Streaming rapidly grew in popularity in 2020 and it looks like that growth will continue in 2021.
In January, Twitch and Facebook Gaming both reported that the platforms surpassed their previous peaks for hours watched. January was actually Twitch’s biggest month ever, with over 2 billion hours watched. Rainmaker.gg reported similar growth for Facebook Gaming, which had 439 million hours watched last month.
Twitch saw 117% growth year-over-year and Facebook Gaming saw 118% growth.
StreamElements CEO, Doron Nir, noted that as more people stayed inside, they started watching more streaming. That didn’t die off as stay-at-home measures loosened up, though. Instead, the appeal of streaming has only grown. And that includes a bigger variety of content being explored.
Twitch’s success was due to the growth of a lot of new categories. The music category jumped to 24 million hours watched, which is up 428% from the 4.6 million hours watched in January 2020.
And it wasn’t only new categories. Viewers and streamers latched onto new titles that were previously overlooked on Twitch. Competitive titles are usually at the top, including games like League of Legends, Fortnite, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. But 2020 saw casual party game Among Us take off as well as Rust, thanks to OfflineTV creating a star-studded streamer server. The survival game had 189 million hours watched, a 1,226% increase.
While a lot of things were surprising in Rainmaker.gg’s report, some things were pretty expected. Just Chatting remained at the top of the categories on Twitch with 242 million hours watched. That’s a steady 18% year-over-year increase. The Just Chatting category is filled with popular streamers like Imane “Pokimane” Anys, Kaitlyn “Amouranth” Siragusa, and Felix “xQc” Lenyel.
In fact, xQc remained the most popular streamer in January. He rushed up the charts in November, even after causing a lot of controversy for cheating during a Fall Guys tournament. xQc has always been known for his dramatic takes and troll-like behavior, so this wasn’t completely out of line for him. xQc earned over 25 million hours watched in January thanks to his controversial Just Chatting hangouts and Rust antics.