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Over the course of 2019, there have already been numerous games and events that have benefited greatly from the involvement of high-profile Twitch influencers, and Daniel “Keemstar” Keem’s Minecraft Monday event is no exception.
The idea behind Minecraft Monday is similar to Keem’s popular Friday Fortnite series that was a part of the battle royale’s explosion during the summer last year. There are teams of two who play against one another in various Minecraft game modes, and at the end of the competition, one team is crowned the winner.
The event began its first week of competition on June 24, and on that day Minecraft saw a modest spike in viewership to 781K hours watched, but as the event has grown and more high-profile personalities get involved, so has Minecraft viewership on Twitch.
With help from this grassroots style, community-run event, Minecraft has seen recent peaks in viewership that has lting in the title getting more than 1M hours watched in a day. Prior to June, the title only had a handful of days in which it even managed to accumulate 500K hours watched this year.
Across the course of the summer, the event has attracted Twitch personalities from a broad range of backgrounds. Former Overwatch League players Félix “xQc” Lengyel, League of Legends streamer Tyler “Tyler1” Steinkamp, and retired Counter-Strike: Global Offensive pro Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek have all aired the game, bringing more attention to it for a Twitch audience.
Additionally, the influence of Twitch’s top broadcasters has caused a residual effect on Minecraft as a category on Twitch that has resulted in it slowly gaining ground in the platform’s weekly top 10 charts.
While the jump in viewership so far for Minecraft hasn’t been as strong as the jump in viewership when top influencers took to Grand Theft Auto V role play servers, it could be more appropriately compared to the sway that influencers have had on games like Sea of Thieves.
All three of these titles have been on Twitch for an extended period of time. Sea of Thieves is by far the youngest of the three games having come out in March of 2018, but its most consistent viewership didn’t come until Jaryd “Summit1g” Lazar led a surge of high-profile streamers who took a break from top content like Fortnite to goof around in the cartoonish pirate game.
GTA V experienced a similar bump from Lazar, except its rise has proven to be more impactful and lasting. After top personalities like Lazar and Chance “Sodapoppin” Morris spent a notable amount of time on GTA V roleplay servers, their interactions with other lesser-known streamers like “Vader” led to consistently strong viewership for GTA V, even when influencers like Morris or Lazar weren’t playing the game.
In this case, while there were high-profile personalities that led the surge in viewership, the streamers that were endemic to the game provided enough entertainment that people were drawn in and stayed with the content form instead of leaving when a specific personality left.
Though the impact of Minecraft Monday is similar to that of Lazar deciding to play a different game on a whim, the driving factor in Minecraft’s recent successes differs. The influencers who are helping to generate this increased viewership for Minecraft aren’t simply moving to the game on a whim. They’re joining a community-driven competition with a $10K USD prize pool.
The event has the potential to help Minecraft push to becoming more popular as Twitch content, much in the way that Friday Fortnite showed what Epic Games’ battle royale game could be as a spectator esports. However, it also has the potential to end up just like the grassroots tournaments Keem ran for the battle royale game Realm Royale that was unveiled last year.
After the game came out on June 5, Keem planned a few weekly tournaments and enlisted the participation of heavy hitters like Grzesiek, Lazar, and Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, among others. However, due in part to development issues with the game and a lack of endemic personalities to capitalize off of added exposure, Realm Royale wasn’t able to leverage that attention into long-term success.
The fate of Minecraft as an influential form of content on Twitch is tied to both the events being run for it and the personalities involved. There is no way to know for sure if the added viewership provided by Minecraft Monday or influencers playing the game will have a lasting impact on the game the way that influencers did for GTA V.
However, the increased exposure that strong personalities and online community events can bring to a game like Minecraft provides perhaps one of the strongest models that we’ve seen for how consistent viewership growth can be generated on Twitch for an already established game.
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