Love it or hate it, League of Legends has been one of the biggest titles in the gaming world ever since it burst on the scene in 2009. No place is better evidence of that fact than Twitch, where it was the top game for 3 entire years straight. However, it seems that streak was broken in August due to the surging popularity of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.
This turn of events was revealed on Twitter by GAMOLOCO, a site that tracks and records Twitch live streaming viewership data. By registering on the site and choosing to display the data by month, you can see the various parameters that were used to conclude that PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds did indeed beat out League of Legends as the most-viewed game on Twitch in August.
Here is a quick breakdown:
*For reference, Max CCV’s refers to the highest number of concurrent viewers, AVG CCV’s refers to the average number of concurrent viewers, AVG Channels refers to the average amount of channels streaming the game and ACC refers to the average amount of viewers per channel.
As you can see, PUBG managed to beat out LoL in every single category except for ACC (average amount of viewers per channel) and that can be owed to the fact that despite having a similar amount of average concurrent viewers, there were was nearly 1000 more channels streaming the game on average.
Some of you will surely be wondering why this development is such a big deal, so here’s the deal: from Oct. 2014 to July 2017, League of Legends has been on an absolute tear on Twitch, consistently posting higher numbers than any other title to be released within that period. Now, imagine some of the most hyped-up titles that have come out within that period, such as various CoD titles, Dark Souls 3, No Man’s Sky, Final Fantasy XV and Persona 5, and consider that even at their peak, they couldn’t beat out a game that came out in 2009 for even a month. Regardless of whether it was an AAA title or not, League of Legends couldn’t be beat. Hell, even Blizzard’s Overwatch — which many assumed would become the definitive eSports title — couldn’t even touch it.
Yet despite all that, a game that lacks the support of any major publisher and is still very much in its testing phase managed to do what no other title on Twitch could.
Now, of course, the question that needs to be asked is why this occurred in the first place. The answer likely has to do with the nature of each game.
League of Legends, with all its amazing plays, comebacks and entertaining moments at various tournaments, is still a very predictable game. A viewer who is familiar with the game can often correctly predict who will win in a lane based on the match-up and can sometimes even tell who will win the entire match based on each team’s overall composition. Its just an inescapable fact that some champions have an advantage over others and a person in the disadvantageous position will almost always lose unless their teammate renders the appropriate amount of aid — though, of course, this course of action will be predictable as well. There are definitely outliers and plenty of surprises to be had, but LoL often finds itself in an unchanging state for an extended period of time unless Riot (or a professional player) shakes things up.
Conversely, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, as a battle royale, is in a state of constant chaos. Though the general rule — be the last one standing — is always the same, how that goal is achieved changes on a game-by-game basis. For example, the safe zone shrinks as the match progresses, forcing players to come into contact with one another, as well as encouraging them to employ various playstyles and tactics within a single match. Similarly, knowing that anything can happen at any given time causes an extreme amount of tension that is unmatched by almost any other genre. Each action needs to be planned out or deliberate or you might find yourself being gunned down for no good reason. On the flip side, there’s nothing stopping you from being immediately gunned down upon entering a house, making any amount of planning and tactics useless.
Though this obviously doesn’t speak for everyone, it’s simply more exciting to watch a game that finds new ways to excite you with every match, than one which will play out the same outside of extenuating circumstances.
So what does this mean?
For League of Legends, not much. It sounds cheesy to say this, but second place is perfectly fine — especially if it’s still posting incredibly strong numbers. Nothing has suggested that the game is in decline and there’s nothing stopping it from regaining first place once the next major patch comes out. Love it or hate it, LoL looks like it will be here for the long haul.
On the other hand, this means a lot for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. As stated before, this game hasn’t even been officially released yet and it still managed to beat out League of Legends — even if only for one month. There has been several games of its ilk before, but nothing quite like PUBG. Many have sung its praises and it has been breaking records left and right, with some saying it is a shoo-in for Game of the Year.
At this point, even naysayers have to admit that PUBG is not a flash in the pan, but a genuine cultural phenomenon.