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The Steam Link, simply a great investment!

I recently purchased a Steam Link and a Steam Controller for three different reasons. Firstly I liked the idea of playing some two player games in the living room with the misses and friends when they come over. Secondly I knew I could stream movies to my living room straight from my desktop replacing the need for my Apple TV box. Thirdly I wanted to see if it is possible to stream to Twitch from my living room using a webcam connected to the Steam Link, this would be truly awesome!

Let’s start with a brief history of my gaming life!

For years I invested a ton of money into new games consoles and the game titles that came with them. In my lifetime I have owned nearly every major console that was released, there are a few fringe consoles like the NeoGeo that I never owned but the main bulk of them have had me play them for hours and hours. I have also spent a ton of money on personal computers, laptops and upgrades year after year.

Lets take a look at the consoles, computers and handheld gaming devices I have owned over the past 30 years:

Ajax TV Game
ZX Spectrum +2
Atari 520ST
Nintendo Entertainment System
Sega Master System II
Commodore Amiga 2000
Sega Genesis Mega Drive
Nintendo GameBoy
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
PlayStation
Nintendo GameBoy Color
Nintendo 64
Sega Game Gear
Sega Dreamcast
PlayStation 2
Microsoft Xbox 360
Nintendo Wii
PlayStation 3

Why did I stop buying consoles?

I never owned a PS4 or an Xbox One and I probably never will. I decided to permanently switch to gaming on the PC and I have never looked back. However I do miss sitting on the sofa and hammering a game pad from time to time. I also miss the fun of destroying a friend in split screen mode. I miss two player co-op games, I miss playing games like NHL, NFL and FIFA. I miss the Olympics style games. I really enjoyed the time I spent sat on the sofa playing these consoles.

The last two consoles I owned did not see much use. The Nintendo Wii and the PlayStation3. I owned a lot of games for the Wii (around 20 plus games) and I also purchased a lot of the added peripherals, fishing rods, gun holders, tennis bats, you name it I had it. For the PS3 I only really bought it because I was in need of a Blue-ray player, I own Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Need for Speed Shift.

But the bottom line is I didn’t really use either of these consoles and I have since sold my Wii to a family friend.

Enter the Steam Link

I like the idea of having all of my games in Steam. I like that I don’t have to keep physical copies of the games that I play and that I will always have access to the library of games that I buy on Steam and they will all be in one place.

I am super interested in streaming video games and that is exactly what the Steam Link does. It is not the same as broadcasting on Twitch but it still represents a wonderful opportunity for gamers. Streaming is becoming a huge part of gaming and I think the Steam Link is a step in the right direction from Valve. At $50 for the Steam Link and $50 for a Steam Controller this is a pill which is quite easy to swallow especially as I have already invested thousands of dollars on my gaming pc.

Streaming Movies with the Steam Link

I wanted to be able to stream movies to my television from my PC. Currently I have an Apple TV box and some of the things I watch are not on Netflix or iTunes. Currently I use my MacBook Pro to stream to the Apple TV box but this involves me copying files from my desktop to my MacBook using my Samsung T3, a process which takes about 5-10 minutes. The drive is insanely fast, but still I have to go from one room to the other and back again between machines. With the Steam Link you literally stream your entire desktop screen to your television. Anything you can do on your desktop you can do on your Television. Now I just open the movie directly on my desktop and it’s streams to my TV beautifully at 1080p and at 60 fames per second.

Using a SNES emulator with the Steam Link

I recently got into RetroArch and I have fallen back in love with SNES games. Titles like Super Mario World, Rock and Roll Racing and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Recently I worked out how to stream RetroArch to my television and now I can play Super Nintendo classics in my living room with a friend like it was 1991. I mean this by itself is simply amazing.

You can stream on Twitch using the Steam Link

I also managed to stream to Twitch from my living room using the Steam Link, admittedly I ended up using two active USB cables for the webcam but still I achieved what I wanted. I made a video diary about how that went and I will release it soon on my YouTube.

A great way to save money and invest in the future!

I have already spent thousands of dollars on my gaming pc and being able to leverage that power in my living room for just $100 has been amazing. After just 2 hours I was able to honestly say that it was a great investment. Now I know spending $100 is not how you save money, but I see desktop streaming as a huge part of the future, eventually games will even exist just in the cloud and local hard drives probably wont even be needed.

