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Published: October 15, 2021

Written by: Silvia Pavlof

  • Twitch breaks its own record for hours watched again
  • Other lesser-known platforms also see an enormous rise in popularity
  • Data reveals surprising info for the most popular categories of streams

With the pandemic still going on, streaming platforms continue to grow as well and Twitch posts better numbers.

Twitch Remains King of Streaming Platforms

Last year saw massive growth in streaming in general – from Twitch streamers getting bigger, to the rise of Vtubers. As restrictions around the world are being lifted, with shops, restaurants, cinemas, schools, and offices again opening their doors, that means there is increased competition in the live streaming space. How are streaming platforms performing now, as things are slowly returning to normal?

According to data from Stream Hatchet, an analytics platform, Twitch remains the king of streaming this year, while also breaking its own record with over 18.5 billion hours watched so far this year. For comparison, in 2019, before the pandemic hit, Twitch had “just” 8.3 billion hours watched. The platform saw an over 60% increase in viewership in 2020, when everyone was stuck inside the house, amassing over 13.1 billion hours watched.

YouTube Gaming is the Runner-up

YouTube Gaming comes up in second place in hours watched. So far this year viewers have watched more than 3.8 billion hours on the platform, which is a decrease from the 4.3 billion hours watched last year. Ryan Wyatt, the head of YouTube Gaming, said that the new OBS integration will permit streamers an easier way to stream on the platform.

Regardless of the lower numbers this year, they are still more than double those in 2019. With content creators such as TimTheTatman, Dr. Lupo, Valkyrae, and Dr. Disrespect making the switch from Twitch to YouTube Gaming this year, as well as the continuing growth of Vtuber agencies like Hololive, it is clear that the platform will remain a worthy competitor to Twitch.

Other Platforms

Facebook Gaming comes in at third place for most hours watched. It has seen massive growth the past two years with a 56 percent increase in viewership over just this year. It’s closing the gap with YouTube Gaming, with over 3.5 billion hours watched so far this year. Smaller platforms are growing among eastern audiences. NaverTV and Nonolive have reached a combined viewership of 1.7 billion hours watched so far this year.

Who and What People Watched the Most?

xQc remains on top with over 49 million hours watched on Twitch. Gaules, the former CS:GO pro and Brazilia streamer, is in second place with 36 million hours watched on Twitch. Despite a bumpy year, consisting of numerous bans, Amouranth remains the most-watched female streamer with over 12.1 million viewer hours in the past three months.

Non-gaming content made up a significant portion of Twitch viewing hours, with Just Chatting streams remaining the most-watched category on Twitch, reaching more than 708 million hours watched in the past three months. Sports also saw an enormous growth of 441 percent growth in the past year.

Speaking of sports, esports grew significantly in popularity as well. Amassing over 50 million hours watched in the past three months, Apex Legends became the most popular battle royale game to watch. VALORANT saw a 209 percent spike in viewership since the beginning of this year as well.

While this year has still not ended, it is clear that despite some drops in viewership, like with YouTube Gaming, platforms will continue to grow as we move into 2022.

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