Gaming has lots of dimensions. On one layer, people love playing games — obviously. Then, players compete in multiplayer titles. And also, there is a dimension where gamers just watch others playing.
Fighting games are certainly about playing and competing. So, what about streaming? Watching someone on Twitch playing your favorite fighting game is both entertaining and educational. While having fun, you wonder how miraculous the streamer’s performance is. At the same time, you absorb those tricks into your personal playing style, becoming a better player yourself.
That happens in a perfect theory. But what about the facts of reality? Does the fighting games community have a decent representation in the world of live streaming as other genres have?Let’s use Twitch stats from January-October, 2021 to figure out! The numbers have been collected from the platform Streams Charts.
In general, this information on the most popular games and personalities on Twitch is pretty useful. It helps to understand trends within the community and make various decisions in your playing/competing/viewing experience.
The Trend of Accessibility. Smash Ultimate
There are a lot of deeply dedicated players who love their super moves having the most difficult inputs imaginable. Surprisingly, the wide gaming audience prefers much more accessible types of fun…
Wait a moment! It is not surprising at all. So many people play fighting games to have fun, caring not about complicated stuff. Stats for the Super Smash Bros. series prove that.
Hungrybox is the most popular fighting games streamer.
It turns out that accessibility can bring to fights some popular streamers from outside the fighting games community. And they easily demonstrate impressive numbers.
Cr1TiKaL streams all sorts of stuff, having also Smash Ultimate sessions. And he is the second most popular Smash streamer on Twitch, with 1,381,146hours watched.
Another interesting aspect of accessibility is how it can bring local streams to the world ranking.
Gackt is a Japanese guy who streams in his language. For sure, fighting games are especially popular in Japan, and still, Gackt's Twitch statistics are impressive. His SSBU channel has 650,639 hours watched.
Dragon Ball FighterZ: on the Verge of Accessibility
It is definitely impossible to bring the recipe of success for a fighting game to just one factor. Accessibility is only a surface for so many players. Still, the deeper we go into the mechanics, the fewer active players/viewers remain.
And please, get me right, Smash is pretty deep (try and compare it to Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl). That depth is covered by the layer of splashy fun, so the general gaming audience is not scared by the unnecessary early complexity.
Other games use the same formula, bringing more traditional fighting challenges to the scene. Dragon Ball FighterZ is one of such titles. And yeah, it uses the other factor to make the success possible — brings popular characters to the fights. It is Dragon Ball, after all.
This mix of accessibility, potential complexity, and the franchise’s popularity allows DBFZ to compete among the top most popular fighting games on Twitch.
Maximilian Dood is one of the brightest community influencers. He streams DBFZ and has 1,026,314 hours watched.
Bum1six3 plays Dragon Ball FighterZ a lot. His channel is second for this game, with 771,496 h.w.
Eduardo_Hook (or HookGangGod) is a professional DBFZ player for Panda. His streams of this game got 340,738 h.w.
“Neverending” Classic of the Genre: Street Fighter V
Most of the concepts around popular fighting games on Twitch fell apart in the case of Street Fighter. The phenomenon here is unique — the game is a kind of art, and even those who do not play SF actively take their time to watch streams of prominent personalities.
Street Fighter V is a difficult game. It’s far away from the very concept of accessibility. Want to get good at it even on a minimal level? Then be prepared to practice many hours and get used to torture-like inputs and precise timing of combos.
SFV is so tricky! People want to enjoy the company of those heroes who managed to master it up to such a level. According to Streams Charts, big names of the Street Fighter world gather quite an audience.
Daigo Umehara. He is the Beast and the Legend. We are blessed to witness many streams of this guy and learn from his exceptional dedication. Daigo has 1,010,519 hours watched on his channel.
Have you noticed how the biggest channels of Twitch Street Fighter are by Japanese guys? Do you remember I mentioned the popularity of this genre in that country? So, probably, it’s time to take a look at another super popular Japanese fighting game that manages to have a response in the hearts of western players — Tekken.
The game is not simple despite taking some steps towards accessibility. But also, Tekken is totally not over-complicated. It even has a specific fun atmosphere with all those extraordinary costumes for the fighters.
Еру щverall performance of Tekken 7 on Twitch is decent. The long tradition of the series obviously supports high interest in the game. The community already knows the characters as famous personalities. And the balance of easy-to-enjoy and hard-to-master is nicely elaborated.
pacific8815 has the biggest Tekken 7 channel on Twitch. His streams accumulated 795,530 hours watched.
TheMainManSWE is a channel with the main focus on Tekken. Unlike other guys щn our list, The Main Man has English streams. His result is 572,567 h.w.
lowhigh92 completes our Top 3 of Tekken 7 streamers. His channel has 522,786 hours watched.
Bloody Stability of Mortal Kombat
This game definitely had its ups, but now MK11 is closer to a stable down. No official support for the title makes it steadily fade away. Everyone waits for the next NFS project.
But apart from this, Mortal Kombat is traditionally a super popular fighting game in the Western World. Even at the end of its lifespan, MK11 has some good numbers.
A F0xy Grampa shakes the whole community with his unique style of playing and streaming. His Twitch channel has 482,747 h.w., becoming the best for MK11.
Serious_Hitman is a Russian channel that streams MK11. The result is 365,500.
johnnyinthedark is another Mortal Kombat channel for Russian-speaking viewers. The streamer has 236,529 hours watched.
Brawlhalla: Beyond Reward Hunting
All the attempts to bring classifications into game streaming stumble over the unpredictability of human nature. Often, people just love playing/watching that game, regardless of all the accessibility/popularity/depth reasoning. We can try and distinguish some common trends, but they never can give you a full understanding of what fighting games players love and why.
Brawlhalla is a pretty interesting case. On the one hand, it’s almost as accessible as SSBU and has a lot of advanced mechanics, which make it sort of similar to DBFZ. On the other hand, the audience of non-official Brawlhalla streams is significantly smaller than of the other top fighting games (both platformer and classic).
Official esports streams give rewards to the viewers. Those cosmetics really motivate people to watch streams and allow the channel (and the game) to set some records. Let’s check out the situation with Brawlhalla beyond this reward hunting.
PavelskiBH — this guy is a pro player and the biggest Brawlhalla content creator on Twitch. His channel has 831,111 h.w. The gap between him and the next Top streamer is quite significant.
KoalaCrockie — this Brawlhalla channel got 262,873 hours watched.
EstacaoBH — another professional player has his Brawlhalla channel grown to the Top 3 level, having 239,204 h.w.
Mix. Beyond "Primary" Titles
It is so tempting to take raw numbers and create a general chart of top streamers. But mixing fighting games in this way is almost a crime. They are too different and can’t be compared. Here are a few examples from Streams Chartsof how relatively small numbers mean a lot and how old games may break records.
dekillsage has 134,355 hours watched for streaming Skull Girls. It’s a long-existing game with a limited player base. Having such a result is an achievement. Even SonicFox got 18,740 h.w. with it.
mistermv is a French channel with all sorts of games. You can find here Ultra Street Fighter 4 (!) with 22,060 hours watched. Is it an immortal classic or something?
mang0 streams Super Smash Bros. Melee and has more hours watched than many modern fighting games — 1,776,908.
TeamSp00ky is a big fighting games channel that proves the sustainability of Melty Blood: Type Lumina, having 69,492 hours watched for this game. It’s a decent number, considering the release on September 30 and how niche the project is.
We love competition in fighting games, but this specific area has too many side factors to proclaim someone a winner. Still, you totally can compare numbers of streamers in a particular title or have a general understanding of how the games are doing in general.
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