The Final Word

I am super happy with my Steam Link. It’s not perfect but it is a step in the right direction. You will have issues, for example sometimes I have to visit the other room and click something because the Steam Link looses it’s focus. You will probably have to run the Steam Link over Ethernet or PowerLAN adapters. People have reported issues with Wi-Fi. When the Steam Link works it is brilliant and it does work 99% of the time.

I only recommend buying one Steam Link Controller as it was designed to replace a mouse and keyboard and I think there are other better controller options out there. I currently own a DS4 Controller an Xbox PC Controller and an 8bitdo SFC30 all of which work brilliantly and where applicable with Bluetooth.

If you are looking at buying a Steam Link I think you will be happy as long as you have good connectivity. If you are hardcore PC gamer I think you will find the added investment of the Steam Link something which brings a huge amount of value for relatively little money. Plus you will save thousands of dollars on games in the future.


Steam Link with RetroArch + Ice, running emulators for SNES and Genesis in Big Picture Mode

Yesterday was a wonderful day, I finally got my Steam Link working flawlessly with RetroArch and a PlayStation DualShock 4 Controller on the big screen in my living room. It was my third attempt at getting an emulator to work with the Steam Link and now I can teach you exactly what I did and what I have learned over the past week.

Since I got my Steam Link I have been obsessed with the idea of running old school games like Super Mario World for the SNES and Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis (MegaDrive). I saw some people had done it already so I knew it could be done, but the tutorials out there leave much to be desired and can be confusing and over complicated at best.

I will try in this article to keep things simple. I will explain some of the basic concepts that you need to understand to get this working. If you have any questions please leave me a comment and I will try to help.

How to run emulators on the Steam Link

We will be using RetroArch, which is creating quite a bit of buzz in the emulator world right now because it allows you to control multiple emulators and works on multiple platforms. RetroArch is kind of an emulator manager, it is more than that but for the purpose of this article it allows you to have multiple emulators all under one interface.

Then we will use a piece of software called Ice to create the bridge between RetroArch and the Steam Platform. Once we have RetroArch and Ice configured we can use our Steam Link to launch emulators and play retro games directly from Steam in Big Picture Mode with a seamless integration.

Where to save every thing?

There are no rules where you save RetroArch, Ice or your ROM files. I will show you how I have it on my machine to make this tutorial easier to understand.

I install some of my Steam games on my extra hard drive. I have a folder there called “SteamLibrary” and this is where I install some of my Steam games. I decided I would keep all of my game files all in one place so now I have RetroArch, Ice and my ROM files all in a SteamLibrary folder on my 1TB external hard drive.

So E:\SteamLibrary\steamapps is where some of my Steam games are installed.

I then created an “Emulator Folder” under E:\SteamLibrary\Emulator so that I can store every thing connected with emulation all in one place.

Then I created:
E:\SteamLibrary\Emulator\RetroArch
E:\SteamLibrary\Emulator\Ice
E:\SteamLibrary\Emulator\ROMs

Inside ROMs I have two more folders which contain some ROM files:
E:\SteamLibrary\Emulator\ROMs\SNES
E:\SteamLibrary\Emulator\ROMs\Genesis

Remember there are no rules here, you do not have to have this structure and the fact that these folders are inside my Steam folder serves no relevance to the tutorial whatsoever because you can install these things wherever you wish.

First let’s download and start RetroArch

Before we think about Steam or using the Steam Link its important that we get RetroArch running first. You will need to install “RetroArch” load up a “Core” and then load some “Content”. In other words we will use RetroArch to load a console for example the Super Nintendo core then we will load a game which is also called a ROM file.

Download the latest stable version of RetroArch for Windows and unpack it into E:\SteamLibrary\Emulators\RetroArch, you will need WINRar or similar to unzip the 7-Zip file. You can choose between 32-bit and 64-bit depending on your current operating system. I use Windows 10 so I went with the Stable 1.3.2 64-bit download.

After you unpack it, launch retroarch.exe and you should see the RetroArch GUI. Now we need to download our first Core and then we can load a ROM file.

