Top-5 on Twitch: Rising and Falling 3/9-3/15
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!
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.
Top-5 Rising Games
1. The Division 2
Gamers are more than willing to let you know when your game isn’t meeting expectations. Titles like Fallout 76 have suffered through mountains of negative criticism and poor reviews because they weren’t perceived to have delivered on the promises of their marketing and the history of the game’s IP. That’s why it’s impressive that players seem to be so pleased with the release state of The Division 2.
Publications are praising the game’s refreshingly satisfying loot system, exploration, and overall improvement over its predecessor. Most of all, though, people are pleasantly surprised at how ready the game feels. One of the biggest challenges looters and other online experiences tend to face is that development goes more into the creation of the game’s systems than a “finished product.” Too often, these titles are unrecognizable a year after release because of the myriad quality of life, gameplay changes, and improvements necessary to get the game to how it “should” be. Players are used to seeing initial releases as more of a foundation for the game that’s yet to come. Not so with The Division 2.
All of this has added up to a huge release for the game in terms of its presence on Twitch. From first getting into the hands of those who purchased the Gold and Ultimate editions on March 11th to the end of the week, the title was viewed for a total 5.53 million hours via 185,240 streams across a whopping 37,526 channels, averaging over 30,000 viewers at any given time. And its arrow is still pointing up, as its momentum is carrying it to the top of the looter genre. In a year of complicated, sometimes failed releases for always-online products, The Division 2 is managing to learn the lessons of its predecessors and put itself in an ideal position to top the charts for a long time. Other publishers and studios take note: this is how you do it right.
2. Grand Theft Auto V
The team behind Grand Theft Auto Online has done an incredible job over the last few years making sure there were always new events and vehicles and game modes to keep the community engaged and satisfied. The most recent is a motorcycle themed event called “Biker Week,” which includes a new Tron-esque light-cycle battle mode called Deadline. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s absolutely drawn players back in… but it’s not what raises it towards the top of this week’s rankings.
After not putting significant time into the game during previous weeks, streamers Summit1g, Sodapoppin, and LIRIK accounted for a collective 5.5 million hours of viewership, more than half of the week’s increase, over 22 GTA streams. And, in looking at their streams, we find they weren’t even engaging with the new content, but rather simply dropping back in with their friends. In total, the title accrued 12.4 million hours of viewership across 90,402 streams on 25,736 channels, combining the natural boost of fresh content with the unpredictable return of huge creators to the game. There aren’t many games that have the replayability, the community, or the ongoing support that match what GTA Online has managed to build. One of the big reasons it’s the most profitable single piece of media ever created.
3. Path of Exile
It was our top game in last week’s rankings, and it returns again based on the continued growth and success of the title’s latest free expansion: Synthesis. Averaging nearly 28,000 viewers, the title has been viewed a total of 5.24 million hours across 89,338 streams on 10,217 channels.
You can see last week’s article for more in depth discussion, but, in short, this is an example of what happens when you create a satisfying free-to-play game and support it, properly, for the long haul. This title is more than half a decade old, but it has such a dedicated community of players that it still maintains a strong hold on Twitch every time new content drops, and that content comes often enough to keep everyone engaged and excited. It, of course, doesn’t hurt that the game is a lot of fun to play, and that will always be the most important factor, but Path of Exile is and has always been an object lesson in putting yourself in the best position to succeed long term.
The Epic Games Store exclusive ended its closed alpha on March 12th, in anticipation of releasing to early access on the 19th, but it still managed to attract enough attention over the first half of the week to make it into our rankings. Across 15,308 streams on 3,901 channels, Satisfactory was viewed for a total of 1.2 million hours.
There’s a few things at play here. First of all, the game is well built for streaming; it’s an open, construction-oriented sandbox built on a foundation of creativity, letting each player approach tasks in their own way. It’s got that Minecraft thing going on, where people have similar goals, but everyone who plays is going to build a different machine, a different building, from different parts. That kind of openness and experimentation is ideal for getting a chat involved in the stream, for fostering a sense of interaction and connection with your audience. But, there’s also the fact that this was a closed alpha, meaning most of the people watching weren’t able to play the game themselves. Were they watching out of curiosity? Were they getting excited, building anticipation to get their hands on the game themselves?
One more, we’re in a place where we’re not sure what comes next, but we’re fascinated to see how it plays out. With the title releasing to early access this week, we’ll be watching closely to see if this excitement translates to a large streamer-base and healthy viewership on Twitch. There should be a lot to learn no matter how it plays out.
