamers who played the game this week, they had little to do with it making this week's top 5 new releases.
And, the fact that Lirik only played for an hour and then put it down doesn't bode well. For a title like this, which has not received much traditional marketing or attention, streams from larger creators are pivotal to making sure your potential audience can simply know the game is out there. Unless more creators are brought in, either organically or via sponsorship deals, that have more substantial audiences,we doubt we'll be seeing this title in our rankings again.
5. Vacation Simulator
Hey, hey! It's our first VR game! While Oculus continues to expand its player-base, the VR marketplace still represents a relatively small subsection of the gaming ecosystem. There are simply not enough players to get the kinds of sales or streaming numbers you see from traditional games. That being said, there is a dedicated community of VR gamers, streamers, and viewers, and this week they were able to get their hands on Vacation Simulator from Owlchemy Labs, creators of Job Simulator and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality. The result was over 15,000 hours of viewership across 154 streams by 107 creators.
Again, this is a relatively small release, if you're looking at a traditional game. But, VR can be so complicated to play, and it's infinitely more complicated to stream. This, for now, has meant that even the most popular VR games don't get much attention on Twitch. This title, though, saw strong enough numbers to make our list of the top 5 new releases, and that's a big accomplishment. As the VR space grows moving forward, it's likely that we'll see more and more creators and viewers gravitating to it in the streaming ecosystem. This is a fun little example to remember moving forward as the space continues to grow.
(Graphs in this section show previous two weeks, for context.)
1. Tropico 6
Tropico 6 was our top rising title last week, with the energy of its release, only a day before our rankings began, carrying it to a period of brilliant growth over its first seven days on Twitch. But, like most single-player games, that energy was not to last, and this week it saw a 45% reduction in total viewership and a 29% drop in total streamers.
This isn't a surprise. We always see larger single-player releases drop off after the first couple weeks on the platform, and a city building/management simulator always tends to thrive more based upon the dedication of its smaller, more focused audience than the initial burst of hype that comes from its release. Particularly for such an established IP, from a studio known for supporting their games with updates and patches, this drop off shouldn't be seen as cause for alarm. The audience should level off, and what remains will be a dedicated community of viewers and players who will keep the game alive moving forward.
2. Battlefield V
It just doesn't appear that the Battlefield V battle royale expansion, Firestorm, is holding players' or streamers' attention. After making our list of falling titles last week, the title once again saw contraction, with a 53% decrease in total viewership and a 19% drop in total streamers.
It's hard to say what's specifically gone wrong. It could be that they were simply too late in joining the battle royale genre, that the market was saturated and players were becoming disinterested. It could be that their version of a battle royale doesn't have enough to distinguish itself from other offerings. Regardless, it's clear that the initial explosion of streamers and players that came with the expansions release has all but completely died away. Hope were high, I'm sure, that it would keep Battlefield V relevant for a long time, but we've likely seen the last of it near the top of the charts.
The Epic Games Store exclusive from Coffee Stain, creators of Goat Simulator, lost nearly 58% of its overall viewership this week, and was streamed by 22% fewer creators. Those who remain still represent a healthy population of gamers and streamers; there were still 3508 channels hosting the title this past week. But, it would appear that the initial burst the game received upon release has somewhat died down, and a healthy portion of those who had adopted it have since moved on.
Now, this is an early access title that will continue to grow. More updates and expansions are no doubt coming, and the game will continue to see active support into the future, so there's less reason to be worried. If it normalizes where it is now, those creators represent a healthy foundation upon which to grow when future updates do, indeed, arrive. So, while it made our list of falling titles for the week, there are many reasons to be optimistic about the future of Satisfactory.
4. Devil May Cry 5
Devil May Cry 5's time as a top Twitch performer appears to finally be nearing its end. While it's made our list of falling titles in the past, it still had a healthy base of creators and viewers keeping it somewhat near the top of the charts, as you can see in the first half of the graph above. This past week, however, saw another steep drop off in production, with total viewership falling by another 55% and the game being hosted by 23% fewer creators. With daily peak viewership now dropping to approximately 1000 or lower, it would seem the game's time in the spotlight is well and truly over. Now, remember: this is not a sign that the game was a failure. On the contrary, all reports are that the game sold very well, and its time at the top of the Twitch charts was typical for a successful single-player story-driven title. Devil May Cry 5 might not be popular with streamers any longer, but it absolutely was a Twitch success story.
5. Miracle Snack Shop
This dating simulator/ visual novel was originally released at the end of last year, but, on April 1, a new update added additional content to the end of the game, and it resulted in a huge spike in Twitch viewership, which you can see above.
Visual novels released in the West are, in many ways, the most niche of single player titles, generally beloved by its own community, but not played or experienced much outside of that, within the more general gaming public. And, as we've always said, single player games have shorter lifespans on Twitch because the experience is somewhat finite. The story ends, and at that point the drive to play or watch tends to fall away. This is particularly true of visual novels, because the game is the story in a much more direct way. Once you, as a player or viewer, have gotten through to the end, the mystery is gone and there isn't much reason to keep playing. That's why the new update drew so many players in, but it's also why it didn't hold their attention for very long. Last week, the game saw a 88% decrease in total viewership and 43% fewer creators, all because those who had wanted to see what was new had already done so. This is an illustrative example of both how important new content can be for such a title, and how briefly the corresponding boost will last.
To compare to last week's rankings, click here, and be sure to check out our ongoing series breaking down Auto Chess. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for all the latest blogs, announcements, and game marketing news from the team at GAMESIGHT!