Twitch breaks viewership records again in 2021

Twitch’s viewership has more than doubled since 2019, but rival platforms are also on the rise.

Image via Stream Hatchet

This article is proudly sponsored by Stream Hatchet.

As pandemic restrictions lessen around the U.S., many are returning to school, offices, and entertainment venues. This reopening of restaurants, movie theatres, and concert halls means increased competition against the livestreaming space, which saw massive growth during 2020. So how are streaming platforms faring as more and more people attempt a “return to normal,” and which platforms are seeing the most growth?

According to data analytics platform Stream Hatchet, Twitch remains the most popular livestreaming platform with over 18.5 billion hours watched so far this year. To provide some perspective on this metric, Twitch only had 8.3 billion hours watched in 2019. And in 2020, Twitch exploded with users and recorded 13.1 billion hours watched on the platform. 

But Twitch isn’t the only popular livestreaming site for gaming content. YouTube Gaming takes second place for most live hours watched. Viewers have tuned in to YouTube Gaming for more than 3.8 billion hours so far this year, which is a decrease from the 4.3 billion hours watched in 2020. But the head of YouTube Gaming Ryan Wyatt is confident in the platform and recently announced a new OBS integration to make streaming on YouTube more creator-friendly.

Screengrab via TimTheTatman

Regardless of YouTube’s slump this year, their viewership is still more than double the number of hours watched in 2019. And with top-tier content creators like TimTheTatman, Dr. Lupo, Valkyrae, and Dr. Disrespect streaming exclusively on the platform, YouTube Gaming is gaining a reputation for high-value live content.

The third most-watched platform Facebook Gaming has seen some impressive growth in the past two years. The social media company may be catching up to YouTube Gaming, earning over 3.5 billion hours watched so far this year. Out of all major livestreaming platforms, Facebook Gaming has seen the most growth with a 56 percent increase in viewership over the past year. 

While Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook remain the top sites for western gaming streams, a number of small platforms are growing among eastern audiences. For example, NaverTV and Nonolive achieved 1.7 billion hours watched so far this year combined. 

Screengrab via xQc

Among the most-watched platforms, xQc remains the king of streamed content. From July until October, he reached over 49 million hours watched on Twitch. Former CS:GO pro and Brazilian Twitch streamer Gaules takes second place with 36 million hours watched. As for the top female streamers, Amouranth was the most-watched with over 12.1 million viewer hours in the past three months. 

With so many successful Just Chatting streamers, it’s no surprise that non-gaming content has continued to explode on livestreaming platforms. Just Chatting remains the most-watched category on Twitch, reaching more than 708 million hours watched in the past three months. And Sports as a category has also exploded on Twitch, seeing 441 percent growth in the past year.

Image via Riot Games

In terms of the most-watched esports, Apex Legends and VALORANT have seen immense growth this year. Apex has become the most popular battle royale game to watch, with over 50 million hours watched in the past three months. VALORANT has also grown its audience and has seen a 209 percent spike in viewership since the beginning of this year. 

While this year hasn’t been so great for YouTube Gaming, Twitch and Facebook Gaming will likely continue to see growth as we move into next year.

You can learn more about all of the latest streaming trends, stats, and data by visiting Stream Hatchet’s official website.


Kate Irwin
Kate Irwin is a PC gamer passionate about FPS games and has an MFA in writing. You can follow her on Twitter @pixiekate13