Gaming

Twitch's active streamer count grew a staggering amount in 2020

Woman wearing headphones and sitting at a computer.

150%

The number of Twitch streamers jumped to 9.9M in Jan., up from 3.9M a year ago.

SafeBettingSites

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Streaming platform Twitch killed it during 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic led people to spend more on at-home entertainment, especially video games. But as the numbers indicate, people weren't just playing more games, they were also spending more time watching others play games. Consequently, both the number of streamers and viewers on Amazon-owned Twitch hit all time highs.

A pandemic vocation — According to research from SafeBettingSites, a UK-based website that researches the online gaming industry, the total number of streamers actively broadcasting on Twitch soared to 9.9 million in January of this year, up from 3.9 million at the start of 2020. The platform also averaged 2.1 million viewers who spent more than one trillion minutes watching streams in 2020. That's up from 1.25 million viewers and 660 billion minutes watched in 2019.

Trying to become the next e-sports star is a vocation perfectly suited to a pandemic when you're stuck at home with much more free time, so the new streamer numbers make sense. But it's unclear how Twitch measures activity, and of course, the big question for many businesses seeing pandemic gains is how their numbers will be affected once lockdown measures are eventually lifted around the globe.

Competition — Twitch remains by far the largest streaming platform for video games, though the tech giants have been nipping at its toes. YouTube saw similar precipitous growth in gaming in 2020, though from a smaller base, with more than 100 billion hours of gaming content watched. Video games are a lucrative and growing industry, and the Google-owned video hosting platform hopes that gamers will find a comfortable home for streaming on its platform lest they take their attention to Twitch or elsewhere.

Global video game revenues were expected to rise 20 percent to nearly $180 billion in 2020, with Americans alone accounting for $56.9 billion of spend. The video game industry is larger than global movie and North American sports industries combined.

Brands all over have been seeking to cash in on the excitement around streaming and appeal to fans through collaborations with big names — Ninja last year dropped a new Superstar sneaker in collaboration with Adidas, and e-sports organization Team Liquid this month dropped a line of Naruto Shippuden apparel in partnership with Marvel.