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After breaking Twitch records in 2018, Fortnite has seen a steady decline in the past month that has resulted in it posting its lowest viewership since making a meteoric rise last spring.
In the past 12 months, Epic Games’ cartoonish battle royale title has outlasted competition with numerous battle royales games as well as titles from other genres. In the fall of 2018, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s “Blackout” game mode grabbed the attention of influencers for a short period of time, and this year, EA’s take on battle royale, Apex Legends, posted multiple weeks of 30M hours watched.
However, neither was able to ride their early success to long-term stability as the top game, or even battle royale, on Twitch. Instead, Fortnite always managed to make a return to the top.
It was almost like clockwork. When Apex Legends and CoD came out, they attracted influencers like Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, 2018’s most-watched streamer, and other broadcasters known for playing Fortnite predominantly.
This most recent decline in viewership for Fortnite on Twitch has been different, though. Instead of losing influencers to other games, Fortnite has been losing Twitch influencers by other means.
Tyler “Ninja” Blevins left Twitch altogether in favor of streaming exclusively on Microsoft’s live streaming platform Mixer this summer, and Turner “Tfue” Tenney, the most-watched influencer on Twitch so far this year, announced that he was taking a hiatus from streaming just a few weeks ago.
While the rise of other titles has played a role in Fortnite’s trend downward, a larger issue for the title could be a loss of overall starpower. World of Warcraft Classic’s launch at the end of August generated record viewership for WoW, but even though the hours watched for the game has decreased every week since Classic’s initial surge in viewership, Fortnite has continued to see a dip in viewership.
Additionally, the recent beta for the new Call of Duty game could be seen as a potential hindrance to Fortnite viewership, but it wasn’t nearly as viewed as the CoD beta was last year when its then-new battle royale mode was heavily-hyped.
Despite Tenney taking a break from streaming just less than halfway through September, he is still the most-watched Fortnite streamer this month, and no one other streamer seems to have picked up where he left off.
While filling the void of viewership that Blevins left could be seen as a challenge in and of itself, it was Tenney’s sudden time off from streaming that seems to have put Fortnite viewership in a tough patch.
This year Tenney and Blevins have accounted for 115M hours watched out of Fortnite’s 643M total on Twitch, and with neither currently streaming Fortnite on Twitch, its difficult to figure out where exactly their combined average of 85K CCV went.
Nick “NickMercs” Kolcheff is the second most-watched Fortnite influencer this month with an average concurrent viewership of just under 20K, but other than him, no other top 10 streamer of the title has managed to average at least 15K CCV this month.
Fortnite World Cup winner Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, whose streaming career has taken off since winning in July, is the closest to keeping up with Kolcheff’s averages sitting at 14.97K CCV.
It’s not all gloom and doom for Fortnite. Despite the game being at perhaps its lowest point on Twitch since becoming the top form of content in 2018, there’s potentially a light at the end of the tunnel.
In the past, when Fortnite has seen a dip in viewership due to competition, the beginning of a new “season” of content in the game has provided a surge in viewership and attention that pulls broadcasters and fans back in.
While Fortnite’s current issues are less about influencers playing other games and more about the top two influencers no longer streaming on Twitch, a new season has been speculated to begin in October.
With most Fortnite “seasons” lasting about 10 weeks, the expectation is that Epic Games will release a batch of brand new content to the battle royale title in the first week or two of October, which will inevitably result in a boost to viewership.
However, if Fortnite is going to find any sort of long-term sustainability from any new content, it will be up to the top influencers that are still streaming the game on Twitch, like Kolcheff and Giersdorf, to leverage it as a way to grow their community of viewers.
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