Video game viewership was way up in 2021. According to a year-end report from Rainmaker.gg with insight from StreamElements, both Twitch and Facebook gaming saw a nearly 50% increase in hours watched this year.
According to the report, Twitch saw a 45% increase in hours watched this year, totaling 24 billion views. That was up from 17 billion in 2020. Facebook Gaming saw a similar boost, going from 3.6 billion to 5.3 billion hours watched, a 47% increase.
There aren’t many surprises when it comes to what 2021’s most popular stream games were on Twitch. Players watched 2.1 billion hours of Grand Theft Auto V, which was the second most popular category under the more general Just Chatting tag. The rest of the top 10 features stream staples like Fortnite, Minecraft, and League of Legends.
The only real surprise is that Amazon’s New World had an excellent debut year. Players watched 259 million hours of the MMO on Twitch, putting it at No.18 on the overall games by hours viewed ranking. That made it the most popular debut game of 2021.
In terms of streamers, xQcOW was the most popular content creator on the platform for the second year in a row. Other popular streamers in 2021 include loud_coringa, Gaules, and HasanAbi.
The data is somewhat surprising. One might assume that stream viewership would have hit a peak in 2020 during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. It would be fair to predict that viewership could have fallen off in 2021 as strict social lockdowns loosened. Instead, the data shows that video game streaming is only growing and that number may balloon even further in 2022 as COVID cases once again spike due to the Omicron variant.