A mass exodus away from Hearthstone is happening on Youtube and Twitch right now as content creators continue to fall in love with the new auto chess genre. Some of Hearthstone's biggest names including Dog, Firebat, Kripp, Savjz, and DisguisedToast have spent more time playing Team Fight Tactics and Dota:Underlords this month than they have Hearthstone.
It isn't surprising that Hearthstone players are transitioning into the auto chess genre. There is a lot of overlap between the two, and while auto chess isn't card game per se, the flow of turns and level of strategy involved certainly scratches the same itch. Without a title of their own to compete in the genre, Blizzard ought to be very worried about the impact these games are having on Hearthstone.
The impact that Twitch has on the success of modern games can not be overstated. Streamers have an enormous amount of power to influence the perception of how popular and successful a game is, thus impacting how popular and successful the game actually is. Publishers and developers know this: during the first week of Apex Legends, EA paid Twitch streamers millions to play the game exclusively, and when EA's stock dipped last week, the Twitch viewership for Apex Legends was blamed. Having strong viewership on Twitch is extremely important to the health of a game.
Admittedly, Hearthstone's popularity ebbs and flows as expansions come and go. Currently, we are at the end of the current expansion "Rise of Shadows" and a 3 weeks away from the next expansion "Saviors of Uldum." Traditionally, this is when engagement for Hearthstone picks up. Players are interested in card reveals, which are trickled out by game site and streamers, and the big Hearthstone streamers make a ton of reviews and first impression content of those new cards.
While you should expect the same kind of content from Kripp and DisguisedToast, they clearly are much more enthusiastic about the shiny new auto chess games, especially Team Fight Tactics. Toast hasn't had a Hearthstone stream since last month and while Kripp has been splitting his time, he's been playing TFT more and more.
This is a big deal for Hearthstone, which many feel has grown stale over the years, despite the cost of cards remaining high. All of the auto chess games are currently free to play, with optional battle passes available soon. Viewership for TFT remains well over 100k concurrent on Twitch while Hearthstone typically has less than 10% of that. Is auto chess simply the flavor of the week, or is it possible that players are just ready to move on?
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