How Pestily became the most-watched streamer on Twitch overnight

It started by playing a lot of Escape from Tarkov.

Screengrab via Battlestate Games

The explosion in viewership for Escape from Tarkov on Twitch this past week has paid dividends for numerous streamers. But for one gamer in particular, the game’s time in the spotlight has brought about astronomic growth. 

Pestily was the most-watched streamer of Tarkov in 2019, but prior to this week, you likely hadn’t even heard of him. With more than 2,000 hours of airtime playing Tarkov in 2019, he managed to rack up just 3.7 million hours watched before last week’s event with an average of 1,750 viewers. 

But when Battlestate games enabled in-game drops in Tarkov for viewers watching the game on Twitch, those mediocre figures were completely blown out of the water. 

In the past seven days, Pestily has streamed six times totaling 122 hours of airtime and produced 7.9 million hours watched, according to statistics recorded by SullyGnome. That helped him see a jump in his average viewership to 64,663. Pestily tweeted, though, that his time spent streaming this past week totaled 125 hours.

The rise in Pestily’s viewership was inarguably affected by the introduction of in-game drops for Twitch viewers, but another major factor for Pestily was his airtime. He aired more hours of Tarkov than any influencer averaging more than 100 viewers from Dec. 30 to Jan. 5 and made other top streamers look like they were slacking off. 

The second most-watched Tarkov streamer last week, Anton, averaged 16,000 viewers with 1.5 million hours watched, but he also only played a fraction of the time Pestily did with 85 hours of airtime. The same was the case for fellow endemic streamer Veritas, who streamed for 74 hours. 

While other more commonly known streamers like Dr DisRespect, xQc, Cohh Carnage, and DrLupo all managed to post formidable viewership averages, none put in the amount of time that Pestily did.

Over the course of a seven day period, which is 168 hours, Pestily spent 72 percent of his time streaming Tarkov. To further put that in perspective, assuming that he averaged around six hours of sleep per day, which is highly unlikely, Pestily would have spent all but four of his waking hours in the week streaming Tarkov.

That’s not exactly something a more established streamer like Dr DisRespect would do at this point in his career. Even when Ninja was on the rise early in 2018 and was streaming large numbers of hours, he spent around 60 to 70 hours per week live on Twitch.

The end result for Pestily? Outside of the viewers, he tweeted that the week helped him gain 12,852 subscribers and 123,464 followers. But that’s only a small part of the impact of this event. 

Following the first two days of in-game drops, Pestily announced in a Twitter video on New Year’s Eve that he was shutting off the ability for people to donate to him on Twitch. Instead, he wanted his supporters to donate to the Starlight Children’s Foundation in Australia with a goal of raising $1 million AUD. At time of writing, Pestily has raised $83,339 toward that goal.

Pestily still has a revenue source for his stream through subscriptions, but leveraging his recent rise to the top of Twitch, he’s looking to more than just sit on his laurels. He’s pushing to make a positive impact on his community similar to how he pushed the envelope on Twitch by spending an incredible amount of time streaming this past week.