People had time on their hands in 2020 and they decided in record numbers to spend more time watching their favourite streamers. Now growth in the sector is nothing new, if you’re not growing hugely here then you’re doing something wrong, but 2020 was supercharged.
StreamElements’ recap of the year, using data from partner Arsenal.gg, pegged Twitch at 17bn hours viewed over the 12 month period, that’s 83 per cent up from 2019’s 9bn hours. 1.7bn of those hours were in December, as the service bowed out on a record high month.
Facebook Gaming also grew impressively. 3.59bn hours were viewed in 2020, up from 1.35bn in 2019, a rise of 166 per cent. It too ended the year on a high with 388m hours in December alone.
Doron Nir, CEO of livestreaming tools and services provider StreamElements commented on the platforms rise:
“Facebook’s road to success can be tracked through a series of strategic moves, including their Tournaments product that launched with some high profile celebrity charity events, signing deals with over a half dozen prominent creators, they matched existing contracts for Mixer streamers when the platform was sunsetted, they partnered with the music industry during a time when DMCA takedowns were rampant, and ended 2020 with a major diversity initiative. The big takeaway is that the market has spoken and what it favors is entertainment that is live, shared, and interactive. Expect to see more brands doubling down on gamer-centric social video platforms this year, including working with influencer-savvy companies to help navigate the vast and complex content creator space.”
Top titles on Twitch across the year included League of Legends with 1.4bn hours, Fortnite with 904m, GTA V with 764m, Valorant with 737m and Call of Duty: Warzone rounded out the top five with 637m. The last two titles only launched during the year, making their presence even more impressive.
After Valorant, Fall Guys was the biggest new IP with 139m hours watched since its launch in August. Topping Phasmophobia on 69m, Cyberpunk with 61m and Genshin Impact with 59m. Top streamers for the year on Twitch were xQcOW, Gaules, summit1g, NickMercs, loltyler1, auronplay, ibai, Rubius, TimTheTatman and Asmongold.
Speaking on a recipe for success for both games and streamers, Nir stated:
“Games like Fall Guys, Among Us, and Phasmophobia featured the blueprint for the next generation of developers looking to mirror their success, which is gameplay that mirrors the structure of television game shows, such as short rounds with easy to learn rules and audience participation. These formats also leave a lot of room for social interaction and entertainment value, including enabling creators to manifest their personality into the gameplay experience. The result is a new interactive stage-based genre that resonates with gamers, streamers, and their viewers, which is a trifecta that is harder to effectively achieve with some of the more traditional types of game play.”