With the departure of Ninja and now Tfue, Twitch's Fortnite category is experiencing a massive dropoff in viewers. Ninja's switch to Mixer had already hurt Twitch's numbers, but now Tfue has added another layer of complication with his abrupt announcement.
Im taking some time off streaming— Tfue (@TTfue) September 13, 2019
The young Fortnite star rose quickly through the ranks of Twitch: winning tournaments, challenging FaZe Clan's management, and even passing Shroud for the number one spot on the platform after Ninja's departure. Not long after his achievement, however, Tfue came under fire for his use of a racial slur during a stream. Now, not even 2 weeks later, it seems Tfue is feeling the pressure from all of the weight on his shoulders.
I have anything I could ask for in life but for some reason I’m not happy lately— Tfue (@TTfue) September 13, 2019
With Tfue taking an unspecified amount of time off, this undoubtedly clouds Twitch's future — who will be the next streaming star? Will this finally spell the end of Fortnite's dominant reign on Twitch?
Epic's wildly popular Battle Royale game has enjoyed consistently strong viewership on Twitch over the past few years, more or less. Fortnite's viewership over the last 18 months has generally danced between a staggering average of anywhere between 100,000 to 200,000 viewers on the platform; Now, September's viewership promises Fortnite's worst month on the streaming platform in well over a year, dipping below 90,000 concurrent viewers this past week.
When Ninja left Twitch for Mixer on August 1st, the category started to bleed viewers. With Tfue's sudden break from streaming, even more have left. Twitch users truly tend to like the personalities of those they follow. Shroud decided to switch to World of Warcraft Classic when it arrived and his viewers have embraced the new content, by and large. That being said, many viewers watched Fortnite for Tfue's content and personality — he pulled his following to the platform when he would go live.
It isn't all doom and gloom, however, as new streamers tend to rise — specifically the recent winner of the Fortnite world cup: Bugha. His growth exploded on Twitch after his victory in late July and it has still continued to rise since then. Perhaps Twitch will see the rise of other streamers in the absence of their former stars.
Unpredictability appears to be the theme of Twitch's past few months. The mental health of content creators, Epic's game balance decisions, Fortnite's relevancy in eSports, Twitch's relationship with its streamers — all of these complicated factors will play a part in the future of Fortnite's continued success of Twitch.