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How 'Fortnite' is beating the biggest shows on cable

Live streaming of video games has become a popular trend in recent years, and "Fortnite" is taking it to the next level.

There are 3.2 million broadcasters on streaming site Twitch, which is close to 60 percent higher than 2017. Since Epic Games launched the battle royale version of "Fortnite," the game has taken over the site.

In September 2017, "Fortnite" made up less than 1 percent of the content produced by streaming channels. Fast forward to June 2018, and that number has jumped to 49 percent.

It's beating out games that once dominated the platform like "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds" and "League of Legends." In fact, from 2016 to 2018 no other game has controlled more than 40 percent of gaming channels on Twitch.

"Fortnite" is also blowing up on YouTube.

"The fact that 'Fortnite' now holds the record for the most video game-related uploads in a single month on YouTube is wild," said Ryan Wyatt, head of YouTube Gaming.

Then there's Friday Fortnite, an event from Las Vegas hosted by streamers like Tyler "Ninja" Blevins and Keemstar.

Unlike esports competitions, which are tied to official leagues, Friday Fortnite is a group of enthusiastic gamers trying to out-survive each other to win prize money. In June, Keemstar said the competition pulled in 8.8 million unique viewers. To put that in perspective, the season finale of AMC's "The Walking Dead" brought in 7.9 million viewers, the first round of the NFL draft raked in 5.3 million and the season premier of "Westworld" reeled in 2.1 million.

For live streamers on YouTube and Twitch, business couldn't be better.

"Fortnite" is boosting streamers' channel views and driving up revenue. Twitch streamers can make money from subscribers, game sales, brand deals and even donations. Streamer "Ninja" has made an estimated $500,000 a month from streaming his "Fortnite" gameplay on Twitch.

"Fortnite" even has a partnership deal with Twitch for free merchandise. People who sign up for a Twitch Prime account get free accessories for their avatars. And YouTube has Super Chat that allows fans to pay to pin their comments on their favorite videos.

When the first "Fortnite" World Cup launches in 2019, you can expect huge viewership numbers from audiences watching their favorite streamers. According to Statista, the number of gaming viewers worldwide will reach an estimated 743 million people in 2019.

Epic Games announced in May that "Fortnite" is entering the esports arena. The gaming studio said it will dedicate $100 million in prize money, making it the largest prize pool for an esport ever.