More people are watching live Fortnite streams on Friday's than many new episodes of The Walking Dead.
The popular Fortnite video game is being streamed on Twitch to millions of viewers, with Friday being its prime programming, and with the streams being bolstered by Epic Games tossing $100 million into a esport contest, the viewership is skyrocketing. According to a Forbes breakdown, the viewership is topping that of the most recent season of AMC's zombie show.
Friday Fortnite was first coined by YouTube user Keemstar, with sponsorship from UMG. It's an invite-only tournament for the game's top players where the professionals end up in a squad of four, only to be split into pairs, with each pair hunting kills and scoring a point for each elimination. Whichever duo within the squad has the most eliminations in the game wins the round. Epic Games has sweetened the stakes by hosting $20,000 tournaments.
The tournament is fueled by the entertaining personalities and next-level gameplay of players like Ninja, Myth, and Daequan. From there, countless social media accounts build their own content and memes from what they watch, which spreads the word, helping transform this into an explosive recipe for ratings.
This week, Keemstar revealed that Friday Fortnite had over 8.8 million unique viewers across all streams. Ninja's viewership was at the top, with 1.9 million tuning in a Twitch, followed by Myth's 1.1 million on Twitch, NickEh30's 1.3 million on YouTube, an TypicalGamer's 840,000 on YouTube. Some of the numbers might be skewed if viewers are jumping from stream to stream, but all of these streams combined with the entire community behind them totalled 8.8 million views.
Meanwhile, the top-rated show on cable, AMC's The Walking Dead, only had more than 8 million viewers in 6 of its 16 episodes from Season Eight. While the show reached as high as 11.44 million live viewers in its Season Eight premiere, it fell as low as 6.3 million, at one point.
With Fortnite streams catching fire in such an explosive manner, could the video game competition an the respective personalities on the streams be launching the viewership to the numbers The Walking Dead once grabbed (as high as 17 million live viewers)?
Ironically enough, the often overlooked single-player mode (the only version of the game players have to pay for to play) is a Save The World mode which pits players against zombies.
Friday Fortnite is capitalizing on all trends in the digital age. Viewers get to engage with the players as the play, their comments are read allowed, and social media buzz drives free advertising. The gamers make appearances, fans get excited, and they go head to head with other personalities who viewers familiar with the whole thing also know. On Twitch's home page for Fortnite streams, Ninja's stream often sits directly beside Myth's, encouraging viewers to jump from one stream to another as games end or the players break. Mega-stars like Drake have gotten in on the fun and famous athletes have been chiming in to the conversation.
At this point, the stormy sky is the limit for Fortnite.
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