Nov. 10-11 was the first test for televised Artifact through the Artifact Preview Tournament (APT). Organized by Valve and Beyond the Summit, the event was a 128-man Gauntlet marathon, with the goal to attract as many potential Artifact fans as possible.
Despite production and casting hiccups on day 1, things picked up when the tournament entered playoffs on day 2. It was also then that the viewers got to know who the best players of the tournament actually were and get excited about the matches.
The overall viewership peak for the APT clocked at 89,722 viewers, though this is a number that comes with a few asterisks. The peak was actually recorded before the first matches ever began, with the viewers flocking in expectation. Once the tournament commenced, the numbers told a different story. Confused by the complexity of the game and offered zero newbie-friendly commentary or visual aide, the viewers tuned away and the numbers plummeted, according to Esports Charts’ data. The majority of day 1 hovered between 20,000 and 30,000 viewers, with a constant decline as the day progressed. When the tournament began, the opening match between Lifecoach and FeelsGoodMan recorded around 75,000 concurrent viewers — an impressive figure even if still part of an overall downward trend.
— Esports Charts (@EsportsCharts) November 11, 2018
Even championship Sunday’s matches couldn’t elevate the numbers. The interest from the viewers remained about the same, peaking at 39,328 during the match between Raphael “GameKing” Iciren and TI7 champion and Dota legend Kuro “KoruKy” Salehi Takhasomi. Upon KuroKy’s elimination from the tournament and the end of perhaps the most intriguing storyline, the viewership numbers returned to the declining curve of day 1.
2nd day Artifact Preview Tournament streams stats. @GameKingHS vs @LiquidKuroKy is the most popular game of the day. @PlayArtifact @BTSartifact More stats – https://t.co/0aP5mCqzIr pic.twitter.com/0E9HYBzNlK
— Esports Charts (@EsportsCharts) November 12, 2018
Even if this is only the first ever televised Artifact tournament, there are a lot of opportunities for improvement, these should be concerning numbers for the game. The card game genre is in Hearthstone’s stranglehold and if any game is to challenge Blizzard’s product, it’ll have to do much better.
With Artifact’s NDA going away on Nov. 17, the game entering official closed beta on Nov. 19 and launching on Nov. 28, the player and fan bases are only set to expand. Several tournaments and shows have already been confirmed ahead of Artifact’s launch and the Artifact Preview Tournament is the perfect opportunity to take notes on the do’s and don’t’s.