While the news that a streaming platform garnered more watch time over the past year isn’t surprising at all, the growth rate Twitch has achieved since the advent of the pandemic is extremely impressive. Newly published numbers show that Twitch viewership has more than doubled in 12 months, reaching 6.3 billion hours watched in the first quarter of 2021 compared to ‘just’ 3.1 billion hours in the first quarter of 2020.
As we’ve seen with most online streaming platforms and video conferencing apps, the major surge started in Q2 2020 as lockdowns and quarantines hit around the world. However, unlike the previously mentioned services, Twitch has been able to maintain the immense growth quarter-on-quarter since.
Twitch is most popular with streaming of live gaming content, of course, and while this content saw a larger increase than most, Twitch also significantly outperformed its competitors. With the initial pandemic-related surge in viewing hours, both YouTube Gaming and Facebook Gaming saw similar increase. YouTube Gaming viewing hours has now fallen to below where they were prior to the lockdowns. Facebook Gaming has seen a constant growth since the pandemic, but nowhere near the rates of Twitch (it is also the least popular of the three).
Interestingly, the growth that Twitch saw from non-gaming content is even higher than gaming streams. According to the company, “Just Chatting” was its most frequently watched category in the first quarter of 2021. It now represents 12 percent of total watch time on the Amazon-owned platform.
The most watched gaming content on Twitch is still Grand Theft Auto V, as it has been for years. Garena Free Fire is the most watched game on YouTube Gaming, while PUBG Mobile is still the most popular game on Facebook Gaming. Notably, both YouTube Gaming and Facebook Gaming is headlined by mobile games.