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In a time when just about every major industry has been affected by the COVID-19 global pandemic, the gaming industry is no exception. E3 has been canceled, and developer Riot Games had to stagger releasing the Valorant beta worldwide. One of the few places that has seen growth over the past few months, however, is livestreaming.
According to a new report from StreamElements and Arsenel.gg, streaming platforms have seen massive boosts in both viewership and total hours watched. In the report, StreamElements gathered data from April 2019 and compared it to April 2020. For many parts of the world, April of this year was a time where many nonessential workers were under stay-at-home orders.
Twitch saw about a 100% growth in hours watches compared to last year, while YouTube saw a more moderate 65% growth. Facebook Gaming had an explosive 238% increase in hours watched. Overall, the livestreaming industry saw a 99% increase in hours watched since last year.
The switch from Twitch
Perhaps the biggest surprise is watch time for Mixer, which saw only a .2% increase. Mixer won bidding wars to snap up major streamers Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek. While both streamers saw drops in viewers and subscribers initially, Blevins recently surpassed 3 million followers on Microsoft’s streaming platform. Before his switch, Blevins boasted 14 million on Twitch.
One of the main contributors to Twitch’s boost in viewership is the Valorant beta drop event. Riot Games’ first-person shooter had an explosive launch weekend, with approximately 1.7 million concurrent viewers. The event was the only way for potential players to earn their place in the Valorant Closed Beta. In April alone, Valorant pulled in 334 million total hours watched. The next highest category in April was Just Chatting with 134 million hours watched.
The other contributor toward Mixer’s almost nonexistent growth is that its potential viewers are too entrenched in other platforms. Viewers on YouTube or Twitch likely don’t want to create new accounts on a smaller platform for just one or two streamers. Facebook Gaming benefits from viewers being already on Facebook at least.
It is also important to note that the hours watched on Twitch include non-gaming categories like Just Chatting, which is one of the most viewed categories on the platform. Data supplied by Facebook is noted as being just for live gaming watch time.
As places worldwide begin to loosen stay-at-home restrictions, livestreaming platforms will likely see a decrease in viewership. How significant a decrease is likely to be determined by how gradually parts of the world open up, and whether or not further quarantine restrictions are required. For more updates on the streaming world and more, make sure to follow Daily Esports.
Ryan Hay is a writer and content creator currently living in New York. Video games, anime, and Magic: The Gathering have all been strong passions in his life and being able to share those passions with others is his motivation for writing. You can find him on Twitter where he complains about losing on MTG Arena a lot.