Twitch Rivals celebrated the launch of Riot Games’ new free-to-play tactical shooter VALORANT over the weekend with a competition across eight different regions—and the game’s first esports event led the title’s viewership on the platform over the weekend.
With an eclectic assortment of Twitch personalities and professional competitors from an array of shooting games, the Twitch Rivals channel had 736,812 viewers over the past three days, leading the VALORANT category and almost doubling the second most-watched channel.
The channel’s 37 hours of airtime led it to an average of 20,666 viewers, according to Twitch statistics website SullyGnome. That doesn’t include viewership on alternate language broadcasts like twitchrivals_es and twitchrivals_fr.
Meanwhile, some of the top competitors for the event, like Hiko, TSM’s Myth, and Aceu, all posted sizable hours watched times for the weekend while they competed in the North American portion of the tournament.
So far, there haven’t been any personality-driven channels that have stuck out for VALORANT following the game’s official release. While streamers like TimTheTatman and Summit1g drew massive audiences for the VALORANT closed beta, many top content creators are playing other games now that the game has gone live.
Since the game’s release last week, TwitchRivals is the most-watched channel on Twitch and no channel has produced more than one million hours watched. Instead, the platform’s top content creators, like Tyler1, Summit1g, and xQc, are all playing various games other than VALORANT.
The trend of top content creators playing a variety of games or streaming Just Chat stems from an evolution of Twitch that's developed over the past couple of years. Prior to the booming success of the battle royale genre and the entrance of “Just Chatting” as a form of entertainment, games like CS:GO were one of the best ways for content creators to reel in viewers.
But the formats of newer games have become increasingly streamer-friendly. With personality-driven entertainment becoming more of a key for top streamers, playing games that allow them to interact with their audience has made battle royales more appealing to content creators.
While CS:GO is still one of the most-watched forms of content on Twitch, it’s much more reliant on its status as an established esports powerhouse to generate viewership for high-profile events like Majors.
With VALORANT having a nearly-identical game pace and format to CS:GO, the game could be on track to have a similar fate. Though the game attracted record levels of attention and viewership during its beta launch, as content creators move to more streamer-friendly games, the title’s personality-driven viewership could suffer. This would open the door for more esports-centric events to attract attention to the game, like Twitch Rivals’ tournament over the weekend.
It’s still too early to truly know what the fate of VALORANT will be as a Twitch category, but it seems to be clear that it won’t have the same sort of massive popularity on the platform that its close beta suggested it might. With organizations beginning to form competitive rosters, however, the potential for the game to have success as an esport suggests it won’t fade into irrelevance.
Though this weekend was just a small taste of what sort of potential VALORANT has as an esport, the coming months will provide a better picture of what fans can expect from the game as a spectator esport moving forward.