The traditional gaming was always an important part of Twitch. A large number of interesting releases took place in 2019, allowing us to compose the top of the platform's most viewed newcomers over the last year.
The most watched title of 2019 was the new battle royale, Apex Legends. Starting its run on February 4th, the game has finished the year with 175 million hours watched – while the runner-up title has 51% less visibility.
By industry's standards, Apex Legends has been unconventional since its very launch. There was no big announcement at some exhibition or anything like that. Instead, the shooter avoided any extra hype; it has simply launched and that was it.
However, the players have welcomed the decisions of the developers with open arms since the very first days. The developers, being the legendary trend-setters of FPS genre they are, have updated the battle royale genre as well – introducing features such as respawn of allies. Some of the features of Apex Legends were subsequently adopted even by Epic Games themselves.
The game will officially begin its full-fledged esports career in 2020. The first season of Global Series was already announced by the publishers and will include a number of large-scale championships across the world – which will help the shooter to stay relevant.
The autobattler genre is also worth noting, as the popularity of this new format has literally exploded in the beginning of 2019. The genre was started by the Dota 2 mod known as Dota Auto Chess. It became the audience's favorite almost immediately, but not for too long.
TeamFight Tactics was without a doubt the most outstanding autobattler. It was the Riot Games' own spin on the genre, which literally blew up the Twitch. This mode has managed to collect 84 million hours watched over the last year, becoming the platform's second most popular newcomer.
By the way, the service's employees took so much interest in the game that they combined forces with its developers and organized the Twitch Rivals competition soon after the game's release. Gathering the most popular streamers, this event became the second most popular one out of the entire Rivals series.
The genre's founder itself can be found in the second part of our top. The game from Drodo Studio has arrived the PC market way too late, as the developers have concentrated on the mobile version first. When the PC release has arrived a few months later, the fans have already lost interest in the game.
There's another representative of this genre to be found in top ten newcomers. Valve's game became the 10th based on the hours watched: Dota Underlords has collected a total of 10 million hours.
In this case we can see diametrically opposite approaches to game promotion: whereas TFT has relied on the constant advertisement from the most popular Twitch streamers, Underlords was literally left to its own devices. This is why since the very beginning Dota Underlords had no chance to reach its main rival's popularity.
The most hyped newcomer of the previous year became a bit of disappointment. The viewability of Death Stranding reaches 13 million hours watched. To compare, Pokémon Sword/Shield (a more casual game) has managed to reach 30 million hours.
The critical response about the game has been largely ambivalent. One part of the audience was not too happy about Hideo Kojima's new creation – while the other part has appreciated the game's uniqueness, producing a bunch of flattering reviews.
When it comes to the mainstream games – such as the classic shooter Call of Duty: Modern Warfare – the results are much more impressive. The legends of industry from Infinity Ward have managed to return the series to its former glory, allowing it to collect whopping 44 millions hours watched over the course of several months.
While already strong enough, game's position may be further enhanced in 2020 given that the main esports league COD Pro League will now include this particular version of the shooter. We are confident that this will lead Modern Warfare to the top part of Twitch's popularity ranking.
As it can be seen, the past year was quite interesting when it came to the new game releases. Although some titles did not live to the expectations of fans, they still had a big impact on the overall game popularity ranking in 2019.