The streaming space has been on the up and up for a number of years, but it's safe to say that the coronavirus pandemic has led to a digital shift of unimaginable proportions.
This shift has affected the way we work, communicate and absorb our favourite media. Enter: streaming platforms.
Pandemic-fueled growth is radiating from Twitch and Facebook Gaming, and over the last few months, both platforms have seen huge increases in watch hours. From growth in the esports space to a new interest in travel streams, the public has taken to online spaces to replace the forms of entertainment they have lost due to the pandemic.
StreamElements and Arsenal.gg have broken down the last three months to highlight where the significant growth is happening, as well as the personalities and games that are shining in this 'new normal'.
Billions and billions
Twitch crossed a record-breaking 1.8bn views in Q2, growing 56 per cent between Q1 and now. That's also a 60 per cent year-over-year spurt compared to June 2019, where the platform amassed 939m hours.
Similar growth was seen over at Facebook Gaming, which saw a 75 per cent increase in hours watched between Q1 and Q2 2020. FB Gaming also saw peak hours of 342m - the highest it's ever been. Facebook also saw a surge of new users this month owing to the closure of Microsoft's Mixer platform last month. The company partnered with FB Gaming in an effort to redirect existing users and fans to Facebook's gaming arm.
Rise of the non-gamers
While gaming is Twitch's main draw, the growth of it's non-gaming categories is not something to ignore. The Just Chatting category saw a 94 per cent increase in hours watched between January and June 2020. Music and Performing Arts also saw a whopping 268 per cent increase in the last six months. Twitch rose up to support musicians during the pandemic, offering free access to monetisation tools and a space for live performers to thrive.
Travel and Outdoors is also one of Twitch's thriving categories in Q2. It grew by 183 per cent between January and June, and it is allowing viewers to experience the outside while being trapped inside. Paramaxil is Twitch's top outdoor personality, a Polish streamer who just drives about, living his life. Either way, viewers are enjoying it - he racked up over 500k hours last month.
Twitch's main players are constantly dueling for the top spot too. Where one or two streamers once dominated the top end, Twitch now has a solid 10 or so popular creators. In June, Brazilian streamer Gaules took the top spot for hours watched, followed by Canadian xQc and Spanish streamer Auronplay. French streamer Sardoche also cracked the top 10 streamers on Twitch in June. Seeing international personalities crack Twitch's top tier demonstrates a huge global growth for the platform.
While the pandemic has caused growth in some unpredictable spaces, Twitch and Facebook Gaming are growing organically either way. As the world slowly returns to normal, it'll be interesting to see if these huge numbers stick or whether this period is simply a spike caused by an audience with nothing better to do. One thing is for certain though - the state of the world has opened Twitch up as a solid place for entertainment, for gamers and non-gamers alike, and that's something we should expect to see more of.