Which games are rising the fastest 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 each title's total hours viewed on Twitch between the dates of 1/31 and 2/7.
Top Five Rising
1. Apex Legends (+13.8 Million Hours)
The new FPS battle royale from Respawn burst onto the scene this past Monday with its surprise announcement and release, and it has not looked back since. Developers and publishers everywhere should be paying attention, as the team behind this new title are using Twitch, social media, and influencers to absolute perfection.
Apex Legends reached almost 500,000 peak viewers in its first day alone, and has owned the number one spot on Twitch since the first hour of its release. Reports are indicating that this has translated to strong download numbers, with over 1 million gamers grabbing the game in the first eight hours alone. All told, this first week has been one of the most successful launches in recent memory.
But can it maintain this momentum? Can it survive at the top of the leaderboards and keep the hype train rolling down the tracks, or will it come back down to earth? Only time will tell, but you can be sure we’ll be keeping a close eye on this brand new contender.
2. World of Warcraft (+7 Million Hours)
Well, this was a very interesting week for this long-time fixture. The standard-setting MMO has been around for 15 years, and with the release of its latest raid “Battle for Dazar’Alor," its overall viewership increased by just under 7 million hours over the past seven days. Incredibly, this growth in audience can be attributed to only two connected channels.
Method is an eSports organization run by streamer Sco, and its primary channel has over 168,000 followers. Prior to this week, however, the channel hadn’t streamed since September of 2018. With the release of the raid comes the “World First” race, where guilds compete to be the first to complete the new content. When the team returned to the stream last Wednesday, it immediately pulled hundreds of thousands of viewers to WoW, drawing 4.6 million total hours of viewership over the past seven days. Combined with the nearly 2 million hours pulled in Sco’s primary channel, this organization alone was enough to let WoW take the second spot in this week’s rankings.
A few things come together here to lead to this success. Combined with the undeniable longevity of WoW itself, here we see the power of dedicated streaming communities and teams, along with their audiences. Mixing them with the fun of a content event and a competition is a recipe for success.
3. Super Smash Bros Ultimate (+2.1 Million Hours)
The power of live tournaments was on full display this past week as the Genesis 6 tournament, viewed on channel VGBootCamp, drew an increase of 2.1 million hours of viewership to the latest in the Super Smash Bros. series. Smash’s main appeal has always been about competition, and with a decided lack of competition on display during this past Sunday’s Super Bowl, many turned their attention, instead, to this exciting event in Oakland, California. The resulting increase in viewership is a testament to just how important eSports events and competitions are to the continued success of fighting games.
4. Anno 1800 (+1.3 Million Hours)
The Victorian era city-building sim isn’t set to be officially released until April 16th, but Ubisoft and developer Blue Byte managed to attract thousands of fresh eyeballs when it launched its closed beta this past weekend. By getting early access into the hands of streamers like CohhCarnage, Lirik, and DansGaming, the team behind Anno 1800 was able to draw nearly 1.3 million hours of viewership on channels that cater to more gamers with more diverse tastes in titles. It will be interesting to watch as more access is staggered out between now and release whether they can repeat the success of this first event, but they’ve certainly gotten off to a strong start.
5. Super Smash Bros Melee (+870,000 Hours)
The classic favorite saw an increase of nearly 1 million hours in watch time, this week, and it was almost entirely the result of the Genesis 6 event mentioned above. VGBootcamp, along with their Japanese channel VGBootCamp2, carried Melee events between the other competitions, and the classic entry to the long running series is still a big draw for fighting game enthusiasts. It was enough this week to take the fifth spot in our rankings.
Top Five Falling
1. Resident Evil 2 (-11.3 Million Hours)
The lifespan of a story-driven single player experience on Twitch is always going to be short, and this proves true yet again with the recent remake of Resident Evil 2. Released on January 25th, the game peaked at over 300,000 viewers in its first weekend. Combining that perfect mix of nostalgia and novelty, the title is ideal for a quick burst of Twitch viewership, a horror title that provokes strong reactions from its players and can act as a journey streamers and their viewers can take together.
But, that journey always ends, and this week Resident Evil 2 pulled in over 11 million hours less in viewership, for a total of 3.7 million hours over the past seven days. All indications are that this trend will continue moving forward, but this is not a failure! Not every game has long legs on Twitch, and the initial burst was plenty when it comes to actually getting the game into players’ hands. There’s more to learn as far as making a game’s time in the spotlight last longer, but sales numbers are clear that this title is doing just fine.
