Starting this month, ESPN Esports will be taking a look back on the games and streamers that reigned supreme on Twitch during the past month. From the most popular games in esports to titles that appeal to more casual gamers, here are the top 10 most watched games on Twitch in the month of July.
All statistics are taken from Sullygnome, a website dedicated to tracking and analyzing viewership on Twitch.
1. League of Legends
The king of esports continues to stay king of Twitch. With over 100 million hours watched in July, Riot Games' League of Legends was leaps and bounds ahead of other games last month. A majority of the game's viewership comes from its expansive esports scene, where numerous regions around the world are in the middle of their second and final regular-season split of the year. And although esports is the main reason the game has continued its dominance on Twitch throughout the years, it's one streamer, Tyler "Tyler1" Steinkamp, who leads all League of Legends streams in terms of hours watched. Regional league playoffs in August followed by the world championship in September and October means that League won't be losing its grip on the No. 1 spot anytime soon.
In July 2019, Fortnite was by far the No. 1 game on Twitch in large because of the Fortnite World Cup. This year, with Epic Games announcing no Fortnite World Cup in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the game sits comfortably in the No. 2 position, also owning the honor of being the most-streamed game on the platform with an average of over 11,000 channels playing the cartoonish battle royale. Kyle "Bugha" Giersdorf has become a household name in the general video game scene since winning the Fortnite World Cup and comes in No. 4 for most watched Fortnite streamers in July. New NRG Esports signee Cody "Clix" Conrod leading the category in terms of viewership.
3. Grand Theft Auto V
Though the first two games make sense on paper, how is GTA V in the No. 3 spot? Whereas League of Legends and Fortnite both get updated frequently and have popular competitive scenes, GTA V has neither. Well, that's where roleplaying comes in. GTA V's roleplaying scene has been a constant on Twitch the past few years. GTA V has had peaks where it has been the hottest game on the platform, with top variety streamers showing their audience oddball characters and humorous high-stake situations from the game. More recently, it has been the top Spanish streamers who have taken over the GTA V section, with Raúl "auronplay" Álvarez Genes and Rubén "Rubius" Doblas Gundersen leading the way.
4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Modern Warfare might be the title of the section, but it's the game's free-to-play battle royale spinoff, Warzone, that has Call of Duty sitting nicely as the No. 4 most watched game on Twitch in July. Since Warzone's release in March, we've seen some of the top variety and Fortnite streamers move over to the Call of Duty battle royale, enjoying the game's more mature take on the genre that focuses more on the gunplay and less on building never-ending structures like Fortnite. Turner "Tfue" Tenney led all Fortnite streamers last year around this time, and although he still plays Fortnite occasionally on stream, his main focus has moved to Warzone, where he streamed the game for over 140 hours in July compared to only 20 hours dedicated to Fortnite.
The prevailing question around Riot's first-person shooter would be if it could remain a popular game beyond the initial hype and closed beta drops. Although its viewership numbers aren't in the millions like they were during its closed beta drop period, VALORANT has hung on to become one of the larger categories on Twitch in its fourth month on the platform. The game averaged around 75,000 to 80,000 viewers at time in June, and the game retained the same numbers in July, with more eyes moving toward the game's fledgling esports scene and streamers like TSM's Matthew "Wardell" Yu. Though it's unlikely VALORANT will ever usurp Riot's other game, League of Legends, as the No. 1 game consistently on Twitch, a growing competitive scene and an increasing number of top streamers are all positive signs that VALORANT is here to stay.
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In a similar fashion to GTA V, Minecraft is another category on Twitch that shines a light on how powerful and popular the Spanish streaming community is. A game that never truly goes out of style, it's a game that Spanish variety streamers have found great success on during July. David "TheGrefg" Cánovas Martínez leads all streamers in the section with over 2 million hours watched last month. Along with the myriad Spanish personalities streaming Minecraft, top North American variety streamers Félix "xQc" Lengyel and Matthew "Mizkif" Rinaudo brought their large fan bases to the game in July.
7. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
What happens when the second-biggest esport in the world goes on break? It slips a bit. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is usually among the top five sections on Twitch when a major tournament is happening, but July was a strange month for CS:GO. There were no tournaments, players took their breaks (some even streaming VALORANT), and Counter-Strike's viewership numbers fell. In the place of events, a plethora of scam streams -- impersonating pro players with the allure of gifting skins inside the game -- began popping up toward the top of the section. When the esports scene is grooving, Counter-Strike is one of the best categories on Twitch; during pro player breaks, as we will be until the middle of August, the section becomes a hit-or-miss affair with old streams and scam channels aplenty.
8. Dota 2
We go from one Valve game to another with Dota 2 in its normal spot in the bottom half of the top 10. While some games on this list can go out of style at the drop of a hat if a few variety streamers find something new to stream, that's not the case with Dota 2. The game is as consistent as they come on Twitch, with numbers ranging from 40,000 to 60,000 average viewers at a time. Dota 2's one big event, its world championship, which is known as The International, brings the game's average viewership to 100,000 during August. This is the month when we would normally see Dota 2 rise into the top five, but unfortunately, the championship was delayed and is now planned to take place in 2021. Still, world championship or no world championship, expect Dota 2 to once again appear in the top 10 in August due to its loyal fan base.
9. World of Warcraft
This is Asmongold's world (of warcraft) and we're only living in it. In the month of July, Asmongold's streams amassed over 6 million hours watched, with No. 2 on the list, Roberto "Towelliee" Garcia, totaling 700,000 hours. Not many sections have one streamer carry so much of the viewership, but that is specifically what Asmongold does with the World of Warcraft section. When he streams, the section is near the top of Twitch, and when he doesn't, it tends to plummet. I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention the passing of World of Warcraft legend, Byron "Reckful" Bernstein, who revolutionized streaming on Twitch in the World of Warcraft category and died in early July.
10. Apex Legends
Apex Legends was challenged by Hearthstone and Sucker Punch's new open-world game Ghost of Tsushima, but futuristic battle royale Apex Legends staved off the competition to be the final game in our top 10. Although it had very high viewership during its early days on Twitch, Apex has settled into an average of around 30,000 viewers, spiking when a new season or character is released. A main factor in the game's standing is the popularity of Apex Legends in Japan. Prominent streamers in that country like Yuta "Stylishnoob" Seki broadcast the game daily to thousands of viewers.