Fortnite Uses Influencer-Driven Esports, In-Game Updates to Down Competitors on Twitch

At this point, Fortnite Database-Link-e1521645463907 is used to competing with other battle royale games on Twitch for streamer attention and viewership. The most-watched game on the platform from 2018 has experienced a number of ups and downs despite being one of the strongest influencer-based forms of content in terms of audience.

During the first quarter of this year, Epic Games’ Database-Link-e1521645463907 cartoonish popular cultural phenomenon faced arguably its toughest rival yet for the eyes and attention of Twitch viewers when EA Database-Link-e1521645463907 dropped its own spin on the battle royale genre called Apex Legends Database-Link-e1521645463907.

Immediately upon the game’s release, it was a smashing hit. No other title on Twitch had made that sort of grand appearance onto the scene, as Apex accrued 30M hours watched in each of its first two weeks.

Fortnite was figuratively against the ropes. Top influencers like Tyler “Ninja” Blevins were diverging from the game that gave them massive popularity in favor of the newer game, and viewership on the title was sinking.

So how did the reigning champion of Twitch manage to reel back in influencers and reclaim its spot as the most-watched title among battle royale games? What makes Fortnite worth coming back to over and over?

In the fall of 2018, Fortnite experienced a similar form of competition in the form of Call of Duty’s Database-Link-e1521645463907 new battle royale mode. Following its October release, CoD generated 28.3M hours watched in its first seven days on Twitch, due in large part to top streamers playing the battle royale mode.

But the hype was seemingly short-lived. Just two weeks after CoD was released, Fortnite once again regained its position at the top of Twitch, and Activision’s Database-Link-e1521645463907 game dipped to 9.8M hours watched. Though CoD managed to sustain reasonable success for some time following its move below Epic’s title, the luster for its battle royale mode diminished as top influencers returned to Fortnite.

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The intriguing part though is why exactly CoD saw a drop just two weeks after its release. A quick look at viewership for the two titles shows Fortnite regaining its hours watched lead on October 19—the day of a Fall Skirmish event.

Even though, CoD captured the momentary attention of top influencers, many streamers that had made a name for themselves playing Fortnite felt an attachment to Epic Games’ highly influencer-driven esports competitions and were reeled back in.

While this particular Fall Skirmish event was potentially critical for Fortnite regaining its viewership in the short term, it’s not like this was some sort of ploy. Epic Games is known for consistently remaining active in both its influencer-driven esports and keeping its in-game experience fresh.

When Apex Legends came onto the scene, top influencers across the board flocked to it the same way people did to CoD. However, since the game’s release, Fortnite has done a plethora of things to re-attract the airtime of high-profile broadcasters.

The beginning of a new “season” in Fortnite at the end of February meant a ton of gameplay changes as well as the release of more in-game cosmetics for fans to check out. Meanwhile, Epic Games released information regarding the qualification process for the World Cup, and ESL even hosted its own tournament for the game at IEM Katowice.

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It’s no surprise though that as the new Fortnite season began so did Apex Legends’ decline. On the exact day of Fortnite’s content release (Feb. 28), it passed Apex Legends in terms of viewership, and Apex Legends has only had more hours watched one day since then.

While Apex Legends had a strong early showing with its own attempts at esports, the combination of esports and the sheer volume of new content and cosmetics that are released for Fortnite makes it difficult for any new competitor to sustain a large share of viewership from the base of battle royale enthusiasts.

As more games enter the battle royale arena, it will require more than just a fresh spin on the genre to take out the goliath that Fortnite has become on Twitch. History shows that that will only result in short-term success. Frequent updates and influencer-based events seem to almost be a necessity to compete with Fortnite for viewers as the title continues to show why it has been able to sustain its dominance.