Viewership stats show massive growth of Twitch in 2021 so far

Luke Edwards
Twitch viewership growth

Twitch has seen a boom in its popularity over the course of 2021, with total hours watched in the first quarter of 2021 nearly double those from the same period in 2020.

Stats revealed by data analytics firm Stream Hatchet have shown a monumental rise in the popularity of Twitch over the last calendar year.

Back in 2019, between January 1 and March 31, viewers spent a total of 2.8 billion hours watching Twitch. In the same period in 2020, that figure had risen 14% to 3.2 billion hours watched.

However, the viewing figures report for the first quarter of 2021 has truly driven home the surge in popularity Twitch has experienced over the past year.

Sykkuno at his stream setup
Streamers like Sykkuno have gone from barely-known entities to household names over the last year.

The report by Stream Hatchet shows viewers spent a staggering total 6.3 billion hours watching Twitch streams in the first quarter of 2021.

This is a rise of  97%, or almost double the amount of hours watched from this time in 2020. In fact, this is roughly 300 million more hours watched than in the first quarters of 2020 and 2019 combined.

Stream Hatchet cites roleplaying games have played a crucial role in this boom in popularity, with Rust jumping 27 places in the most-watched games ranking to eighth place, while GTA V has dislodged League of Legends as Twitch’s most popular game, in terms of hours watched.

xQc, a rather controversial roleplayer on the OfflineTV Rust server who also recently received his third ban from the NoPixel GTA server, came out as the streamer with the most hours watched at 73.2 million –  almost as much as Shroud, Ludwig and Summit1g combined.

While Twitch has seen a huge increase in viewership overall, the stats have also exposed a massive gap in viewership figures between male and female streamers.

Figures from, StreamElements‘ analytics partner, show a 105% increase in Twitch viewership year over year. Also of note though, is Facebook’s growth.

StreamElements Twitch growth

StreamElements Head of Communications Chase Patrick believes this growth will continue well into the future.

“The growth will continue because the interactive appeal of livestreaming has now been embraced by the mainstream to the point where talk show hosts from Stephen Colbert to Bill Maher are casually mentioning the brand in their monologues,” he said.

“The other thing that is happening is Twitch is investing in growing its audience beyond gamers by investing in other categories like sports. This included announcing a partnership with NBC surrounding the Olympics, and launching a Sports Accelerator Program where sports streamers are being paid to create content. ”

The rise of Facebook Gaming

Twitch isn’t the only winner. These figures also underline the insane growth of Facebook Gaming, whose audience has shot up from 0.6 billion hours viewed between January-March 2020 to 1.1 billion hours viewed between January-March 2021 – an increase of 87%.

YouTube Gaming also saw a major boost, with the acquisitions of streamers like Valkyrae seeing its hours viewed rise from 1.1 billion in the first quarter of 2020 to 1.4 billion in the first quarter of 2021.

However, if the current trajectories remain, Facebook Gaming will overtake YouTube Gaming as the second-most-watched live streaming platform by the time we reach 2022.