Twitch viewership grew 45% in 2021
more watch hours were logged on Twitch this year compared to 2020.
Twitch remains the dominant live streaming platform for gamers and has increased its total watch hours by nearly half this year alone. In a report published by StreamElements using data from Rainmaker.gg, the streaming software company found that Twitch’s viewership increased 45% this year to over 24 billion hours watched across the site.
These are huge numbers, especially considering the fact that 2020 had been Twitch’s biggest year ever for growth as the pandemic shuttered people away in their homes and led them online.
Comparing platforms — Between October and December 2021, Twitch users logged six billion hours on the site. This means that on average, Twitch is received 2 billion watch hours per month this year. Compared to Facebook Gaming (5 billion), Twitch is a clear winner, but YouTube is comparable overall when it comes to total hours of gaming content watched (including stream VODs and pre-recorded video content like game reviews).
YouTube’s gaming empire — As of October 2021, YouTube boasted 800 billion gaming-related video views in just 10 months. But it’s not clear how that translates into hours. What if each view constituted just 10 minutes? Seeing as the average mobile user on YouTube spends 40 minutes a day on the app, 10 minutes here and there wouldn’t exactly be a stretch for the sake of estimation.
This would mean YouTube had 8 trillion minutes watched — or 133.3 billion hours of gaming content watched in just one year. If true, compared to Twitch’s 24 billion, that would actually make YouTube the most popular site for gaming content by a long shot.
Twitch’s parasocial chatters — Unlike YouTube, however, Twitch is the home of binge-watchers. The average Twitch viewer spends 95 minutes on the site every day. And while Twitch is known for its gaming content, the platform’s “Just Chatting” category is actually its most popular, with over 3 billion hours watched this year.
Nearly all of Twitch’s top streamers of 2021 spent hundreds of hours “just chatting” with their audiences. For example, the #1 most-watched Twitch streamer XQc logged nearly 1,000 hours, auronplay (#3) logged over 300 hours, ibai (#4) logged 555 hours and Hasanabi (#9) logged over 2,200 hours chatting with their audiences. While Twitch remains a site for engaging with internet personalities, it lost the massively popular TimTheTatman and Ludwig this year.
Unfortunately, Twitch still struggles with diversity. Its top 40 most-watched streamers this year are all male, and the platform’s leaderboard is also lacking substantial BIPOC and LGBTQ representation. As Twitch continues to grow, here’s to hoping the platform becomes a little more inclusive as well.