RetroArch GUI

RetroArch GUI

Navigate using your keyboard and follow the steps below:

Download a Core:
Settings tab > Online Updater > Core Updater > bsnes_balanced_libretro.dll

Once you have a Core downloaded you will need to load the Core.

Load a Core into RetroArch:
Settings tab > Load Core > bsnes_balanced_libretro.dll

Once you have a Core loaded you can now load a ROM file.

Load a ROM File:
Settings tab > Load Content > Select File > E:\SteamLibrary\Emulator\ROMs\SNES\Super Mario World.sfc

If all is working correctly you will see the game you just selected and you should have control using the keyboard. For a more in depth article or if you get stuck with my guide you can read Getting Started with RetroArch you can also ask questions on the LibRetro Forums and you can check the LibRetro Wiki.

IMPORTANT: YOU MUST HAVE RETROARCH WORKING BEFORE YOU CONTINUE!

Using Ice to add ROM files to your Steam Library

Once we have RetroArch working we need to create the bridge between Steam and RetroArch. To do this we will use a really awesome GitHub project called Ice created by Scott Rice. Ice will scan our ROM folders we created earlier and add any games it finds into Steam as non-Steam games. Its customizable, with a fairly low level setup. It also helps you find artwork so that your ROMs look great when you are running Steam in Big Picture Mode which is the mode launched by default when you use your Steam Link.

Configuring Ice to work with RetroArch and the Steam Platform

Download the latest version of Ice and unpack it into E:\SteamLibrary\Emulators\Ice.

There are three config files that you will need to edit to get Ice working correctly.

config.txt
consoles.txt
emulators.txt

The reason I showed you my file structure earlier is to try and help you understand how to configure the Ice config files.

Here are my config files, you can of course configure Ice to work differently but for the purpose of this article I will show you what I have in my three config files. I have removed most of the content that comes in these files to keep the demonstration simple and to show you that some things are not needed for our particular setup. Please review the files you downloaded from the Ice website and compare them with mine. I have added some of my own comments to help you understand how these three files work together. I am currently running both SNES and Genesis/MegaDrive on my Steam Link so if you only want SNES games you can ignore the Genesis stuff but I have left it here to help show you how this stuff is working.

config.txt

[Storage]
# My ROM Files:
ROMs Directory=E:\SteamLibrary\Emulator\ROMs

[Grid Images]
# The default is ConsoleGrid (consolegrid.com/api/top_picture)
# If this field is left blank, Ice will not attempt to download images
Source=consolegrid.com/api/top_picture

consoles.txt

# This [WORD] represents the category in Steam
[Super Nintendo]
# nickname must match you folder name in your ROMs folder
nickname=SNES
# This is the name you specify in emulators.txt
emulator=RetroArch_SNES
# This is the file extension of the ROMs in the ROMs folder
extensions=sfc

[Sega Genesis]
nickname=Genesis
emulator=RetroArch_Genesis
extensions=md

emulators.txt

[RetroArch_SNES]
# Location of RetroArch.exe
location=E:\SteamLibrary\Emulator\RetroArch\retroarch.exe
# Location of SNES CORE and some launch options
command=%l -fullscreen -L cores\bsnes_balanced_libretro.dll %r

[RetroArch_Genesis]
location=E:\SteamLibrary\Emulator\RetroArch\retroarch.exe
command=%l -fullscreen -L cores\genesis_plus_gx_libretro.dll %r

Ice will also grab the artwork to use for the ROM’s when in Big Picture Mode. But the ROM file name must match the name found on the consolegrid.com website.

For example I had to rename my Super Mario World ROM to “Super Mario World.sfc” before running Ice so that Ice could get the correct artwork for me.

Once you have your config files edited and pointing to the correct locations on your hard drive you must exit Steam and launch Ice.exe. If all is successful you will see a screen which looks similar to the one below.

Ice for Steam Link

If you have some issues with Ice you will need to read what the Ice console tells you and Google for any problems that it reports. You can also read the Ice Getting Started Guide where you can read more about the ROM folder structure and how to set custom images and icons for your games in Steam.

If Ice executed without any issues it’s time to load up Steam, launch Big Picture Mode and test if all is working correctly. Once you are happy that all is working as expected on your desktop it’s time to move into the other room and boot up your Steam Link for some awesome retro gaming fun!

