Popular betas or early access titles don't often fit in our weekly #Top5OnTwitch, but still deserve mention for their success. Let's talk about two such games making an impact on the Twitch charts.
One element that complicates our weekly #Top5OnTwitch rankings is the increasing use of Early Access and closed betas prior to the complete release of a game. For the former, it becomes a question of when does a game qualify as a “new release,” and not including the latter means occasionally leaving some of the most trending titles on Twitch out of our rankings. We want our weekly feature to provide as complete a picture of what’s rising in the world of streaming as possible, but there isn’t a great way to fit these not-yet-released games into our formula. That’s why we’re presenting the first of what will become a semi-regular discussion of titles that are making real noise, but don’t neatly fit into our regular rankings. Today, it’s two succesful closed betas: Code Vein and Granblue Fantasy: Versus.
Code Vein, Closed Beta: May 31st - June 2nd
Total Viewership: 396,347 Hours
Total Streamers: 1237 Channels
Code Vein from Bandai Namco is a post-apocalyptic vampire-focused action RPG that was first announced in April of 2017, and has been highly anticipated since, the promise of a new world filled with Dark Souls style gameplay keeping players interested through the long wait, delayed from its original release in September of last year to some time in 2019. When you’re keeping an audience waiting that long, it’s important to show off parts of the game whenever possible, to help maintain fans’ trust that the game is still coming, and keep what will become the title’s community engaged. Through this past weekend’s “Network Test,” functionally a closed beta, players and viewers alike were given their first real glimpse at sizable chunks of gameplay, and the result was strong numbers on Twitch.
If the numbers for Code Vein’s weekend were compared to the other top new releases in this week’s #Top5OnTwitch, it would have been our fourth fastest rising title. Meanwhile, looking above at the game’s official Twitch ranking during over the course of the weekend, we can see that it reached as high as ninth place on Friday, and maintained its position well, following it up with a peak of twelth on Saturday, and sixteenth on Sunday. As of this writing, those spots belong to Hearthstone, AutoChess, and Apex Legends, respectively. Not bad company.
All of this bodes well for the game’s future. Response to gameplay has been positive, and the game’s audience, having gotten a fresh look at what’s in store, are once again excited for the run up to the title’s release. Given its genre and style, it wouldn’t be surprising to see it climb to the top of our list of new releases when it finally hits the scene.
Granblue Fantasy: Versus, Closed Beta: May 31st - June 1st
Total Viewership: 244,256 Hours
Total Streamers: 4050 Channels
Granblue Fantasy: Versus is an interesting title, in that it achieved a great deal over its two day beta in spite of being based on a free-to-play mobile game that is mostly popular in Japan. Indeed, the hours for the play-period were clearly designed to cater to players in that region, and were somewhat awkward for American participants. In spite of this, the 2D fighting game with beautiful animations and meticulously designed characters had full U.S. servers when it came online, and it accrued both impressive viewership and participation from streamers.
With nearly four times the total streamers as Code Vein during a beta that lasted only two days compared to the latter’s three, Granblue would have landed in a similar position as the above title in our weekly rankings, had it been included. It too would have taken the fourth spot in our new releases category. As seen in the image above, it climbed as high as eighth in overall official Twitch rankings in its first day, and ninth the next day, spots taken by mega-hits World of Warcraft and Minecraft as of the time of this writing.
For a niche 2D fighter based on a pre-existing IP that has a limited audience outside of Japan, this is very impressive. Its appeal lies largely in its style, in the beautiful character design and animations, the unique and diverse battle stages, and clearly audiences found this asthetic engaging and fun. The question that remains is will this success translate to a full release? If viewers are primarily pulled in by the art style and its novelty, will those same audience members feel the drive to buy the game and play it themselves, or will watching be enough? Fighting games are some of the most skill-oriented experiences out there, and sometimes that makes a title more fun to enjoy as a viewer than a player; you’d rather watch someone work through the frustration and challenges than take them on yourself. That’s not to say it’s definitely going to happen, just that it remains a possibility in spite of the closed beta’s success. Still, this first test event clearly demonstrates there’s something here that people really enjoy. We look forward to seeing how it grows and progresses between now and release day.
Be sure to check out what's rising and falling in the world of streaming in our weekly #Top5OnTwitch, and to read our breakdown of how Phoenix Point is evolving the XCom-like genre and creating something perfect for streams. You can also follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for all the latest blogs, announcements, and game marketing news from the team at GAMESIGHT!