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Manor Lords Gallops into the Top RTS Games on Live Streaming

The anticipation for the release of Manor Lords has been building for seven long years. Back when the game was still in its infancy, solo indie developer Slavic Magic (real name Greg Styczeń) enchanted fans with his vision for a city builder that put historical accuracy and pastoral visuals front-and-center.

On the 26th of April, this idea finally came to fruition when Manor Lords was released in early access. Manor Lords became the most wishlisted game on Steam with 3.2M wishlists before release, going on to sell 1M copies within just 24 hours of early access. Expectations were high for such a hotly anticipated game, despite Slavic Magic’s consistent reminders that the game is still a work-in-progress.

Naturally, the hype spread to live-streaming platforms where creators sought to craft their own medieval cities and dissect the game’s design choices.

The Hype for Manor Lords Spread into Live Streaming Upon Release

Manor Lords was an immediate hit on live streaming. In its first week of early access, Manor Lords generated 3.5M hours watched across all platforms. In fact, despite only having five days of release in April, the game managed to break into the top 100 games for the month at #49. Plenty of streamers were interested in covering the game, with close to 100K hours of airtime in the first week.

Part of this success may be attributed to early interest in the game from creators who were given an advance copy for review. When the embargo on Manor Lords content was lifted on the 12th of April (two full weeks before early access), streamers immediately took to their channels to cover the game. In these two weeks of pre-release alone, the game garnered an additional 3.5M hours watched, making 7M hours watched between the 12th of April and the 3rd of May in total.

Game Development Streamers like PirateSoftware Supported Manor Lords Upon Release

A variety of streamers created Manor Lords content over its first week, from curious onlookers to seasoned vets in the game developer space. HandOfBlood had the highest Manor Lords viewership with 102K hours watched, though there was a fairly even spread of demand across all streamers. This wide distribution is promising, implying a general acceptance of the game and a diverse array of audiences tuning in rather than a one-off boost from a big-name streamer.

One notable name among the top 10 is PirateSoftware, the mega-popular game developer/streamer who has seen a drastic rise in his own popularity over the last year. As an indie dev himself, PirateSoftware supported Slavic Magic’s new release and provided commentary on his game design choices, pulling in 45K hours watched over his three hours stream.

Manor Lords Takes Second Place Among All RTS Games During Debut Week

Despite the excitement for Manor Lords, fans still struggle to precisely define its genre. In terms of competitive play, Manor Lords is an RTS game similar to the Total War franchise in which players build up their cities before fighting back opposing factions in grand-scale warfare. Treated as an RTS, Manor Lords had the second highest performance of all RTS games during its debut week. Only the long-standing StarCraft managed to beat out Manor Lords, with just 300K more hours watched.

However, critics consistently point out that Manor Lords takes a softer approach to the RTS genre, not directly competing with games like Age of Empires or Total War. Instead, Manor Lords leans more into the cozy, casual niche of city builder sims that allow the player freedom to scale their manor to a full-fledged city at whatever pace they desire. Slavic Magic’s transparency with these aspects of the gameplay has earned great respect from the player base, leading to a level of meaningful feedback from the community that often eludes developers of AAA projects.

Manor Lords’ reception has been almost unanimously positive, setting the stage for a fan-favorite game where players feel actively involved in the game’s development. This is certain to breed loyalty among players, hopefully carrying the game to success upon its full release. Although the full release date hasn’t been announced as yet, Stream Hatchet will be tracking the game as it develops.

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