5. Pathfinder: Kingmaker
Here, we see the incredible impact a single streamer can have on a game’s Twitch audience, its streamer-base, and its player-base. There was no new update for Pathfinder this week. No new localization opening it to a different region, no substantial sale or giveaway that I could find. And yet, it find itself as the last our our top games for the week, being featured in 893 streams across 174 channels while accruing 234,713 hours of viewership. Almost all of those hours were on the channel of big-time creator CohhCarnage. He single-handedly made it one of the fastest rising games of the week.
But, what’s interesting is that there was also a substantial increase in streams. None had anywhere near the reach of Cohh, but the number of creators playing the game on Twitch nearly doubled for the week. Can we directly attribute that to the size of the aforementioned leader’s audience? Not definitively. But, it speaks to the possibility that, even when your viewership is coming from a single creator, it can still do an enormous amount for your game. More people were likely streaming because more people were playing the game, more people were interested, and that’s likely a result of Cohh’s viewers getting a chance to experience the title with him. Often times, when a single creator changes a game’s position on Twitch like this, we tend to discount it as more of a fluke, less of an indicator of change or improved health. But, it’s still a huge deal to get your game in front of that many potential players. It’s important to remember just how much power a single creator can have.
Top-5 New Releases
1. Mortal Kombat 11 (Closed Stress Test)
The latest entry in one of gaming’s most historically important franchises isn’t due to hit until April, but its closed “Stress Test,” which began on the final day of this past week, drew enormous viewership numbers on Twitch, enough to make it the fastest rising new title on the platform.
During that one day, MK11 was streamed 1,119 times across 445 channels, reaching an average of 6711 viewers for a total of 174,678 hours. This was a closed experience, available to a limited number of people, and showing off only a small handful of characters, but is reached as high as 13 on the total Twitch charts. People are hungry for this game, be they fighting game enthusiasts, ready to dive in to a new eSports opportunity, or just fans of the IP, which has been more and more focused on building narrative as time has gone on. With just the stress test getting this kind of attention, it’s a very positive sign for the game’s future. We’re looking forward to seeing its community grow through the next beta, and finally when the game hits shelves in a little over a month.
2. Kageroh: Shadow Corridor
Dark, eerie, menacing survival horror experiences are typically big hits on Twitch, and this randomized single-player scare-factory has been no exception. During its first week on the platform, the title was viewed for a total of 283,491 hours across 704 streams. Interestingly, though the title was released with English menus and subtitles, most of its viewership was accrued on channels featuring Korean-speaking creators. Korean subtitles and menus are available too, but only Japanese audio is currently included in the game, which makes it all the more interesting. Clearly, there was a healthy appetite for this kind of experience, a horror experience steeped in Japanese horror tropes, amongst Korean streamers, and it was enough to make it one of the most watched new releases on Twitch for the week. Will this continue during the weeks ahead? Will the English speaking audience find it as well? We’ll have to check back in soon.
3. Auto Chess (New Classification)
Every now and then, a custom mod or map blasts off into popularity and begets what is really an entirely new game. DOTA itself was originally a mod created for Warcraft III, and that eventually led to the birth of the entire MOBA genre. We might be seeing something similar grow out of this custom map for Dota 2, which this week was given its own classification on Twitch and, thus, is eligible for our list of the fastest rising new games on the platform.
While many, even most, continue to stream Auto Chess under the main Dota 2 banner, 466 channels took advantage, this week, of its presence as a unique title, drawing 286,718 hours of total viewership. Meanwhile, Dota 2 was the fourth most watched game on the platform overall, and there’s no telling how many of those streams and viewership hours were devoted to Auto Chess. It’s absolutely a substantial amount. As time goes on, it will be interesting to see how many creators begin to label their streams with this new classification, and just how big Auto Chess can thus become. Will in span an entire new genre, like those mods and maps that came before it? Only time will tell, but, for now, it’s one of the biggest sensations on the platform, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
4. Outlaws of the Old West
Red Dead Redemption 2 and Read Dead Online are not available on PC, and there hasn’t been any announcement or indication that such a release is planned in the future. To fill that void, Developer Virtual Basement and publisher Wandering Wizard released Outlaws of the Old West in early access on March 12th, and over the next four days it was viewed for 115,592 hours across 3838 streams on 762 channels.
