Fortnite Is Losing Favor, at Least With Audiences on Twitch
(Bloomberg) -- Fortnite may be a huge hit with video-game players, but the fever may be breaking.
Viewership of the game on the Twitch streaming service fell for a second straight month in September, according to researcher StreamElements. Fans watched 105.8 million hours of the popular survival game last month on the Amazon.com Inc.-owned streaming service, down from the July peak of 151.9 million hours.
Still, the game remains dominant. It was the most-viewed title on Twitch Wednesday afternoon, with 240,000 people tuning in, or twice the audience of its nearest rival, Riot Games Inc.’s League of Legends.
Fortnite, owned by closely held Epic Games Inc., became a global phenomenon after introducing an every-man-for-himself style of play a year ago. Soon, basketball stars were streaming their Fortnite matches and kids in school yards were imitating the game’s dance moves. Other game makers, from Activision Blizzard Inc. to Electronic Arts Inc., raced to add battle-royale modes of play to their titles.
Richard Blevins, a 27-year-old professional gamer who plays under the screen name Ninja, became a worldwide celebrity thanks to his Fortnite skills. There is evidence now that star players are losing luster, according to StreamElements, which helps stars turn their gaming skills into real world dollars. The top 100 streamers on Twitch generated fewer total hours of viewing in September than they did in January.
Collectively, games from Activision, including a resurgent World of Warcraft, outdrew Fortnite for the first time since March, with 116.2 million hours viewed.
There are issues for Activision in the report, however. While the audience for World of Warcraft has surged, likely due to the release in August of the expansion package Battle for Azeroth, the hours viewed for Overwatch, another Activision title, fell 26 percent in the third quarter, according to StreamElements.
Activision is building out the first global, professional esports league for Overwatch, selling franchises for as much as $30 million to operate teams in cities around the world. The inaugural season ended in July.
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.