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When pro Fortnite player Tyler “Tfue” Tenney announced his break from streaming on Twitch, we predicted that the game’s rankings on the platform would be shaken up. Now, it seems that prediction has come true as Fortnite‘s viewership on Twitch has taken a downturn following Tfue taking a break.
Tfue’s hiatus from streaming represents the latest blow to the viewership of Epic Game’s battle royale on Twitch. Back in August, superstar Fortnite streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins announced that he was leaving Twitch for Microsoft’s rival service, Mixer. Ninja was the most-viewed streamer on Twitch at the time, with Tfue taking that spot when he left.
However, Fortnite‘s decline on Twitch seems to have started before that. The game’s viewership on Twitch has actually been trending downwards since June of this year. The viewership has been going down by an average of 9% per month. Meanwhile, the number of channels livestreaming the game has also gone down. At the start of 2019, there were about 10,000 channels streaming Fortnite. Now, that number is now 4,800 channels.
Fortnite has faced a number of issues as of late that may have negatively affected its community and viewership. The B.R.U.T.E. mechs that were added earlier this summer proved to be quite divisive. With how overpowered the mechs were, a number of voices from within the community such as Marshmello and Dakotaz put Epic on blast for said mechs. One popular streamer, CourageJD, even rage quit a $400,000 tournament because of it.
Another more recent controversy with the game came with the adjustments made to its Turbo Building feature. Turbo Building allowed top players to pull off some pretty impressive feats of combat building. The change, which made it much more difficult to pull off, was negatively received by fans. The backlash went as far as causing the hashtag #RevertTurboBuilding to briefly trend worldwide on Twitter.
These all happened during a period where the game’s focus on Twitch has moved more towards esports and big money tournaments. On its own, this may have already turned off some of the game’s more casual fans. However, this focus on competitive play does put much more negative attention to the above issues.
Despite all of these issues however, the numbers do indicate that the departure of its most popular streamers may be one of the biggest factor in Fortnite‘s decline. September saw high drop in viewership, with it going down by a staggering 22.5% from August.
Now Tfue’s break should, by all indications, be a temporary one. The Fortnite pro has had a tumultuous year between legal battles with his former team FaZe Clan and saying racial slurs while livestreaming. These issues likely encouraged him to take a hiatus from streaming in general. However, he specifically called it a break, meaning that he does intend to return in the future.
Ninja’s departure on the other hand looks to be more permanent. The internet star signed a deal with Microsoft to stream exclusively on Mixer. That contract effectively locks Ninja to Mixer for the foreseeable future.
Even if Ninja does return however, he may not play as much Fortnite. His initial stream on Mixer did not feature the game at all, instead focusing on the Lollapalooza music festival. This is in line with his previous statements of wanting to move away from just being a Fortnite streamer.
Of course, the “fall” of Fornite does allow other games to slowly take over its place at the top of the Twitch heap. Other games, like WoW Classic, are poised to fill that void. Recently, WoW Classic streamer Asmongold beat out Tfue as the number one watched streamer on the service. While Asmongold only beat Tfue by a small margin, the continued decline of Fortnite‘s numbers (combined with Tfue’s hiatus), does open the door for him to retain that lead.