The launch of EA’s new battle royale game Apex Legends completely shattered the expectations of what a new release can do on Twitch, with 50% more viewership than League of Legends.
The following titles are ranked according to the total number of hours watched on Twitch , from Monday to the following Sunday, with data compiled using TEO Analytics.
The Stuff of Legends
EA’s Apex Legends dominated Twitch in a way no content has since Fortnite burst onto the scene last year. Following its release, the game had numerous high-profile streamers play as an advertisement, but many continued playing well after their advertising slots were over.
The resulting viewership was not only stronger than any other new release from this year or the holiday season, but it was also stronger than what any game has had since The International saw Dota 2 get 35.09M hours watched over the course of one week in August.
The massively successful first week is due in large part to a plethora of Twitch’s most high-profile streamers spending large amounts of time airing the game. From Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek and Jaryd “Summit1g” Lazar to Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and Herschel “Dr Disrespect” Beahm, the biggest influencers on Twitch all spent 30 or more hours playing the game last week.
Breaking it Down
What was a boon for Apex Legends was crippling for Fortnite. Because Fortnite has been the standard for battle royale games, the mobilization to Apex Legends this past week resulted in a mass exodus for Fortnite.
While Turner “Tfue” Tenney stayed loyal to the tried-and-true cartoonish game that led to his rise on Twitch, the game saw a massive week-over-week drop in viewership to 13.65M hours watched from 18.42M the previous week.
That drop in hours watched directly correlated with a drop from 50.14K hours of airtime to 37.78K hours of airtime on Twitch this past week. Essentially, not only are the top streamers playing Apex Legends, but smaller streamers looked to deviate from Fortnite as well.
Despite the rapid and massive viewership changes in the battle royale space, League of Legends maintained steady viewership on Twitch. While Apex Legends passed the multiplayer online battle arena game, LoL’s consistent esports-driven content and its gameplay that is unique from battle royale games helped it stay above 20M hours watched for the fourth straight week.
It’s no coincidence that those four weeks have all included competition at the highest level of professional LoL, which has maintained strong viewership on Riot Games’ Twitch channels.