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Long before its release, it was already one of the most anticipated games. Expectations were sky-high, and Sony Santa Monica delivered: God of War Ragnarok launched on November 9 to immense critical acclaim and commercial success. The sequel to God of War (2018) takes players back to the Nine Realms and continues the adventures of Kratos and Atreus in an even bigger and better way. The game hasn’t just been raking in tremendous reviews, it also found success on live streaming platform Twitch. Stacking up massive viewership numbers, hundreds of thousands of fans are eager to watch from the backseat as streamers jump into the game.

16 million hours watched in the first three days

It’s usually multiplayer titles that take up the lion’s share of the most-watched games on streaming platform Twitch. Still, God of War Ragnarök, a single-player title, bucked the trend and shot right into the top 5 most-watched games on Twitch. Within just three days of its launch, Ragnarök hit a peak of 460,000 viewers with more than 16 million hours watched. These major numbers put Sony Santa Monica’s title on rank 4 of most watched games shortly after its release. Even ten days after launch, it still holds a strong position among the top 10 games on Twitch with more than 35 million hours watched.

With excitement and anticipation for God of War Ragnarök through the roof ahead of its release, it’s no surprise streamers got right to it and streamed the sequel to the beloved game on launch day. The fact that it’s a Sony exclusive that’s currently only available on PlayStation, might have also driven viewer numbers, as users without Sony’s console tuned in to see what all the fuss was about.

PlayStation’s second-biggest Twitch launch and highest-rated game in 2022

With hundreds of thousands of fans watching live on Twitch, God of War Ragnarok is PlayStation’s second-biggest Twitch launch ever. Only Joel and Ellie were able to stack up higher viewership numbers when The Last of Us II launched in 2020 and more than half a million viewers tuned in. God of War (2018) sits in fourth place, with Ghost of Tsushima from 2020 being the third most successful Twitch launch for a PlayStation Studio title.

What’s more, God of War Ragnarök is currently Sony’s highest-rated game released on PS5. Sitting at a 94 on Metacritic, the sequel got the same critical acclaim as its predecessor. Looking at all the games released in 2022, however, Kratos and Atreus only come in second, as FromSoftware’s mega-hit Elden Ring still tops all the rankings. With a 96 Metascore, it is the highest-rated game of the year. Its Twitch launch was also much higher, attracting more than 875,000 peak viewers when it launched in February.

Live streams: Backseat gaming and new ways to play

Viewership numbers on streaming platforms like Twitch have become one of the main stats to measure a game’s popularity, as live streaming takes an increasingly important role in the gaming sector. With around 140 million monthly unique visitors, Twitch has become a giant of platform that brings the international gaming community together. Streamers share their gaming sessions with their viewers, who can partake in the gaming action from the backseat – almost like back in the day when you sat on the couch with your friend and watched them play.

Live streaming has evolved into much more than let’s play, as it has also created completely new gaming experiences. For instance, games offered on video call services such as Zoom enable friends and co-workers to have virtual game nights regardless of where they are. Live streams also bring people from across the world together to play escape games virtually, as many providers offer virtual experiences with a guide streamed onto users’ devices. Similarly, the best-rated live dealer casinos use live streams to create an innovative and immersive digital casino experience. No matter where in the world players are, they can get connected with a real croupier to play classics such as roulette or blackjack via a live stream. As such, streaming has become an integral part of the gaming industry and gamer community, allowing for new ways to experience and share in games.

The sequel to PlayStation’s best-selling game of all time had big shoes to fill and sky-high expectations to meet – and succeeded. Sony Santa Monica’s God of War Ragnarök is a major critical success and people aren’t just playing the game but also tuning in to watch streamers embark on their journey to the Nine Realms.

(IMAGE SOURCE: Unsplash​)