Riot Games Topples Epic Games as Twitch's Most Popular Publisher

Epic Games has been overthrown. Riot Games is now the most-watched publisher on Twitch, according to the Streamlabs Q2 2019 Live Streaming Industry Report, which said that Fortnite's declining popularity also led to the first-ever decrease in the number of hours collectively spent on Twitch.

The report was published by Streamlabs in collaboration with the Newzoo research company. Streamlabs has a vested interest in the streaming market: the company offers numerous services meant to help streamers do everything from accept donations to set up websites. Newzoo bills itself as the "global leader in games and esports analytics," and with streaming's importance to both categories, it's also keen to monitor the market.

Let's be clear: Fortnite remains the most popular game on Twitch. Its popularity has continued to decline since Streamlabs and Newzoo published their first report in April, however, and that contributed to an overall decline in hours spent watching Twitch. The report said that quarter-over-quarter the number of hours spent watching Twitch declined 2% to 55 million as the number of hours spent streaming fell 10% to 95 million. 

Fortnite's decline also let Riot Games become the most-watched publisher on Twitch. League of Legends has always been popular--it's regularly in the top three most-popular games on the platform--and the introduction of its Teamfight Tactics spin-off helped push Riot Games past Epic Games. Blizzard Entertainment comes in with a relatively close third; then there's a significant drop-off from those publishers to the rest of the game industry.

So far as other streaming platforms go: YouTube Gaming Live's popularity grew as hours spent watching increased by 10% to 702 million, hours streamed increased 4% to 13.2 million, and the service's viewer-to-streamer ratio continued to best competitive platforms; Mixer saw "explosive growth" as hours watched increased 32% to 119 million, hours streamed rose 43% to 12 million, and number of streamers rose 37% to 1.97 million.

The report also noted the rise of another streaming platform, DLive, which gave Streamlabs exclusive access to its statistics. The platform reportedly had 34.2 million hours watched and 3.2 million hours streamed across 147,573 channels in the second quarter of 2019. That's not a bad debut, but it's worth noting it was inflated by DLive being the exclusive streaming platform used by "PewDiePie," the second-most popular YouTuber.

We said in April that Streamlabs and Newzoo's report showed that the streaming market could still change despite the seeming insurmountability of Fortnite and Twitch. This followup makes that even clearer. They're both leading the market, sure, but other games and platforms have managed to grow in popularity while their leaders declined. David and several of his Average Joe counterparts are getting swole while Goliath falls out of shape.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.