World War Z’s Twitch viewership has –rather predictably– sunk like a stone since its initial launch two days ago. After peaking at 133,000 concurrent viewers, over 80% of the audience has since disappeared. The sudden drop has meant one Epic Games Store developer’s gloating tweet hasn’t aged very well.
Saber Interactive’s World War Z video game stirred up controversy last month as the publisher opted to switch PC launch clients. Just months away from launch, what had previously been a Steam-listed game suddenly became an Epic Games Store exclusive.
It isn’t the first high-profile case of a AAA video game suddenly switching clients and ruffling the feathers of gamers in the process. Earlier in 2019, 4A Games and Deep Silvers’ Metro Exodus did the same, joining a number of other publishers also opting to ditch Valve’s Steam.
Ironically, the arrival of Epic’s PC client was initially praised by customers, who approved of the fairer revenue split between client and developer revenue share and welcomed a bit of healthy competition to Valve’s monopoly of the market. But that approval has quickly diminished as Epic has aggressively sought third-party exclusivity deals, upsetting customers who feel forced to use a client that doesn’t offer the same functionality as Steam, and often sells games at higher prices.
You can imagine the reaction, then, when Epic’s Chief of Publishing Strategy Sergey Galyonkin took to Twitter on Tuesday to announce that World War Z was sitting in third place as the most watched game on Twitch and that three of the games in the top 10 were Epic Games Store exclusives. The caption to his ‘data’ read “welcome to the multi-store world.”
Reddit certainly wasn’t impressed, calling the claims “bias” and “unsubstantiated.” What’s more, almost inevitably the day-one interest in World War Z has seen the game’s Twitch presence fade almost to irrelevance within 48 hours. At the time of writing, World War Z is being watched by just over two thousand people. Quite the drop.
Notably, statistic site GitHyp claims that Saber Interactive actually paid some of Twitch’s top streamers to play World War Z on its second day to help keep viewership numbers from declining. If that’s true then Galyonkin’s Tweet is likely to leave an even more sour taste in the mouth of disgruntled PC gamers.