Apex Legends, Valorant rise on Twitch in Q3

By Trent Murray

Throughout much of 2021, the top ranks of streaming platform Twitch have maintained a relative status quo with the Just Chatting category firmly entrenched as the platform's most-watched category. While Twitch has long positioned itself as a platform for gamers, its content offering has steadily evolved to a wide array of sports, music, and other forms of entertainment. Across all categories, streamers will use the Just Chatting category for interact with their audience more directly. The popularity of this category highlights the unique relationship between consumer and content creator that livestreaming creates.

While Just Chatting has held its position for well over a year now, the third quarter of 2021 saw an important shakeup in the middle of Twitch's Top 10 categories. Both Riot Games' Valorant and EA's Apex Legends, two prominent esports titles in the shooter genre, rose up to claim the fourth and fifth spots, each with over 200 million hours watched for the quarter. Both games exploded on Twitch during their initial releases but then suffered a period of significant drop-off. This quarter, however, both games saw a resurgence thanks in part to renewed interest related to esports investment on the part of both publishers. The video game industry is in a state of perpetual turnover with new titles coming out regularly to challenge the status quo, but these two titles show that continued developer support with new content and high quality esports activity can keep a game alive long after its release - and even revive games from the dead.

Notably, as of this quarter Riot Games holds the unique position of supporting the two most-watched competitive titles on the number one platform for esports content. While League of Legends recently fell out of the second place slot it had held for years, its ability to hold strong in third place with over 100 million more hours watched than its sister title flies in the face of concerns that the esports industry cannot sustain long-lasting sports properties. League of Legends remains one of the most popular games in the world, continues to see growth in its esports viewership, and shows no signs of fading from the top of Twitch any time soon.

Finally, the resurgence of Valorant and Apex Legends also highlight the popularity of shooter titles on Twitch with the genre accounting for five out of the top 10 categories on the platform. While there remains some concern from brands regarding shooters, the reality is that they account for a significant amount of gaming and esports viewership. With the release of Halo Infinite on the horizon, Q4 could see a sixth shooter title enter the Top 10, firmly cementing the genre's dominance over competitive gaming.

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