Twitch dominates streaming in 2021, YouTube struggling to keep up

By Fariha Bhatti


Apr 16, 2021

Reading time: 2 min

Twitch has contributed the most to the livestreaming culture, becoming one of the leading gaming content platforms in the world. Streamlabs Q1 report shows that Facebook and YouTube Gaming are catching up as well. 

Over the past few years, gaming stream content has flourished drastically, bringing the video game industry into the spotlight. Consequently, platforms like Facebook and YouTube joined Twitch in its venture to provide a set space for gaming content creators. The two platforms were late to the show, but Streamlabs Q1 report shows sky-high numbers in terms of overall growth. 

Twitch was one of the first streaming platforms to bring gaming to the fore, and while many competitors tried to ladder up, the Amazon-owned platform remained unscathed. This remains the case in 2021 as Twitch’s numbers remain colossally unmatched, marking 16.5% growth compared to the last quarter, representing a 97% increase year-over-year. 

The platform has doubled its viewership since Q1 2020, racking up 6.3 billion hours watched in Q1 2021, an all-time high for the Amazon-owned Livestreaming platform. A boost in the “Just Chatting” category could be attributed to Twitch’s rocketing growth, as the category saw a 44% increase since Q1 2020.

IRL streamer Kaitlyn “Amouranth” Siragusa recently beat Imane “Pokimane” Anysto be the top female streamer on Twitch despite lesser followers. The streamer uses hot tub streams to garner an audience, proving that Just Chatting is undoubtedly gaining traction on Twitch. 

Facebook gaming sees incredible growth in 2021

While YouTube Gaming continues to retain its second position, the growth isn’t quite as impressive. The platform experience a dip in viewership, down from 1.92 billion hours to 1.37 billion hours in this quarter. Unique channels and a total number of hours streamed also dwindled in Q1 2021. 

However, it’s not all dark no stars for YouTube. Year-over-year in total viewership and average concurrent viewership still shines as the platform saw a boost of 1.37 billion in Q1 2021 from last Q1’s 1.07 billion, implying hours watched on YouTube Gaming have grown by 28%. YouTube didn’t see a boost like Twitch, but the platform is in motion. 

Twitch runs the show from the top, but Facebook Gaming also saw a sizeable increase in its audience. The platform broke the billion mark for the first time in its history, hitting 1.06 billion hours watched. While Facebook Gaming sits at number three in rankings, the platform can easily surpass YouTube Gaming if it grows at the same pace. 

“For the first time, we are seeing Facebook Gaming and YouTube Gaming closely compete against each other in terms of viewership,” said Ashray Urs, Head of Product at Streamlabs. “There is a chance we could see Facebook Gaming overtake YouTube Gaming in viewership next quarter. ”

The report reveals that Facebook and YouTube Gaming are still far behind from dethroning Twitch as the top streaming platform, but the overall growth is steady. The amazon-owned streaming site still makes up 72.3% of the market share in viewership, with 15.6% and 12.1% coming in from YouTube and Facebook Gaming, respectively. 


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