Mentioned in this article
Games:Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, FIFA 19, Fortnite, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, League of Legends, Magic:The Gathering Arena, Overwatch, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Rocket League, Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, World of Warcraft
Spring has been a busy time for esports leagues all around the globe. While the second quarter of 2019 has seen a few tournaments such as the Dota 2 MDL Disneyland Paris Major and the Hearthstone World Championship 2019, major esports leagues including League of Legends leagues in several regions, the second and third stage of the 2019 Overwatch League, and the 2019 Call of Duty World League generated the biggest buzz.
This seasonality of esports competition is reflected in The Esports Observer’s PC Games Impact Index for the second quarter of 2019. For a detailed breakdown of the key performance indicators that determine a game’s index score, click here to review last year’s initial Impact Index report.
The largest active player base of any game and several regional playoff series, as well as the international tournament, the Mid-Season Invitational, helped League of Legends reclaim the title of most impactful PC game in esports. In the build-up towards the Fortnite World Cup, which took place in New York’s Arthur Ashe tennis stadium in July and awarded $30M USD in prize money, Fortnite surpassed Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 to become the second most impactful esports PC game.
In April, several League of Legends spring split seasons’ playoffs took place including all major regions. The Chinese League of Legends Pro League (LPL), the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK), the League of Legends European Championship (LEC), and the North American League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) contributed to strong international viewership numbers and a significant cumulative prize pool associated with the game.
In May, Riot Games invited the best teams of each of its competitive regions to determine the strongest team after the first split of the year in the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI). The winner’s share of the $1M prize pool was taken home by LEC competitor G2 Esports, the first win for a European or American team in the official international League of Legends competitive circuit organized by Riot Games since Fnatic’s World Championship triumph in 2011.
The MSI produced 9M hours watched on Riot Games’ official Twitch channel during the event.
Worlds Hype and Star Power
Throughout the second quarter of 2019, any Fortnite player age 13 and above had the chance to qualify for the $30M Fortnite World Cup. Fortnite developer and publisher Epic Games organized a set of up to 10 qualifier tournaments per region all over the world. Those tournaments were not only streamed by the organizer itself but also by many of the competitors trying to qualify including Twitch powerhouses Turner “tfue” Tenney, Nick “NickMercs” Kolcheff, and Benjamin “DrLupo” Lupo as well as Tyler “Ninja” Blevins who left Twitch for Microsoft’s livestreaming platform Mixer on August 1.
During the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles in June, Epic Games organized the Fortnite Celebrity Pro-Am tournament for the second year in a row. The tournament proved to be less successful than its successor the previous year but still helped Fortnite rake in about 3M hours watched for the day.
Valve’s two games, index rank three Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and index rank four Dota 2, were not just among the oldest games with a strong competitive schedule but were also among the most consistent titles shaping the esports ecosystem.
While there was no Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championships tournament in Q2 2019, several high-tier tournaments and leagues took place including DreamHack Dallas 2019 and Intel Extreme Masters XIV – Sidney, both parts of the $1M endowed Intel Grand Slam.
It might just have been the “happiest place on earth” for Team Secret when the team took home the title of the first-ever Dota 2 MDL Disneyland Paris Major in May. The tournament was well-received, reaching total viewership of 6M hours watched on the main English Twitch broadcast and was even slightly more popular on the Russian-language Twitch channel at 6.1M hours watched.
Ranking in below the top 4 esports games of the quarter are the two highest-ranking Blizzard Entertainment-developed games: rank five Overwatch and rank six Hearthstone.
Steady viewership and a busy Overwatch League schedule during stage two and three of the competition accounted for rank four in esports hours watched on Twitch during Q2 2019. The combination of overall popularity with Twitch viewers and the fifth-highest amount of prize money distributed drove Overwatch’s impact index.
Hearthstone’s strong points of the quarter were a top-two player base as well as a solid viewership of which 3.1M hours watched came from the $1M Hearthstone World Championship which took place in Taipei City in late April.
Battle Royale title PLAYERUNKOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS and first-person shooter Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege both had a midfield player base, a functional esports ecosystem, and good Twitch exposure in common. In the index, the games come in on rank seven and eight, respectively.
Despite lacking an extensive esports ecosystem, World of Warcraft’s player base and popularity amongst Twitch viewers secured rank nine for the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), that was first released in 2004.
Rocket League had all-around solid numbers, helping the title to rank 10 on the index. The most notable tournament taking place during Q2 2019 was the Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) Season 7 Finals in which the joint team of Team Vitality and Renault Sport, Renault Vitality, came out on top and claimed the winner’s share of the tournament’s $530K prize pool.
Few Players, Active Esports Scene
Real-time strategy evergreen StarCraft II and first-person shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 secured ranks 11 and 12, respectively. Both games had smaller player bases but profited from an active esports scene.
Magic: The Gathering Arena, the online game adaptation of the widely popular trading card game Magic: The Gathering, found success during its soft launch climbing the ranking by 26 spots to claim rank 13 of the index.
Heroes of the Storm’s impact index took a big hit in Q1 2019 after Blizzard Entertainment announced it was canceling the Heroes of the Storm Pro League in December 2018. In the second quarter of 2019, the game managed to get back into the top 15 esports games primarily due to a solid player base.
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Editor’s note: The TEO PC Games Impact Index tier graphic displays games divided into tiers based on the Impact Index. The index is a weighted score combining six benchmarks and the tiers show how strong a game performed in all of those benchmarks. Tier 1 represents games that reach a score of 40 or higher. Tier 2 represents games that reach a score of 10 or higher. Tier 3 represents games that reach a score of 2.5 or higher.