Whether it’s a guy just hanging out in his bedroom playing a game, or a live feed from a huge arena where thousands of spectators have gathered to see a major tournament, live streams on Twitch have been able to get thousands upon thousands of concurrent viewers.
This past January, over one million people tuned in to see the finals of the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Eleague Major. With all of the traffic that comes their way, many Twitch streamers have been able to assist games from having no following at all to being able to sell millions of units. In this feature, we are going to go through 10 games that were made popular by Twitch shown through the beginnings of each game, how Twitch streamers helped advertise the games, and where they stand today. In no particular order, here are 10 games that can in part credit their success to being live streamed on Twitch.
This post was originally authored by Ian Gibson.
This hyper-realistic first person shooter initially released with no real advertising or fanfare. With it being on the more expensive end of early access games, the price of entry was too high for those who were not familiar with the game and what it had to offer. That all changed when bigger streamers got a hold of this game, showing their thousands of fans how not all first person shooters needed to be mindless to be fun.
The best streamers that showcased this were those who role-played in their combat scenarios, using realistic chatter and tactics to help them win their matches. After these were shown to the viewers, the game grew a considerable amount. According to Twitch, as of July of 2016, streams of Squad have accounted for over 10% of the game’s total sales.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
When this iteration of Counter Strike was first released, it had nowhere near the amount of players as it does today. This is mostly because of the game originally having a terrible reception, due to Valve changing movement mechanics that players of previous versions of the game had grown accustomed to, along with developing it first on consoles. The community was small, tournaments would only get a few thousand viewers if that, and there were no weapon skins.
When Valve started updating the game with weapon skins, fixing gameplay issues, and started implementing the huge major tournaments, Twitch was able to bring the game from a small niche to a household name. Two kinds of streams in particular made the game huge: the aforementioned tournaments and gambling streams. With gambling streams, streamers would broadcast themselves betting skins on a variety of websites made exclusively for that “currency.” However, the amount of viewers that attended these kinds of streams had greatly decreased within the past year due to Valve cracking down on websites that would inadvertently allow minors to gamble.
With these kinds of streams fading, thousands of viewers can now be seen tuning into streams of their favorite professional players to pick up on tips and tricks to help improve their skills.
A third person MOBA, Smite had a very rocky introduction when it was first released. When people heard that some company combined a MOBA with a third person perspective, many were very put off by the idea. However, with the ability to go on Twitch and watch live streams of the game, many viewers ended up at least playing the game, since it is free-to-play. Since its release, it has also garnered a popular competitive scene, with the prize pool of this year’s Smite World Championship having a prize pool of $1 million dollars.
This first person survival game was first released in 2015, and while it did have a smaller niche audience, it had nothing near the following it does today because of Twitch. Lirik, one of the biggest streamers on the site, had his fans collectively vote for him to play this title. After he played it and showcased the game to his thousands of viewers, sales skyrocketed for the game. It is estimated by Twitch itself that it is responsible for 10% of the total sales of Hurtworld. And with just over half a million copies sold since launch, that’s not too shabby.
This game came out of nowhere and, with the help of a variety of huge Twitch streamers, has stayed consistently in the top three of most viewed games since its initial release in March of this year. To market this Battle Royale styled game, the developers at Bluehole held a series of closed betas in the weeks before it arrived on Steam. Giving the game to top streamers to play it live, thousands of people were first shown this game before they could buy it for themselves.
After seeing the tight combat and crazy action live, they tried to get access to the game before it was released. When it was put into early access, it already had a huge following from the Twitch streams, and has since sold over two million copies. With regular patches and content updates being the norm since March and the community growing at a rapid pace, PUBG doesn’t look like it’s going to be dethroned as one of the biggest streaming games anytime soon.
Another first/third person survival title, there was a good week or so that Conan Exiles was consistently on the most viewed list on Twitch when it was released this past January. With the developers at Funcom giving this game to the biggest streamers and compensating them for the advertising, this game got a lot of attention extremely quickly. However, the player count and sales have died down since release for Exiles mainly due to the absence of quick fixes to game-breaking bugs, balance issues, and the fact that big Twitch streamers rarely play it anymore.
League of Legends
With live streams of the major tournaments of this huge MOBA getting over 500 thousand viewers, it is undeniable that Twitch has been a great platform for League of Legends. Even when the huge arenas aren’t filled with rabid fans for the tournaments put on by the developers at Riot Games, you can always count on the game to bring in thousands of views, giving newer players exposure to this free-to-play juggernaut.
H1Z1: King of the Kill
Starting out as a side project of a zombie survival game called H1Z1, King of the Kill took over Twitch when it was first released as it was one of the original hits in the Battle Royale genre. As streamers flocked to this game for its arcadey action and tense PvP, viewers consistently tuned in to see if their favorite streamer would be the last one standing and win a match, a very difficult task to say the least. While its presence on Twitch is not as strong as it once was with the release of the previous games on this list, the game garners thousands of players a day and has a very strong community. Having sold over four million copies and consistently being one of the most played games on Steam on a daily basis, this game doesn’t seem like this giant will be fading anytime soon.
A first person Battle Royale styled game, Twitch has stated that about 25% of the total sales are due to people watching this title on their platform. With this game focusing almost exclusively on melee combat, many streamers would get themselves into very tense situations that would have their thousands of viewers on the edge of their computer chairs. Bigger streamers were given this title for free along with money to promote it, and the community that blossomed was very solid. For a while, that is.
Currently, The Culling does not have a huge player count, as updates are scarce and most players who want intense Battle Royale matches have moved on to games that are also on this list.
Dead By Daylight
An early access smash hit that is soon to be released on consoles, Dead By Daylight saw a huge boost in sales after Twitch streamers got hold of the game. Being able to stream with other fellow streamers while playing this asymmetric multiplayer game also helped with getting its name out there. It pits four players against one, and the human characters must work together if they want to escape the clutches of the fifth player, who just happens to play one of a variety of murderous monsters.
The hilarious moments seen on Twitch streams were endless, especially when streamers would go ballistic in very tense moments of matches. Having sold well over one million units already on PC, Dead By Daylight is looking to duplicate it’s success on the console front as well.