As another year passes by, so does another 12 months of turbulence and growth inside the streaming space.
The big four have continued to battle it out throughout Q4 2019 - that being Twitch, YouTube Gaming, Mixer and Facebook Gaming.
StreamElements and Arsenal.gg have banded together to provide insight into each platform for the last quarter. While Twitch holds the crown as the most popular destination for streamers, that's not to say that growth isn't happening across the board.
Facebook on the rise
The market share between the big four streaming platforms shifted noticeably between December 2018 and December 2019. In 2018, Twitch hoarded a massive 67.1 per cent of the market, while YouTube Gaming took 27.5 per cent.
Mixer earned itself a 2 per cent cut of the share while Facebook Gaming took 3.1 per cent, 9 months after its launch. In December 2019, Facebook Gaming had secured 8.5 per cent of the market share, while Mixer took 2.6 per cent. YouTube Gaming's share grew to 27.9 per cent in 2019 while Twitch's dropped substantially to 61 per cent.
Facebook Gaming also saw a 210 per cent rise in hours watched between 2018 and 2019 - moving up from 32.9 million hours to over 102 million. The platform's growth can be attributed to an increase in native streamers alongside a 63 per cent increase in hours per broadcast. The platform has consistently securing high-profile creators throughout the year, the most recent acquisition being Instagram star Corinna Kopf.
Twitch was the most-watched platform by hours of course, and the hours went up slightly between December 2018 and 2019. The same trend applies to YouTube Gaming and Mixer too - all platforms saw a rise in views, contributing to an overall 12 per cent increase in hours watched across the entire industry. More people are tuning in to streaming platforms everywhere, irrespective of which one they choose.
For the first time ever, a non-gaming category took the top spot by hours watched in December 2019. Twitch's 'Just Chatting' section racked 80.9 million hours, knocking League of Legends and it's 74.1 million hours from the top spot. Fortnite clocked in third with 58.3 million.
A noticeable addition to the top games and categories chart is Escape From Tarkov, a war-themed FPS currently taking Twitch by storm. The title drummed up 31.6 million hours alone last week. It's worth noting that Escape from Tarkov's success benefitted from a Twitch Drops campaign, which saw a lot of the platform's top creators streaming it with the added ability to gift in-game items to viewers.
Who's on top?
The departure of Ninja in August 2019 left a space open in Twitch's top five streamers. During Q2 and Q3, a handful of the platform's largest creators were battling it out for the top spot, with the ranks shifting month by month depending on the hours each streamer had totaled.
In November and December 2019, streamed and Overwatch pro xQc managed to hold the top spot for two months in a row. Fortnite star Tfue moved up from fifth to second place between November and December 2019.
Other names dipping in and out of the top five include LIRIK, Asmongold, Summit1g, TimTheTatman and loltyler1. While these names are seen consistently at the top of Twitch, no one is ever safe on top, signifying a healthy competition for views and audience retention even at the platform's highest level.
Facebook Gaming's prowess as a streaming platform is a notable takeaway from Q4. While Facebook is a larger platform facing its own repeated controversies, Facebook Gaming is set up quite deliberately as a separate destination for gaming, away from the main social network.
Gone are the days of one personality and title leading the charge, as we saw with Ninja and Fortnite throughout 2017 and a portion of 2018 - Twitch has a consistent, rotating variation of streamers battling for the top spot, each with their own specialties and quirks.
And while gaming remains incredibly popular across the big four platforms, the popularity of Twitch's 'Just Chatting' category highlights the growth in non-gaming content and creators.