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Early Access to EA Sports’ annually released soccer simulation game FIFA 20, and its official release that followed, saw a notable increase in viewership on Twitch from last year following a few changes to the game’s release schedule.
With 9.54M hours watched on Twitch since “Early Access” for the game began on Sept. 19, FIFA 20 has already outperformed the 7.75M hours watched that FIFA 19 had from Sept. 19, when early access began last year, through the end of September.
It’s difficult to pinpoint exact year-over-year comparisons for Early Access and game release figures for FIFA because of slight changes that EA made to how it handled Early Access this year versus last year, but the increase in viewership this year overall is inarguable.
In 2018, Early Access to FIFA 19 began on Sept. 19, but the game’s launch wasn’t until Sept. 28. Early Access was limited to Xbox One or users of EA’s PC game launcher called Origin. With more than a week of Early Access to the title prior to its release, viewership for the game was more spread out compared to this year.
FIFA 20’s Early Access, which also began on Sept. 19, was significantly shorter than last year, but that’s not the only thing that made this year’s Early Access different. Unlike in year’s past, PlayStation gamers were allowed to participate in the 10-hour Early Access trial period before the game came out.
One of the particularly unique aspects of Early Access for FIFA games is the way that EA goes about monetizing the process. By using “EA Access,” which is a subscription-based gaming service, players can effectively purchase Early Access to EA titles. While this complicates anyone’s ability to analyze the viewership an EA title gets surrounding its release, the end result is more revenue for EA, assuming players are willing to subscribe to the service that allows Early Access.
With the Early Access period for FIFA being a few days shorter than last year, FIFA has managed to maintain more than 1M hours watched every day since Sept. 19, and that viewership has carried through the days following the games official launch on Sept. 24.
For comparison, FIFA 19 didn’t have more than 1M hours watched a single day during its release, and the title’s most-watched day in September (Sept. 25) recorded 937K hours watched.
About the Personality?
One of the most important aspects of a game’s viability as a form of content on Twitch is the streamers who play the game, and while FIFA isn’t one of the most-watched games on the platform, the growth of broadcasters like Edwin “Castro_1021” Castro have served as a way to improve the game’s status on Twitch.
Castro is perhaps more known for his status as a YouTube gamer, with 1.46M subscribers on the platform and numerous videos that have 1M+ views, but his status as a Twitch streamer has grown significantly in the past year.
Last year, Castro had 13.78M hours watched on Twitch with an average of 9.89K concurrent viewers CCV across 1.25K hours of airtime. This year, Castro has already eclipsed his hours watched total from last year without needing more airtime. Across 930 hours of broadcasting, Castro has recorded 14.53M hours watched this year averaging 14.63K CCV.
During the release of any title that is produced on an annual basis like FIFA is, an influencer’s ability to captivate an audience during launch week is telling. Based on the viewership that Castro managed to record, FIFA might be poised for growth.
Since Sept. 19, Castro has led all FIFA streamers with 1.67M hours watched and an average of 20.5K CCV. The only influencer to average more viewers than Castro was Marcel “Montana Black” Eris, who averaged nearly 40K CCV but only broadcast the game for 21 hours. No other top FIFA streamers managed to average more than 15K CCV and only one averaged more than 10K CCV.
For comparison, Castro led all streamers in 2018 during the FIFA release as well, but his average viewership was significantly lower. From Sept. 19-30, Castro had 1.61M hours watched averaging just under 14K CCV.
Though FIFA isn’t one of the most popularly streamed games on Twitch, the value that a broadcaster like Castro can add to the title’s audience and reach during the game’s launch has the potential to increase hype for the game and in turn boost revenue for EA as it looks to sell more copies of the title.
With Castro’s popularity continuing to grow, both EA and Castro can benefit from the success of one another as viewership on Twitch FIFA’s launch increases year-over-year.