Live streaming on platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Gaming grew by a whopping 78.4% year-on-year in 2020, according to the latest data shared by Streamlabs in partnership with Stream Hatchet. The report focuses on the fourth quarter specifically but also provides a look at the entire year.
Last year - and so far, this year as well - will certainly linger in the memories of most people due to the COVID-19 pandemic that forced many of us to stay home for extended periods of time. Naturally, many have had to turn to indoor activities during the year, and that has certainly been a boon for streaming platforms. A total of 27.89 billion hours were watched throughout 2020, up from 15.63 billion in 2019. All three of the major streaming platforms grew massively throughout the year - with Microsoft's Mixer having thrown in the towel during the summer.
Amazon's Twitch grew the most in terms of raw viewership, obviously because it was already the most popular platform by far. 18.41 billion hours of content were watched on Twitch, 67.36% more than the 11 billion hours in 2019. YouTube grew 96.5% from 3.15 billion hours watched to 6.19 billion, and Facebook Gaming went from 1.09 billion to 3.1 billion, a 184% increase.
It's also worth noting that the most popular "game" across all platforms is Just Chatting, meaning it's non-gaming content. The category beat out both League of Legends and Among Us in popularity in 2020, with over 682 million hours watched. Neither of the runner-ups passed 500 million hours.
In terms of market share, the last quarter of 2020 saw Twitch leading the pack, as usual, with 65.8% market share and 5.44 billion hours watched. YouTube Gaming seemed to absorb most of the market share that was held by Mixer in the first quarter and stands at 23.3%, while Facebook Gaming is third with 10.9% of hours watched. Overall, though, the relative position of each service has remained unchanged. Twitch's leadership is even more apparent among creators, with 90.2% of hours streamed (not watched) in the fourth quarter being on the platform. Facebook Gaming actually takes second place here with 5.7% of streaming time, while YouTube accounted for just 4.1%. 2020 was an exceptional year in many ways, so it will be interesting to see if live streaming platforms can keep similar levels of engagement post-pandemic.