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XDefiant character holding a weapon and aiming at an opponent off screen.
Image via Ubisoft

XDefiant’s beta viewership proves it could be the next major CoD competitor

A new challenger is definitely emerging.

After a long wait as Ubisoft worked on the game behind closed doors, the multiplayer first-person shooter XDefiant has finally arrived via a closed beta—and it’s fired a warning shot across the bow of a titanic competitor in Call of Duty.

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In a similar vein to how Riot garnered attention for VALORANT up against a colossus in Counter-Strike back in 2020, Ubisoft is leaning heavily on former pro players, influencers, and closed beta access Twitch drops to get the word out. So far, things are going as planned, with XDefiant outpacing Call of Duty on Twitch when it comes to viewership.

Between Saturday, April 15, and Tuesday, April 18, XDefiant has amassed roughly 2.8 million hours watched on Twitch, averaged over 38,000 viewers, and came less than 200 viewers away from reaching the 100,000 max viewer mark, according to data from SullyGnome. In contrast, Modern Warfare 2 is sitting at just 2 million hours watched and over 28,000 average viewers, and it’s worth noting those numbers are inflated by official Call of Duty League matches (almost a quarter of the hours watched are from Scump’s co-stream alone).

Even at the time of writing, there are more people currently watching XDefiant (over 40,000) than both MW2 and Warzone 2 combined (less than 30,000) on Twitch.

Of course, given that players can earn both closed beta access and in-game cosmetics just by watching on Twitch, viewership numbers for XDefiant are going to get a big boost. Additionally, there is a plethora of deep-rooted Call of Duty streamers who are playing the closed beta, meaning that CoD’s numbers are going to go down.

But XDefiant is also capitalizing on a great deal of apathy and disappointment toward Call of Duty after a lackluster season three launch last week. Many players have expressed their frustration with the small amount of new content and significant changes, giving XDefiant the opportunity to capitalize.

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Image of Scott Robertson
Scott Robertson
VALORANT lead staff writer, also covering CS:GO, FPS games, other titles, and the wider esports industry. Watching and writing esports since 2014. Previously wrote for Dexerto, Upcomer, Splyce, and somehow MySpace. Jack of all games, master of none.