League of Legends has regained its position above Fortnite Battle Royale, as a report shows that it is Twitch's most-watched game of 2019. The MOBA rode a surge of popularity in early 2019 and high event viewership month-to-month while at the same time Fortnite saw some of its lowest monthly numbers yet. The two swapped positions compared to the first half of 2018, when Fortnite led League of Legends by a similar viewership margin.
According to Esports Observer's report, League of Legends saw a total viewership between January 1, 2019 and June 30, 2019 of 512.3 million hours. Over the same timeframe, Fortnite's viewership totaled 465 million hours. The relatively young "Just Chatting" category took the third spot with 372.5 million hours, followed by Grand Theft Auto 5, Dota 2, Apex Legends, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Some of Fortnite's decline can be attributed to the release of Apex Legends, which had a brief stint as Twitch's most popular game but ultimately lost a significant portion of its audience over time. However, Fortnite's decline can't be attributed entirely to Apex Legends. Fortnite's top streamer, Ninja, struggled to match the same numbers he reached in 2018 during March through June, after Apex Legends had lost some steam.
League of Legends, however, seems to have found new life on Twitch following success at 2018's World Championship. The MOBA's viewership spikes significantly with the start of each week's European LEC and North American LCS matches. It's also worth noting that these numbers are from before the launch of League of Legends' Auto Chess competitor Teamfight Tactics (which has its own Twitch directory). If the new mode retains its current popularity, the second half of 2019 will be very strong for the whole League of Legends brand.
The value of Twitch viewership as a metric for success and popularity remains dubious. Certain games, particularly fast-paced multiplayer games, appeal to a crowd in a way that other genres cannot despite their own success. Nevertheless, Twitch success is seen as valuable by certain communities, the media, and video game publishers. It's not controversial to say that Apex Legends' initial success can be attributed in large part to its Twitch marketing and subsequent popularity.
As for whether Twitch viewership can be used to make any predictions, that's another matter entirely. Neither League of Legends nor Fortnite is likely to be going away any time soon.
Fortnite is available now on Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One, and mobile devices. League of Legends is available now on PC.
Source: Esports Observer