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The Pokémon Europe International Championships Boom with 1.2M Hours Watched

Pokémon has leaned into the casual side of its core audience in recent years, fostering a mindset of living alongside Pokémon with wellness apps like Pokémon Sleep and the delightfully cozy Pokémon Concierge series. But there still remains a dedicated hardcore fanbase intent on optimizing battle strategies, exploiting game mechanics and, ultimately, raising the strongest Pokémon.

The 2024 Pokémon Europe International Championships (EUIC) proved as much, taking place from the 5th to the 7th of April. Pokémon trainers flocked from across Europe to compete in multiple different Pokémon games, including the mainline games (VGC), the Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG), Pokémon GO, and Pokémon UNITE. The diversity of games has extended the reach of Pokémon to even more competitive players and fans of varying styles of gameplay.

As Pokémon approaches the 10th generation of its mainline games, it’s worth gauging how the Pokémon esports scene is performing using the 2024 Pokémon EUIC as a barometer.

The 2024 Pokémon EUIC Draws an Online Audience with the Help of knekro

The 2024 Pokémon EUIC was a huge success, pulling in 1.2M hours watched over the weekend of the event. No particular match stood out from the pack however, with the peak viewership sitting at just 85K. Instead, the event caused a surge in demand for all Pokémon streaming generally: When comparing the event weekend’s performance to the previous weekend, viewership for major Pokémon games increased by 148%, from 646K to 1.6M hours watched. Twitch streamer knekro was responsible for a large part of the 2024 Pokémon EUIC’s viewership, bringing in 275K hours watched for the VGC component of the event alone.

As mentioned earlier, the Pokémon EUIC is actually composed of multiple competitive Pokémon games. Among these, the Pokémon VGC remains the most in-demand event for fans on streaming platforms, represented by the most recent generation Pokémon Scarlet/Violet. For the 2024 Pokémon EUIC, the VGC brought in 46.8% of total viewership with 575K hours watched. Pokémon UNITE brought in the least viewership with just 191K hours watched, possibly due to being the newest game on the Pokémon esports rotation.

The fan bases for different Pokémon games are clearly split in terms of their viewership habits. Although the Pokémon VGC was the most popular tournament among viewers, 70.5% of this viewership came from co-streamers. This is a massive proportion compared to the just 5.1% of co-streaming viewership for Pokémon GO. This certainly reflects the higher popularity of co-streaming for video games as observed with the R6 Invitational back in February. Generally, higher co-streaming suggests fans are more invested in streaming personalities and their takes on the gameplay, rather than the game itself.

The streaming platforms for various games were also significantly different. The Pokémon VGC was primarily watched on Twitch with 84.8% of viewership coming from the platform. Again, this preference for Twitch parallels the viewing habits of fans for other esports. But fans of the more “casual” games such as Pokémon GO and the Pokémon TCG preferred to watch coverage of these events on YouTube at 60% and 58% respectively. YouTube has generally been better suited to traditional card game streaming and events which are less “personality-focused” such as Pokémon GO.

Pokémon esports is alive and well, with the largest turnout since the International Championships began in 2022. Viewership for the entire Pokémon EUIC rose by 185% from the previous year. Although all games increased in viewership, Pokémon GO had by far the biggest jump. In 2023, just 11K hours were watched of Pokémon GO EUIC content, possibly from curious onlookers. But this number soared up to 244K hours watched in 2024 – an incredible 2069% jump. This renewed interest may be a result of The Pokémon Company’s aforementioned attempts to promote casual content to fans of the series.

The Pokémon International Championships have historically taken place across four regions: Europe, North America, Latin America, and Oceania. Of these regions, Europe is by far the most popular. Comparing viewership for the most recent editions of each region’s Pokémon International Championships, Europe has 47.2% of all hours watched. The 2023 North America International Championships, however, brought in just 12.3%. 

Sadly, it was the Pokémon Oceania International Championships that were cut from the 2024 esports roster. The ratings zone was split into Oceania and Asia-Pacific, making hosting an event in the region no longer financially viable for The Pokémon Company. Players in these regions can still compete in Regional Championships or travel to compete in other regions, but it’s a huge blow to fans of their favorite local players in the VGC.

Although Pokémon esports is most popular in Europe, viewership continues to rise across the globe. Europe and Latin America saw massive growth from the 2023 editions of their events, suggesting that we might see the same growth for the 2024 Pokémon North America International Championships. Stream Hatchet will be tracking the event when it takes place from June 7th to June 9th of this year.

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