Apex Legends retakes Twitch crown over battle royale rivals Fortnite, Warzone

Wraith from Apex Legends punches over Twitch logo.Respawn Entertainment / Twitch

Apex Legends has claimed its latest victory over arch-rivals Warzone and Fortnite, returning to the Twitch streaming throne as the most-watched battle royale following a pile-on Call of Duty exodus and Respawn’s popular Season 10 release in late July.

Respawn’s battle royale, Apex Legends, looked like it had lost the Twitch streaming war to Warzone and other heavyweight rivals as we headed into the new year.

Despite retaining much of its popularity in-game, boosted along by Legend debuts and blockbuster seasons, the character-fuelled battle royale had slipped down the ladder on Twitch, often losing out to its Call of Duty arch-rival, as well as genre veteran PUBG and Epic’s crossover-heavy Fortnite.

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That was flipped on its head, however, in July this year.

Apex Legends stormed back to the top of Twitch with a vengeance, reversing its extraordinarily poor year ⁠— it wasn’t among the top ten battle royales ⁠— to jump a whopping 270 million hours watched between July and late September.

The reversal pushed Respawn’s battle royale above all the non-mobile competition, clearing the category average by a mighty 137m hours on its way to the top.

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Apex Legends streaming category on Twitch.Screenshot via Twitch
The Respawn battle royale enjoyed one of its best ever quarters on Twitch between July and September.

The major driving force behind Apex Legends’ rise was its battle royale nemesis, Activision’s Call of Duty Warzone; the more realistic title ⁠(design and gunplay-wise, at least) just suffered a few horror months.

The main problem was a wave of Warzone hackers.

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These game-breaking players drove CoD fans and stars away from Verdansk en masse, into the waiting arms of Apex Legends. Several high profile streamer defections, including Nick “NICKMERCS” Kolcheff, Tim “TimTheTatman” Betar, and Jack “CouRage” Dunlop, seemed to put the nail in Warzone’s coffin.

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Even Dr Disrespect, streaming over on YouTube, swore off Warzone and returned to Kings Canyon and World’s Edge to boost the battle royale’s streaming popularity.

NICKMERCS sparked a Warzone exodus that spiked Apex Legends’ viewers on Twitch.

Interestingly, Apex Legends actually managed to avoid a downward trend that recently hit many other battle royales. While Warzone, Fortnite, and PUBG were all lashed with a dip in average viewership, Respawn’s title shone.

Behind Apex Legends was PUBG Mobile, which was watched across 247m hours during the period of Stream Hatchet’s quarterly report. Fortnite racked up 246m, down on previous numbers, and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang rounded out the top ten with 240m hours. Warzone didn’t crack the top spots.

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Apex did fall behind one battle royale adversary, however; mobile-bound Garena Free Fire totally dominated stats until September with 326m hours.

Crafting Metals Apex LegendsRespawn Entertainment
Apex Legends beat out every non-mobile battle royale competitor.

The hierarchy on Twitch has defaulted back to the norm a little more since the end of September, with Warzone managing a slight lift off the back of the release of its Season 6 patch, complete with one final Verdansk update.

Apex still holds top spot, however. At the time of publishing, the battle royale boasts 88.4k live viewers, ahead of Warzone (45.1k) and Fortnite (44.6k).

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