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Hearthstone’s 10th Anniversary Brings In 1M Hours Watched in Just One Day

When Hearthstone first released on the 11th of March 2014, it revolutionized the digital collectible card game (CCG) genre. Players from mobile and PC could now battle one another cross-platform. The visuals were polished and vibrant, with each action bursting forth from the screen. Hearthstone reveled in its purely digital form, experimenting with gameplay mechanics that were impractical for physical card games.

Ten years on, the spirit of innovation that birthed Hearthstone is alive and well. Hearthstone‘s 10th anniversary is a major milestone for the World of Warcraft (WoW) inspired card game, with Blizzard planning content and events in celebration such as three new expansions and a revised Battlegrounds Duos mode. The biggest event for bringing fans together, however, was the Hearthstone Community Day that took place on March 11th: 24 hours of streaming on Twitch where players could tune in to unlock exclusive drops.

Community Day and the other 10th anniversary events have reinvigorated Hearthstone fans’ passion for the game, driving up active players and viewership on Twitch in anticipation of the new Whizbang’s Workshop expansion.

Hearthstone’s 10th Anniversary Community Day is a Massive Success on Streaming

Community Day is a great chance for viewers to engage with all of the new Hearthstone content on offer for the year. For Hearthstone‘s 10th anniversary, Blizzard offered 10 drops that viewers could gain for watching just 4 hours of content. 291K unique viewers turned out for Community Day, generating just over 1M hours watched in 24 hours.

Giveaways were the main drawcard for viewers: 72% of all hours watched came from streams with the tag “drops” in their titles. Further, there were 5K mentions of the word “drops” on Twitch chats, showing people were looking to discuss the new cards being released. Among the drops were card packs for the recently released Whizbang’s Workshop expansion, which is set to reinvigorate Hearthstone’s gameplay with a new mechanic: Miniaturize.

Of the Hearthstone streamers participating in Community Day, RduLIVE edged out the top spot with 69K hours watched. RduLIVE has been a long-time streamer of Hearthstone content, frequently partnering for sponsored streams with the companion app Firestone. The streamer with the highest peak viewership on Community Day, however, was Thijs, with 11.6K peak viewers and just 3K less hours watched than RduLIVE. As an esports player for G2 Esports, Thijs has kept up to date with all developments in Hearthstone since he began playing in 2014.

Hearthstone’s Theorycrafting Mode Entices Viewers with New Content and Strategies

On March 13th, two days after Hearthstone‘s 10th anniversary Community Day, the Play Hearthstone Twitch channel hosted an official “Theorycrafting” stream in which commentators bounced between creator’s channels who were participating in the Theorycrafting event. Theorycrafting is a special game mode in which players have to use 10 cards from the upcoming expansion in their matches. 

Naturally, viewers tuned in to suss out what the future meta might look like while creators engaged to play around with the new cards. Between 103 streams mentioning “Theorycrafting”, viewers watched for a combined 145K hours. The official Theorycrafting stream contributed a surprisingly small fraction of this viewership at just 18%. This reflects fans’ desire to specifically follow their favorite streamers playing Hearthstone rather than a variety of streamers.

Hearthstone Remains the Dominant Collectible Card Game on Streaming Platforms

Hearthstone has proven itself the #1 CCG on streaming, with a loyal following on Twitch. In the week prior to the 10th anniversary event, Hearthstone sat at around 2.7M hours watched. But with the anniversary week bringing in 4.2M hours watched, that’s an increase of around 79% thanks to the combined effects of Community Day and Theorycrafting streams. 

Even without this effect though, Hearthstone has been consistently outperforming other CCGs like Marvel Snap and Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel which had 441K and 544K hours watched for last week respectively. Part of this success can be attributed to Hearthstone’s age, being 8 years older than the aforementioned games. But even Magic the Gathering Online, which was released in 2002, is outpaced by Hearthstone in the streaming arena.

Part of Hearthstone’s success as a free-to-play CCG relies upon its crafting system. Essentially, almost all CCGs rely upon card packs with a random chance of finding the cards you want. However, Hearthstone includes a method whereby you can recycle unwanted cards to directly craft the cards you need. In using this mechanic, Hearthstone limits its profit potential by providing players with a way to avoid unnecessarily buying numerous card packs, unlike Marvel Snap which generates serious money as a result. The upside of this strategy, however, is a larger and more loyal player base who feel rewarded with control over building their decks.

Hearthstone’s vocal fan base proves there are players clamoring for new content and continued updates. Above all as a free-to-play game, Hearthstone needs to maintain a fair playing field for newcomers and pros alike. With the Whizbang’s Workshop expansion having released on the 19th of March, players are sure to log back in and create more Hearthstone content.

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