With the first quarter of 2019 behind us, it’s time for the various market watchers to have their say on how things went for esports viewership and participation. Both a Streamlabs/Newzoo partnership as well as a partnership between StreamElements and Stream Hatchet have put forth respective reports filled with streaming metrics.
When a simultaneous release like this happens, the most interesting part is to see what the parties disagree on. Last October, Newzoo got into some trouble after publishing a… questionable listing of the year’s most watched esports. With this latest report they appear to be on firmer ground, at least when compared to their competition.
Both parties have battle royale title Fortnite solidly on top, both in terms of hours streamed and watched. They also agree that this is a decrease from the game’s 2018 Q4, which is likely due to the debut of Apex Legends in February. The newcomer ended on the third spot of the popularity list, trailing League of Legends but ahead of the fourth most popular content category, “IRL/Just Chatting.” The end of the quarter has seen the Fortnite audience starting to recover, which is in line with earlier reports of Apex Legends’ momentum slowing down.
Service-wise, Amazon’s Twitch.tv is still where all the cool kids go. The platform clocked a whopping 2.7 billion hours watched over the time period. This is a 33-to-35 percent increase over 2018’s Q1, depending on whom you ask. Its rivals grew as well, but it’s still the field’s biggest player by far. Number two YouTube only reaches about a fourth of its audience. Still, Google’s offering managed to double its own viewership year over year and Microsoft’s Mixer even quadrupled its viewership. Interestingly, Streamlabs/Newzoo claim that the total hours streamed between the two only differs by about 4 million hours. This suggests that streamers, at least, don’t have a strong preference for either, even if Mixer’s audience is seven times as small.
Neither report provided data on platforms other than these three, which is unfortunate. After all, ESL has dropped the exclusivity clause in its agreement with Facebook, and Fox-backed Caffeine has signed deals for both DreamHack’s and FIFA’s esports content. It would have been interesting to have some numbers behind those decisions.
Shroud was on top for most of the quarter, with 15 million hours watched in February alone. He only dropped out of the top five after his injury in March. Because of this, only summit1g, Ninja, and Tfue have remained in it for all of what’s been 2019 so far.
Overall, none of these results should come as a surprise. They do serve as more confirmation that live streaming is still going strong. With as many people watching as these datasets suggest, that’s probably a good thing.
Writer, developer and esports observer from the land of cheese and windmills.