An online western “do anything” sandbox, much like Red Dead, it’s easy to see why streamers gravitated towards it right away; it’s an opportunity for PC-only creators to engage with the same sorts of wild activities that have made the Game-of-the-Year candidate from Rockstar such a big hit. Seeing as it currently has mixed reviews on Steam, it’s unclear just how long this title can ride out that momentum. It’ll never be able to achieve the level of detail or technical brilliance that Red Dead, one of the most expensive games ever made, managed, so it will always exist in that games shadow. Not to mention that, should Red Dead Online ever make its way to the PC, it would immediately crush whatever real estate OOW would currently occupy on the platform. Still, nearly 1000 channels streaming in one week is nothing to belittle from a small studio with little marketing. Can it ride that success to a healthy, self sustaining community that will support the game through its development? Only time will tell.
5. Don’t Escape: 4 Days in a Wasteland
Point and Click adventure games are never going to dominate the world of streaming, but when a good one hits a nerve, variety and narrative-oriented streamers tend to flock to it, enjoying a slower, more contemplative experience that can be shared intimately with your chat and audience. Don’t Escape appears to be such a game.
Published on March 11th by Armor Games Studios, it was viewed for a total of 155,980 hours across 53 channels and only 161 streams. That’s not a huge footprint, but the streamers and their audiences are highly engaged. There’s no telling just how many viewers will be compelled to buy the game and experience it themselves, and for a smaller title like this, that can determine success or failure, at least financially. We don’t expect to see this title on the rankings again, but it being here now is a great indicator that it’s found a healthy niche for itself, and that players who are interested are, indeed, finding it.
Top-5 Falling Games
1. Dawn of Man
After a very respectable two week opening on Twitch, this strategic pre-civilization simulator saw a drop from an average peak of 72 streamers to 25, and it’s viewership dropped by 86%. Hopefully, the base of players that remain can help to develop a strong, if small, community, to support the title moving forward as further updates and expansions might bring it renewed life in streaming. If, however, it isn’t rapidly developed and grown, it’s likely to fall away completely.
There’s just no way around it: Anthem's in trouble. The number of people watching and playing Anthem on Twitch is decreasing with alarming consistency. It experienced a 38% reduction in viewership and 25% reduction in channels this week, all while its primary competitor, The Division 2, has received wide acclaim upon its release, and is carving out a much larger audience and streamer-base. Without dramatic change to both the way the game is played and its community is managed, this title is in danger of being declared a cautionary tale. And that change must happen soon. It doesn’t have much time left, to be frank.
3. Trials Rising
While the total viewership for Trials Rising fell by 58% this week, it was actually only streamed on 20% fewer channels, and that should dampen the level of concern. There’s still a good deal of interest from streamers, which is a good indication that its community, at least for now, is developing well. You don’t need your title to be the top game on Twitch week after week for it to be a success. What that means is different for every title, but the Trials series has always been more about the long game, letting people challenge each other and create new impossible or ridiculous tracks, giving variety streamers and other creators something they can always return to and find something new and fun to take up an evening or even just a few hours. In this regard, the most recent release in the series has been a success, so far, and while it had a rough week, viewership wise, it’s still in a great position moving forward.
Every week there’s a smaller new release that finds itself in the hands of a handful of medium-to-large creators, then drops right off the map once they move on. This week that title is Intruder. An early access stealth multiplayer game that pits “spies” against “guards,” It’s viewership on Twitch dropped by 93% from the week of its release, as its clear the larger communities that originally gave it a try have moved on. Now, its actual reduction in streamers wasn’t as severe, only 30%, so many of the small group of creators who originally found it are still playing it, and having a good time, but their audiences didn’t make up the bulk of its original viewership. It’s an early access title, so updates and expansions can always bring it back into the spotlight, but, for now, it appears its time as a player on Twitch was brief.
5. Sea of Thieves
When Apex Legends launched in February, Sea of Thieves was one of the surprise games that seemed to take a hit. Many of the top streamers that were drawn to the new title from Respawn and EA, either organically or through paid campaigns, were the same that often played the latter pirating simulator, and when one rose, the other experienced a corresponding fall. The same has also been true, though, in the past few weeks; as some of the bigger names are moving on from Apex and returning to their other games, Sea of Thieves experienced a resurgence, of sorts. That resurgence seems to have normalized, this week, as its viewership dropped by 47%, even as its streamer-base increased in size. This is because while streamers have continued to return to Sea of Thieves, the biggest streamers, at the top, primarily did so in the previous week, and are now mixing things up more and devoting less time to it. That increase in total streamers is a really big deal, and evidence that this title’s community is in good shape and will continue to recover. It can withstand the temporary hit a new big title can bring because they’ve developed an audience that wants to come back. So, while it makes our “Falling” list this week, there’s actually many reasons to be optimistic, even excited, about the future.
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