2. League of Legends (-2.8 Million Hours)
The top MOBA on Twitch saw its numbers dropping this week, with a loss of nearly 3 million hours of viewership and an average 650 channels… but it’s no reason to be concerned. League still pulled in 26 millions audience hours over the past seven days, making it the most watched title on Twitch during that time. For the biggest of the big titles, their incredible audience share means their raw numbers fluctuate more than most other games. But, as a percentage of viewership, this loss doesn’t amount to much. It might be due to the currently surging popularity of Apex Legends, or due to a current absence of competitions or updates, but whatever the cause, League’s drop in viewership should be seen as a normal part of audience ebb and flow for large titles. A notion that should be kept in mind as we discuss...
3. Fortnite (-2.6 Million Hours)
It wasn’t even a day after the release of Apex Legends that journalists and commentators were asking the same question they always ask: is it the Fortnite killer?
That question is dumb. Stop asking it.
Fortnite also saw a drop in total viewership hours this past week, falling by 2.6 million. This seems like a direct result of Apex Legends release, as its fall from the number one spot coincides with the former’s release. But, it still was the second most watched title in total viewership hours over the last seven days, second only to League. Like the latter, Fortnite’s numbers will fluctuate more by nature of its enormous market share, but it’s not a representation of its overall health on the platform.
Apex Legends might stand the test of time. It might not. At this point, it’s impossible to know. There’s so much still that lies ahead, whether players will stick it out, whether the game’s monetization can fully support its long term goals, whether the community galvanized into a permanent fixture in the space. Fortnite has already accomplished all of those things, and that’s why every time someone knocks them from the number one spot, which has happened many times over the last year, it always comes back. Even as Apex Legends dominates the news cycle, Fortnite’s community is still buzzing from the recent in-game concert by Marshmello.This week’s drop says a lot about Apex Legends, but it says little about Fortnite and its future. It’s doing just fine.
(Interestingly, after this piece was initially written, Epic did announce they were temporarily quadrupling payouts from their "Support-a-Creator" program after Apex Legend's launch, in what some are calling a clear response, so while the above remains true, Epic might feel the slightest bit threatened. We'll keep an eye on this moving forward.)
4. Anthem (-2.3 Million Hours)
The release of Anthem’s first demo was reasonably successful. Players encountered server issues and bugs, and the initial VIP demo saw a great many streamers unable to sign into the game at all for hours. Still, Anthem is targeting players who are already engaged with titles like Destiny and Warframe, and these audiences tend to understand that stress testing and server issues are a part of any game launch of this type. As a result, the down time didn’t seem to result in any ill-will, and once the game was up and running people were somewhat pleased with what they saw.
Still, the VIP and early access demos have now come and gone, and so viewership has, of course, dropped to zero. It will be interesting to see what happens when early access to the full game goes live on February 15. While viewers and players were ready to forgive and understand hiccups during the demo, the same audience might be immediately turned off, for good, if those issues repeat for the full release. At the same time, developers have promised that the gameplay of the demo was not fully representative of the game itself, so there’s still a lot of mystery surrounding the quality of the experience itself. And then there’s the issue of the staggered release schedule, with most gamers not able to play until a week later. How will this affect viewership on Twitch? When the time comes, we’ll be watching closely to see how the long-hyped loot-shooter performs after its proper release.
5. Sea of Thieves (-2.2 Million Hours)
The audience watching Sea of Thieves on Twitch was nearly cut in half, over the past week, dropping by 2.2 million hours. Average and total viewership for the online swashbuckling title peaked on January 22, the culmination of growth spurred on by its latest expansion, Flames of Fate, in late November. Interest in the title has dipped before, of course, but the last 3 days have been the weakest for the game since the release of the aforementioned content update.
Sea of Thieves appears to be trending increasingly downward, in spite of a recent rebalance and minor patch. A fifth expansion is forthcoming called The Arena, and it might be just what the doctor ordered, a competitive game mode that might be perfect for creating more engaging, exciting streams. But, with the expansion’s release date still unannounced, it will be worth watching to see whether they can spring back from this dip and achieve a healthier base-line of playership. It still drew over 2 million hours of viewership this past week, which is nothing to sneeze at, but if the arrow really is pointing down, 2019 might not be the year the team behind Sea of Thieves envisioned.