It should work flawlessly once you have all the kinks ironed out.

Steam Link with RetroArch and Ice running in Big Picture Mode

Steam Link with RetroArch and Ice running SNES Games in Big Picture Mode

This is a dream come true for me and I hope that you are also able to play some ROMs on your Steam Link. It brings back a ton of childhood memories and I am excited to play on the Steam Link with my friends and family.

The Finishing Touch, Using the 8bitdo SFC30 Wireless Bluetooth Controller with the Steam Link

Wireless SNES ControllerI just purchased the 8bitdo SFC30 Wireless Bluetooth Controller. I have no idea if this thing will work. I will update you here as I get my hands on it to let you know if the SFC30 works with Steam Link and RetroArch.

 

The Final Word

After trying for several days I truly believe that this article outlines the best setup for running emulated games on the Steam Link. Many people are using LaunchBox or BigBox as a layer in-between Steam and the emulator but this comes with it’s own issues. I personally was not able to get things working using LaunchBox, my controllers never worked and it looked horrible trying to navigate LaunchBox plus I really don’t see why you would want to use LaunchBox when you can launch games directly from Steam Big Picture Mode which looks great and it just works better.

If you add more Cores to RetroArch you simply add a few lines of code to your Ice config files and then run Ice again. If you add more ROM files you simply exit Steam and run Ice again. I love how RetroArch works independently in this setup. I can swap shaders, configure controllers and do all of that fun stuff directly in RetroArch, afterwards I just boot up my Steam Link and it works flawlessly.

I really hope you have been able to learn something today and If you have any questions, comments or praise to give, please do so in the comments below and I will try to reply.

Known issues and Frequently asked Questions

I will try to keep this article updated and if I get similar questions from people I will try to add them here as a help resource.

Where can I download ROM Files?
It is actually illegal to download ROM files. People say if you own a physical copy you can download a copy of the internet. This is not true. The copy you download is an illegally distributed copy and this is not ok. You will need to purchase a Retrode 2 and create your own ROMs using your original games. These ROMs will be backup copies of your already purchased games. You can purchase games from dkoldies.com and lukiegames.com and make your own backup files.

Issues with the Steam Controller not working with RetroArch!
I did have some issues with the Steam Controller bindings when I launched my first game and you will need to modify your Steam Controller to map it to the keyboard inputs used by RetrocArch. I actually just used my DualShock 4 controller via Bluetooth and it worked instantly with no extra setup required.

Problems when running Ice and the consolegrid API!
Originally in my ROM folder I had folder called “MegaDrive” which made Ice report that the consolegrid API was down, but in reality it just didn’t know that MegaDrive was is also called Genesis. I renamed the folder from MegaDrive to Genesis and then Ice worked correctly and grabbed the artwork from consolegrid.

Everything seems correct after running Ice but the games just wont load from Steam!
Test the ROM and the Core directly from RetroArch first, Launch retroarch.exe and make sure it works as expected before running Ice and trying to launch it with Steam. If it wont work just using RetroArch it definitely wont work using Steam. During the setup process I had downloaded the bnes_libretro.dll it took me a good thirty minutes to realise that I had downloaded a NES Core instead of a SNES Core which prevented it from running in RetroArch. I switched to the bsnes_balanced_libretro.dll and then it worked as expected.

Games launch correctly but my controller does not seem to work!
It seems sometimes that if you have a controller plugged in to your desktop PC, RetroArch gives priority to that controller and then the controllers connected to the Steam Link don’t seem to work. Unplug any controllers from your desktop before launching your games in Steam.


The Division will be one of the most popular games on Twitch in 2016

I am going to go out on a limb here and make a bold prediction, I think that The Division will be one of the most popular games on Twitch in 2016.

I love the idea of games like DayZ, Ark and H1Z1 but all three titles have left me disappointed. Now I am left constantly searching for a new title which fills a similar idea and I hope that The Division with the second expansion pack “Survival” will bring some elements of survival to the game. That’s one of the reasons why I pre-purchased The Division before it’s release date with all of the DLC packs included, fingers crossed my hopes will be realised later this year.

