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Gaming video content worldwide - statistics & facts

The industry of watching other people play video games continues to surge in popularity. In 2020, the number of gaming video content (GVC) viewers reached a record 1.2 billion, which not only represented a growth of more than 25 percent but also fueled a massive boost in GVC revenue. 2020 was an exceptional year for the entire gaming industry, and the pandemic-induced wave of lockdowns also boosted the appeal and demand for live streaming like never before.

Twitch

Twitch is the top platform for watching gaming video content worldwide. The Amazon-owned platform allows users to experience their favorite gamers in action while interacting with them via live stream chat. Like many of its competitors, Twitch saw a meteoric rise in viewership following the onset of the pandemic, but what makes the platform stand out is that it retained impressive audience numbers even after lockdowns were lifted in many parts of the world. After three record-breaking quarters, Twitch viewership reached an all-time high of over 6.51 billion hours in the second quarter of 2021. While gamers and gaming fans have always been the main driver of platform growth, Twitch also fuels engagement by expanding its non-gaming content, and in 2021, Just Chatting had more average weekly viewers than the most popular Twitch game, Grand Theft Auto V.

YouTube and Facebook Gaming

While Twitch accounts for the largest share of GVC revenue, YouTube and Facebook have also seen a rapid increase in gaming video viewership. In the second quarter of 2021, viewership on Facebook Gaming surpassed 1.18 billion hours, marking an increase of over 40 percent compared to early 2020. The number of hours streamed on Facebook Gaming has also more than tripled since the onset of the pandemic, making the social network an increasingly viable competitor to the two biggest names in the business. This pursuit race is not only fueled by Facebook’s expansion into IRL territory via its Hanging Out hub, but it is also enabled by YouTube Gaming’s declining viewership numbers. Following a peak in viewership in late 2020, the number of hours watched on the video-sharing site has almost plummeted to pre-pandemic levels.

Most popular channels and streamers

In 2021, Ninja was the most subscribed Twitch streamer worldwide, with more than 16.94 million followers. Given his popularity and influence, it comes as no surprise that he also recently topped the list of highest-paid video gamers worldwide. Streamer monetization is big business, as gamers can earn impressive revenues from channel subscriptions, sponsorships, merchandise sales, and various other avenues. The five highest-paid Twitch stars worldwide had combined earnings of almost eight million U.S. dollars in 2020. As for YouTube, PewDiePie remains by far the most popular gaming channel, while Minecraft stayed on top of YouTube’s gaming video charts.

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