Stats Saturday! eSports Interest and Viewership by Game

Stats Saturday! eSports Interest and Viewership by Game

August 15, 2015

Time for some fun with Google Trends!

Here’s a comparison between the worldwide search interest for these video game eSports titles:

View full report in Google Trends

As expected League of Legends has been smashing everyone since early 2011. StarCraft 2 which holds a special place in my heart saw a drastic dip in interest in late 2010. SC2 isn’t going to be doing mind blowing numbers anymore, but there’s steady interest and it’s a specific older demo with more disposable income.

The relationship between CS:GO and DOTA 2 has always interested me, earlier this year CS:GO overtook DOTA 2 in google search traffic. The DOTA 2 playerbase is still larger but CS:GO has caught up substantially. Based on my anecdotal experience it seems the playerbases of the two games overlap. That’s backed up by a recent blog post from twitch showing the relationship between viewing audiences of specific titles:

From that article:

In this map, each circle is a specific channel on Twitch. The lines between channels represent the amount of overlap between the audiences of those channels; each time a specific viewer watched two different channels during the time period this data draws from, it makes the connection between those channels a little stronger.
Source: Visual Mapping of Twitch and Our Communities, ‘Cause Science!

Twitch had a really comprehensive stats page at that they’ve taken down but in it’s place we have

There’s also this list: Top Games on Twitch in July 2015

Twitch Top Games for July 2015 (By Total Minutes Watched)

Back to the google trends data, let’s go old school and add ‘Counter-Strike’ which includes all versions of the game, for this we have to set the date range back to 2004:

One thing is for sure: This data is incomplete!

Developers have finally caught on to the incredible value per marketing dollar and self-sustaining interest provided by promoting a healthy competitive scene. The longest lasting eSports of all time were Counter-Strike 1.6 followed by StarCraft:BroodWar. The popularity of League of Legends today with the viewership numbers, selling out staples center in minutes, teams worth 7 figures is something we’ve never seen before. Still, with no support from developers/publishers and in some cases resistance those communities thrived and events continued for over a decade.

Fighting games like street fighter/supersmash brothers and old arcade games like donkey kong also had long lasting communities with no external support.

It seems that specific titles have a limited lifespan determined by a variety of factors. Can a publisher attempt to design a title around being an eSport? DreamCatcher Interactive tried and failed with PainKiller in 2004. The CPL, the primary yearly LAN competition at the time, bumped CS 1.6 and other games in favor of PainKiller. More recently Ubisoft tried with Shootmania, a quake-style first person shooter that on paper seemed perfect for a competitive scene but never gained traction.

It’s clear there are intangibles we don’t fully understand at play, as a publisher or developer the best you can do is put the tools in place (competitive matchmaking system, spectator system, replay system etc) to best support a thriving competitive ecosystem.

Data Source: Google Trends (