So let’s look at the reasons why I think The Division will be one of the most popular games on Twitch in 2016.

1. It’s an MMO, kinda…

Sure, The Division isn’t really listed as being an MMO by Ubisoft but the game is pretty much an MMO. The Division allows for many players to be in the same instance as they explore and fight for survival in New York City. It may be a shooter style based game but it certainly has MMO style elements, even if there’s not hundreds of players in the same instance.

The Dark Zone currently allows up to 24 players in a single instance and players can form clans with each other. Clans or guilds are typical of MMO’s and rumours suggest that they may add official clan support in game, but nothing has been confirmed yet. You can still find people to play with easily and join a Division clan here: http://divisionclans.com/clan/listing

There is a character progression system, a large number of players in a single instance, NPCs to grind in and out of the the Dark Zone, a PvP area, the ability to play as a clan and a large world to explore. Sounds a lot like an MMO to me. All of the above means people will invest many hours into this game.

2. More content is on the way

Ubisoft has already announced some of their expansion plans for The Division. With free updates adding more game content and features and also paid expansion packs coming later in the year. Plus many people have already pre-purchased these expansion packs, myself included. I expect that the new expansions will also allow players to continue to level up their characters allowing players to have a charter more powerful than the current max level of 30. The names of the first three major expansion packs for the game have been revealed along with some very limited details about them:

Expansion I: Underground (June 2016)
In the first major purchasable expansion Ubisoft will be adding a new territory to the game where squads of four players can explore and complete missions in a huge underground network of tunnels under New York City. Players will be going up against brand new NPC characters, grabbing new loot items and continuing the campaign story mode.

Expansion II: Survival (Summer 2016)

I really really hope this expansion will bring some survival elements from games like DayZ and H1Z1 into The Division. Not much information has been released yet. People are speculating all kinds of ideas. The Division website says:

“Available this summer, this expansion will challenge players to survive as long as possible by gathering essential supplies in a very hostile environment.”

Expansion III: Last Stand (Winter 2016)
Again not much is known about this update, people are claiming zombies will be added to the game probably because of the following sentence found in the official trailer:

“A new threat is rising in the third expansion Last Stand. You and your squad must prepare to defend against a relentless foe.”

The game already has that zombie apocalypse feel and the artwork contains a skull as the face of The Statue of Liberty which makes people belive that the iconic statue may appear in a new playable area of the game. It’s many months away and only time will tell.

Smaller free DLC updates
Smaller free DLC updates will be released throughout the games lifespan to enhance the campaign mode and also the PvP Dark Zone area. The next free update will be coming out on the 12th of April which will add new features such as loot trading.

3. It is like Destiny but better

Destiny was one of the most played and viewed games last year on Twitch placing it in the top 10. Destiny is an unrealistic first person shooter set in the future where the last humans fight to protect the dwindling human population; it allows for clans to work together in the campaign mode and go to war in the PvP zones, you level up your character and find rare loot. Sounds a lot like The Division, right?

The Division meanwhile is set in a gritty, realistic world in the aftermath of a devastating plague which has wiped out the majority of New York City. The world is dark and provides a level of realism most shooter fans will recognise however unlike Destiny, The Division is a third person shooter where as Destiny is a first person shooter.

Between the two of them, in my opinion The Division has the stronger PvP area which is organic, evolving and tense. Players are forced to make uncertain alliances with other players to survive against the powerful NPC characters or to counter attacks from other enemy players. This is much like the Battle Royal mode (Now called H1Z1: King of the Kill) found in H1Z1 which was another top 10 game on Twitch last year.

The Division has a lot of potential for streamers; the PvP area will evolve constantly and in my opinion the differences between this and and Destiny will give it a small edge.

4. Its really well made and polished

The Division looks fantastic, there is no doubt about it. The streets of New York City are an almost exact replica of the real city. It’s a dark and gritty world mixed in with the bright lights of Christmas themed decorations which were still left in place after the plague hit the city.

There are plenty of options to look at and experiment with to get a decent level of performance vs perfect graphics for enjoying the environment and it will run on most modern computers; streaming can be CPU intensive so it’s a must for streamers to get good performance when streaming.

