Thirty-two participants battled for a $1,000,000 prize pool at the Auto Chess Invitational on October 25-27, but the high stakes were not enough to attract attention from Western audiences.
Hosted in Shanghai, China, the Auto Chess Invitational marked the first official Auto Chess competition and featured a remarkable $450,000 first-place prize.
— Claytano (@Claytano) October 26, 2019
Co-developers Drodo Studio and Long Mobile organized the tournament together with streaming partner ImbaTV, who formed a partnership earlier this year after Drodo Studio was not able to form an agreement with Valve Corporation following the success of Dota Auto Chess.
Drodo Studio is now committed to the development of its standalone game, Auto Chess, while Valve and Riot Games entered the market with Dota Underlords and Teamfight Tactics, respectively, later in the year.
And by the looks of it, Auto Chess already has its back against the wall.
Viewership numbers sourced from Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube show that the Auto Chess Invitation reached peak viewership of just 8,245, according to ESCharts.
The Auto Chess Invitational streamed for a total of 25 hours over three days, with 89,123 total hours watched and an average viewership of 3,565.
The viewership numbers provided by ESCharts do not take into account Chinese viewers and therefore can only be used to determine the impact on other countries and regions.
English peak viewers reached 2,894 during the tournament and has become wildly concerning considering the viewership of rival auto battler games, Teamfight Tactics and Dota Underlords, in recent months.
The WePlay! Dota Underlords Open in August managed to double the peak viewership numbers (17,463) of the Auto Chess Invitation despite the prize pool coming in at just $16,750.
Both Valve Corporation and Drodo Studio are far behind Riot Games in this battle, however.
The Rise of the Elements Invitational recorded 86,599 peak viewers on October 31 and managed to rack up 880,117 total hours watched from 16 hours of streaming on Twitch and YouTube.
With Riot Games announcing that Teamfight Tactics will come to mobile devices in early 2020, the apparent gap between these auto battler games may continue to widen in the year to come.
Even still, there are plenty of challenges ahead for the Teamfight Tactics esports scene and the auto battler genre as a whole.