Since at least 2014, Twitch was the League of Legends network. Sure, nearly every game has an audience on the livestreaming platform, but League of Legends was the biggest draw … until PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. For the first time since at least 2014, Riot Games’ megapopular multiplayer online battle arena was not the most viewed game on Twitch over a month-long period. Instead, the surging Battlegrounds from Bluehole Studio has taken that spot with its dramatic last-person-standing action, according to Twitch viewership-tracking firm Gamoloco.
Battlegrounds is on a rampage to the top of nearly every popularity metric in the gaming industry. It has already topped Dota 2 in terms of concurrent players on Steam, which is a feat no other game has accomplished in six years. This comes after Bluehole has sold 8 million copies since launching under the Early Access program for unfinished games in March. Battlegrounds is still the No.1 bestseller on Steam worldwide, and it hasn’t even seen a discount or its first holiday. So expect Battlegrounds to keep getting bigger in unprecedented ways.
For the 1st time since we started monitoring Twitch data in 2014, League didn't rank #1 across a full month, dethroned as it was by PUBG. pic.twitter.com/wzd3fPKVBR
— GAMOLOCO (@Gamoloco) September 1, 2017
Battlegrounds’ success on Twitch and Steam sales are closely linked. As more people view the shooter on Amazon’s video site, it’s likely that many people are choosing to pick up the game to participate in the fun. It helps that Battlegrounds is easy to watch and understand even for people who have never even tried it. The goals and threats are all clear — you want your character to outlast the 99 other competitors and you have to avoid them and an ever-growing hazardous zone to win.
On top of that clarity, Battlegrounds supports emergent moments of hilarity and terror. Sometimes those even happen at the same time.
At GamesBeat, we’ve even seen the thirst for Battlegrounds content on Twitch. Our PUBG Family Dinner events that bring together developers into custom matches has attracted several thousand unique viewers.
Finally, esports was crucial to Battlegrounds topping League of Legends on Twitch. In mid-August, Bluehole held its first official tournament at the Gamescom fan event in Germany. That drew tens of thousands of simultaneous viewers, which is similar to what League does during its pro competitions.
So Bluehole is hitting on all fronts. It has a game that is selling well, that people love playing, and that they want to watch both as an esport and as casual entertainment. Why don’t all games just do that?