Besides the amazing graphics, the game runs smoothly with few bugs and great gameplay flow. The controls for the game work well and the response from the input is extremely fast which is great for those looking to play it ‘seriously’ with their squad. It feels great, it looks great and the game play is fun which leads me on to my next point.

5. The Dark Zone is fun

There’s a lot of features in The Division to try out, utilize and explore with to make you stronger as a solo player in the campaign and provides an edge in the Dark Zone. Players can pick up strong items in the campaign solo world and there are rare items which can be found in the Dark Zone.

Items in the Dark Zone are contaminated and have to be extracted before the player can actually use them; once the item is extracted it’s then safe for the player to die, if they die before the items are extracted then any contaminated items will be dropped. They need to be extracted at extraction zones in the Dark Zone, naturally there could be players there looking to kill other players and steal their loot before they extract it so they can have it for themselves.

The Division uses a proximity voice chat and text chat system which makes the Dark Zone even more tense; players can communicate with each other without needing to accept a friends request for voice chat. It makes the Dark Zone incredibly tense when using a microphone and a lot more entertaining as teams need to sometimes avoid communication altogether or risk being overheard by the enemy.

6. Its on all the major platforms

The Divisions is easy to access. Players can buy versions for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One or for the PC which all have streaming capabilities with or without additional hardware. It does force players to use the Ubisoft game platform Uplay, which is not well loved by gamers but at least it provides achievements and special game-based rewards. Some games are not big on Twitch simply because they are not on all the major platforms so they are unable to complete with games that are.

7. The Division had the biggest first week ever for a new game franchise

That’s right! The Division launch smashed it and not only is it Ubisoft’s best-selling game straight out of the gate but it also had the biggest first week ever for a new game franchise and generated over $330 million globally in its first five days. The game was reported to of have 1.2 million peak concurrent users over the first weekend, and over 100 million hours played in the first week. These kind of numbers begin to give you an idea of how many people enjoyed the beta and wanted to jump straight into the initial release.

The Final Word!

The Division has been in the top 10 games since it was released at the start of March. It’s still highly popular right now for both streamers and viewers; with the upcoming new content which will be released throughout the year, it looks like The Division should stay in the top 10 most watched games for quite some time. People will invest any hours in to the game and I think it will replace similar older titles such as Destiny to become one of the most watched games on Twitch in 2016.

The Division


Top 10 most popular games on Twitch

Your probably wondering “What are the most popular games on Twitch?”, Well I have the definitive answer for you! You can easily see what the most popular games are on Twitch at at given moment. You simply visit the main games page and you will see in real time what games are currently the most popular. But this only shows you a small snippet of the story and often when a game is new lots of people will be playing it!

At the end of each Year Twitch release a retrospective and for the purpose of this article I feel this is the best place to check for the real data on such a question. Below is a list of the 10 most popular games on Twitch for the entire year of 2015. The list is in order and represents the games which streamed the most minutes on the platform. Without further hesitation lets get in to the list!

1. League of Legends

League of Legends

League of Legends (LoL) is an online battle arena game that takes place in real-time. League is one of the world’s largest esports games and was developed by Riot Games. As of 2014, the game had 67 million monthly players and over 27 million daily players. At any given time, upwards of 7.5 million people are playing at once. A standard game consists of two teams of 5 champions competing to destroy the other team’s nexus while leveling up in an RPG style. The action is fast, furious and intense making this the perfect spectator eSport. League of Legeds wins the number one spot on the most popular games on Twitch list.

2. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO)

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO)

Next up another massive eSports game that needs no introduction. CS:GO is the 4th iteration in the Counter-Strike series. It is a 5 on 5 team-based online FPS (first-person shooter) game that takes place in real-time. Rated mature, this game pits terrorists (Ts) versus counter-terrorists (CTs) in a realistic shootout involving various options for gameplay. Typically you will see people playing in a game that will last around 90 minutes where the first team to get 16 rounds will take the victory. A friend of mine once said that “CS:GO was the best $7 he ever spent!” and I really cant argue with that. It draws in thousands of viewers on Twitch every single day and shows no sign of going away soon.

