State of the stream: April surge and Valorant drops

State of the stream: April surge and Valorant drops

The streaming space is continuing to grow and grow, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused yet another upwards trend across the major platforms.

StreamElements and have teamed up once again to provide insight into the growth of the streaming world over the last month.

Hours watched across Twitch, YouTube Gaming, Facebook and Mixer have seen significant increases with a large number of people self-isolating at home. Twitch's hours shot from 992m in March 2020 to 1.49b in April, an increase of 50 per cent, according to data from

Twitch's pandemic-fuelled growth is shining from its music and just chatting categories, due to a new influx of non-gamers using the platform to reach their fans during lockdown. StreamAid 2020 saw handfuls of musicians come together on Twitch to raise money for COVID-19 relief efforts.

A Valorant effort

Riot Games' shooter Valorant launched a closed beta at the beginning of April, which shook up the streaming space. The game utilised Twitch Drops in order to distribute keys for the beta. Throughout the beta period, Drops were the only way to access the beta, and a result, the number of people watching it on Twitch skyrocketed. 

Valorant streamers also shook up Twitch's top 10. In April, Anomaly was the most-watched streamer on Twitch, garnering more views than the likes of Summit1G, xQc and TimTheTatman. However, it's important to note that not all of Anomaly's live hours were actually live broadcasts - a report unveiled that he was marking pre-recorded Valorant content in order to reel key-hungry viewers into his streams.

"Valorant and its milestone-setting numbers illustrated that the days of launching a game by just seeding it with top influencers have definitely changed for those who want to optimize the livestreaming landscape," said Doron Nir, CEO of StreamElements.

"By enabling only select streamers in the closed beta to offer beta key drops that allowed other gamers to take part, those beta keys became the key to success for attracting gamers and audiences, while acting as a great proof of concept that there are still new ways to leverage technology to elevate the impact of a game."

Categoric rise

Of course, Valorant was also the top watched game on Twitch throughout April. The game attracted 1.7m concurrent viewers on Twitch at one point, breaking a new record for the platform. Those numbers have started to simmer, but the game still remains popular. 

Twitch's Just Chatting category has also seen a significant year-on-year increase of 138 per cent, crossing over 100 million hours watched per month in April 2020. A similar trend can be seen in the Music & Performing Arts category, which rose from 17m hours watched in April 2019 to 17m in 2020.


Danielle Partis is editor of and former editor of She was named Journalist of the Year at the MCV Women in Games Awards 2019, as well as in the MCV 30 under 30 2020. Prior to Steel Media, she wrote about music and games at Team Rock.