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The Evolution Championship Series (Evo) for fighting games saw a slight decrease in viewership among its top Twitch channels from last year. The event, held in Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, had four channels that were among the top 10 most-watched over the weekend, but they generated less hours watched than the top three channels covering the event last year.
The main Evo channel, Evo1, Evo3, and developer Capcom’s channels combined for 4.9M hours watched from August 2-5 this year. That figure is down from the 5M hours watched that the main channel, Evo1, and Capcom’s fighting channel generated in 2018.
While there were just three Evo-related channels that made it into the weekend’s top 10 list of Twitch channels last year, the volume of viewership was slightly higher for those broadcasts.
Altogether, the seven primary channels that Evo uses to cover every aspect of the event are “Evo” and a range of broadcasts labeled “Evo1” through “Evo 6.” Those channels combined this year to produce 4.98M hours watched on Twitch. Capcom’s “CapcomFigthers” channel and developer NetherRealm Studio’s Twitch channels added 610K and 135K hours watched, respectively, to that total.
Last year those same official Evo channels combined for 5.07M hours watched with Capcom providing an extra 1.2M hours watched to the overall total.
In total, Evo 2019 generated 5.73M hours watched, down 8.6% from 6.27M in 2018.
With the finals for the specific competitions of fighting games being featured on the main Evo broadcast, the channel’s content distribution is a strong indicator of what titles performed particularly well.
With an average of 206K concurrent viewers (CCV), Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was predictably the most-watched event on the main Evo channel. This past weekend marked the first time Nintendo’s latest Smash Bros. title was played at Evo, and its newness certainly played a factor in it outperforming the viewership of Super Smash Bros. Melee (147K CCV average) last year.
Ultimate’s 708K hours watched on the main channel with a peak of 233K CCV was stronger than Melee’s 457K hours watched with a peak of 190K CCV in 2018. Ultimate even outperformed the top game from last year’s Evo as well.
Dragon Ball Fighter Z, which was the fresh new game in 2018, had more hours watched (820K) on the main Evo broadcast last year, but that figure was due largely to the fact that the game was aired for nearly 20 hours of broadcast time on the main Evo channel.
The game also edged out Ultimate’s peak CCV with a 250K max, but it’s 103K average CCV was significantly lower than Ultimate’s average this year on the main channel. While Dragon Ball Fighter Z received a significant bump from the main Evo channel with 29 hours of airtime during the week last year, no title was aired for more than five hours on the top channel this time around.
In its second year of being played at Evo, Dragon Ball Fighter Z saw a decline in viewership across the board with the game’s freshness having worn off. Average viewership on the main channel was just 62K CCV over the course of 4 hours of airtime and the title only racked up 248K hours watched, peaking at 102K CCV.
While Evo didn’t see growth from 2018, the decline in hours watched overall for the event was more of a stagnation than a decline. While viewership figures overall didn’t improve, the success of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, when compared to older versions of the franchise and last year’s top new fighting game, shows the kind of power that a new Super Smash Bros. game can provide as a driving force for viewership in the fighting game genre of esports.
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