3. Dota 2

Dota 2

Dota 2 is another battle style arena game involving multiple combatants in real-time play and in many ways is similar to League of Legends. Developed by the Valve Corporation the same company that made CS:GO, Dota 2 is free-to-play and boasts over 1 million simultaneous users. Characters have unique abilities and scale during each battle — collecting gold, experience, and items throughout the game. In 2015 a prize pool of $18 million at the game’s main annual tournament set an all-time high for the eSports scene and remains one of the most likely ways to make money from gaming online.

4. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Next up we have Hearthstone the card-based strategy game developed by Blizzard Entertainment. Head-to-head Arena play allows players to face off against each other using pre selected decks of cards. There are now more than 40 million Hearthstone players around the globe. Ranked battles allow players to gain monthly prizes and strive to become legendary ranked. The top 100 legendary ranked players at the end of each month receive world championship points (WCPs) that can help them to qualify for the annual championship competition. The game is free but t allows users to purchase card packs in order to rapidly increase players card collections for developing gameplay decks. Single player modes can also be unlocked to help players earn cards that are not available in some of the purchasable packs. Again I think one of the things that draws viewers on with this game is the high level of competition involved.

5. Minecraft

Minecraft

Minecraft allows users to build and create in a 3D block environment. Players explore the world they are helping to create, they gather resources, craft new tools, and even engage in combat. Various game modes exist that allow players to outlast each other in a multiplayer survival game or enjoy a creative mode which provides unlimited resources for users to design anything they can imagine. An award winning game, Microsoft purchased the intellectual property from Mojang in 2014 for the sum of 2.5 billion USD.

6. H1Z1

H1Z1

The point of H1Z1 is to survive the zombie apocalypse—a popular theme in modern entertainment. It takes place in a future dystopia where zombies have resulted from a mutated virus called H1Z1. The game is a massively multiplayer game, meaning that all users exist in the same world. Cooperation is encouraged, creating a sense of community among many users. Teamwork and trading are vital aspects of survival when encountering everything from zombies to wild animals. Most people on Twitch play in the Battle Royal mode which is a huge fight to the death and only ends when there is one play left.

7. Destiny

Destiny

Destiny is an FPS (first-person shooter) brought to you by Bungle and Activision, the same guys that made the massively successful Halo series. Destiny is a sci-fi game in which users share a world and team up. There are player-versus-player options besides the team objective modes. The game takes place on a future Earth, ridden with aliens, as well as on various worlds where the player is charged to wipe out the alien nemesis before reinforcements can reach the Earth. The launch of the game in 2014 set retail records with more than half a billion USD in retail sales on the release day.

8. World of Tanks

World of Tanks

World of Tanks is a free-to-play online game that takes place in a multiplayer format. There are also premium game features available for a fee. PvP gameplay is the focus, and users compete against each other in various types of tanks. There are more than 400 different kinds, each based on a real type of tank developed during the 20th century. Users can choose their favorite tank from their home country or select a type of tank produced anywhere in the world. This game entered the world of eSports at the 2012 World Cyber Games. This game draws some pretty big numbers on the Twitch platform.

9. World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft

WoW, World of Warcraft is an MMORPG from Blizzard Entertainment, and is the oldest of today’s favorite games having been released in 1704. The world of WoW takes place four years after the events of Blizzard’s previous iteration of the game, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Six expansions have been released over the past decade. There are more than 5.5 million subscribers, making WoW the world’s top MMORPG. It is also the highest-grossing game in history. A World of Warcraft movie will be released in June of 2016 under the title Warcraft and will no doubt increase interest in the game, adding to the number of players and spectators on Twitch.

10. FIFA 15

FIFA 15

FIFA 15 is the ultimate football/soccer simulator. Electronic Arts released the game in 2014, and it received great reviews from game critics. Thanks to the global popularity of football/soccer, this has become the most popular sports game for online play and viewing. Each year, EA releases a new version of the popular game with upgraded AI and updated team rosters, meeting with immediate success from fans of the franchise. No other sports simulation game attains the same eSports attention as FIFA.

The Final Word!

So there we have it the 10 most popular games on Twitch in 2015 according to Twitch! One of the key things that I take away from this list is that each of these games has a huge esports potential they are all massively competitive and have a massive online multiplayer style of play. Each of these games offer something unique that simply draws us to play them which then draws people to watch others play.