With one notable exception, the story of the most-watched Twitch content of 2020 thus far is in many ways a continuation of trends that began in 2019. All but two categories are games or content that existed on the platform before 2019 and have merely swapped places as their popularity ebbs and flows.
In the latter half of last year, Fortnite had begun to fall from its dominant position at the top of the standings, landing in fourth place for H1 2020 with 504.16M hours watched. By contrast, Twitch’s Just Chatting, a catch-all for streamers not actively engaged in gameplay, was on the rise last year, and now sits as the most-watched category generating 784.34M hours watched.
The obvious exception to these pre-existing trends is the game that released in May – Riot Games’ shooter VALORANT. While a game with just a few months of activity reaching third place and 544.55M hours watched is certainly impressive, that success must come with the caveat of its heavily inflated closed beta viewership numbers. Since then, the game has hovered around eighth place in the weekly rankings, suggesting that a more traditional game release for the title would not have reached such lofty heights.
Looking forward it is unlikely that things change too significantly by the end of the year. VALORANT will certainly fall down the list, but we don’t yet know how its esports scene will develop in the coming months. That could either give the game a significant boost, or allow it to slowly fall out of the top 10. World of Warcraft will surge later this year with the release of its next expansion, but is unlikely to crack the top five. With no other major esports releases on the horizon from any major studios this year, it is unlikely that we see another game sustain a top ten position long enough post-release to meaningfully shake up the rankings.
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