In a year where online interaction was put under a microscope more so than ever before, 2020 proved that livestreaming could hold its own as the entertainment medium of the future. Between the countless communities that were either spawned or grew exponentially in 2020, this year proved to be a landmark turning point in streaming history.
Here are five of the biggest moments in streaming from 2020.
Shroud’s return to Twitch, Aug. 12
After Mixer ceased operations this June, many of the streamers who inked groundbreaking deals to stream exclusively on Microsoft’s platform were left without a home. One of the most notable names to be left without a platform to stream on after the “Great Mixer Exodus” was former Counter-Strike: Global Offensive pro Shroud, who had streamed on Twitch prior to signing his exclusive deal with Mixer last October.
But on Aug. 11, Shroud announced he would be returning to Twitch by way of an exclusive deal. The next day, he went live to the tune of over 500,000 viewers. After just about 10 months away from the platform, Twitch welcomed Shroud back with open arms. Prior to his departure, he had accumulated well over seven million followers on Twitch, making him the second-most popular streamer on the platform only behind Ninja.
The nearly eight-hour long homecoming affair earlier this year garnered well over 220,000 average viewers across its entirety, while Shroud himself reeled in over 16,500 new subscribers, according to a tweet detailing the statistics of the stream, which he posted mere hours after his return to Twitch.
Cr1tikal beats xQc in chess, June 9
With games like VALORANT, Fall Guys, Among Us, and so many others practically coming out of nowhere to dominate the attention of viewers all over Twitch throughout the course of 2020, it was certainly intriguing back in the spring when chess became one of, if not, the most popular game being streamed on the platform.
And on June 9, the entire Twitch community came together as streamers from all backgrounds participated in PogChamps, a 16-person chess tournament featuring big names like Forsen, Yassuo, and Ludwig among others. But no more iconic game was played during the tournament than a group stage contest between Cr1tikal and xQc. In just six moves, Cr1tikal was able to take the victory, leaving xQc on the losing end of a lightning-speed contest.
Perhaps what’s most ironic was the fact that the game was casted on stream by xQc’s coach for the event, Hikaru Nakamura, who could only watch in stunned disbelief as his prodigy was defeated in emphatic fashion.
PogChamps resulted in a surge in viewership numbers for chess on Twitch, as the game became increasingly popular throughout the early stages of the summer. At its peak in June, chess was bringing in just about 25,000 average viewers per day, according to Twitch stats website SullyGnome. And with 1.9 million views to this day, Cr1tikal’s rapid-fire victory over xQc has quickly become one of the most-viewed Twitch clips of all time.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez plays Among Us, Oct. 20
On Oct. 20, just several weeks before Election Day in the United States, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) made an attempt to bring potential voters together through the medium of the internet by streaming Among Us on Twitch. The event drew well over 430,000 concurrent viewers at one point, making it one of the most-watched streams in the history of the platform. Only Shroud’s return stream earlier in the year and Ninja’s 2018 Fortnite stream with Drake saw higher peak-viewership numbers than Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitch debut.
Partly, this was due to the fact that Ocasio-Cortez played Among Us alongside some of the biggest names currently on Twitch. Alongside big-name streamers like Pokimane, DisguisedToast, Hasan Piker, and others, the congresswoman was able to bring together several communities and audiences with the groundbreaking stream of the year.
Hafthor Bjornsson breaks the deadlift record, May 2
All the way back in early May, Game of Thrones star Hafthor Bjornsson broke the world deadlift record, lifting 501kg and breaking the previous world record of 462kg.
In an epic crossover of fitness, bodybuilding, and raw strength, one would have been led to believe that the event would have been better suited for a channel like ESPN or FOX Sports. Instead, the man also known as “The Mountain” elected to stream his record-breaking deadlift attempt live on his own Twitch channel.
Throughout the entire stream, Bjornsson averaged well over 50,000 viewers while peaking at nearly 90,000, according to SullyGnome. But perhaps what’s most impressive is that even after shattering the deadlift world record, Bjornsson used much of the momentum he got from that one stream to propel his own streaming career. To this day, you can find him on Twitch streaming games like chess, Warzone, and League of Legends.
TimTheTatman wins a Fall Guys game, Aug. 19
After enduring a barrage of losses, near-misses, and memes for the better part of a week, TimTheTatman recorded his first Fall Guys win on Aug. 19. The saga kicked off eight days prior, and for the next week-plus, Tim endlessly attempted to secure a crown in the battle royale of the summer.
Throughout the course of the eight-day grind to the top, Tim felt a wave of endless support from the game’s community, developers, and main social media account. Additionally, a countless number of his fellow streamers, such as Nadeshot, Ninja, CouRage, and others emerged from every corner of the internet to support him in his grind.
When the journey culminated, over 300,000 viewers, according to SullyGnome, tuned in to watch Tim capture his first crown in an intense round of Hex-a-Gone. After he secured the victory, even more viewers flooded into the stream, bringing his peak count to just about 340,000.