Chess is More Popular Than Overwatch in Twitch Viewership

by in Entertainment | Mar, 16th 2021

Chess has really had a bit of a Twitch renaissance as far as viewership goes, so much in fact that it has defeated Overwatch! It’s not the only huge game Chess has conquered either. It’s got a higher viewership than Modern Warfare, Black Ops, and R6 Siege. It’s a really interesting thing to discover, and there are probably some solid reasons why. No updates, no (or fewer perhaps) hackers, and major names in esports picking it up sure helps. We also have Grandmasters of the game who regularly stream matches. At the end of the day, Chess, a thousand+-year-old game is climbing the Twitch ladder.

Queen’s Gambit to PogChamps 3

Part of this success has to be attributed to the Netflix series Queen’s Gambit, focused heavily around chess. Chess has seen peaks of about 370,000 on Twitch, and with numbers like that, it’s no surprise it’s overtaking Overwatch in Twitch viewership. You also have to consider how stale Overwatch feels right now. With no more characters coming until Overwatch 2, it has to make fans a little disappointed that there’s not going to be anything cool added to the game other than events. Maybe buffs/nerfs?

You’ve also got major esports organizations picking up Chess Grandmasters like Hikaru Nakamura. TwitchTracker itself places Chess at #20, with a daily average viewership on Twitch of 22-23k whereas Overwatch is at 26. Some think it’s because of COVID-19, which slowed down esports competition in virtually every game. That’s probably fair, since Chess has been online for years, and did not seem to slow down in this last year. It’s only really gone up reliably.

There was also the titanic PogChamps 3 event, which had some of the biggest names in streaming taking part. Cr1tikal, Ludwig, CodeMiko, Mr. Beast are just some of the examples. There were also rappers like Logic and actors such as  Rainn Wilson (The Office). It brought in quite a lot of eyes for some Chess action and featured the biggest and best names in livestreaming.

Honestly, Chess doesn’t show any signs of slowing. It’s a game of true skill and talent, requiring more strategy than any other competitive game on Twitch. The Overwatch League starting late this year isn’t doing it any favors with Twitch viewership, letting Chess continue to climb the ladder of popularity. If Chess keeps this trend up, it could be in the top 15 (or higher!) games on Twitch before too long. Hopefully this isn’t just a fad that goes away, but it doesn’t seem like it will be. We’re glad to see a classic game from our youth become so wildly popular, that’s for sure.


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