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Twitch Just Had Its Biggest Viewership Decline In Years

When someone mentions live streaming platforms, the first one that usually comes to mind for most people is Twitch. The purple platform has been so successful at growing and maintaining its audience that even goliath-sized corporations like Microsoft have struggled to break into its space. Even most major streamers on other platforms, like Ludwig and Valkyrae, built their careers on Twitch before moving to YouTube. For a long time, it felt like Twitch was untouchable. Now it seems that for the first time in recent memory, that its upward trend has taken a few significant dips.

The metrics reported on TwitchTracker show that Twitch viewership dropped from its all-time high of over 3 million average concurrent viewers in April 2021 to 2.5 million by the following December. The platform saw another spike to 2.9 million in February 2022, but then saw another drop off and has been declining ever since. Now, the platform is seeing the lowest number of viewers in years, with the average viewership reported in November and December dropping all the way down to just under 2.2 million. This begs the question: why are so many viewers leaving Twitch?

There could be a few factors involved

Looking at the data reported on TwitchTracker, viewers can see that the company's growth and audience retention used to be fairly consistent year over year. Then in April 2020, it suddenly spiked from 1.6 million to 2.5 million amid global shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company's growth and decline has been erratic since then, with spikes and drops encapsulating hundreds of thousands of viewers on average. It seems that many of the fans who joined during the shutdowns may simply no longer have the time to dedicate to watching Twitch streams. 2022 has been a mostly downhill slide, however, and this most recent dip is threatening to drop the platform's average viewership to its lowest numbers since before the pandemic.

The other, possibly more concerning factor is YouTube. Many major streamers have found that YouTube is starting to look better than Twitch in a lot of ways. Team Red has been slowly but surely adapting YouTube Gaming to be more competitive with its rival by adding features like monetization options and Subscriber-only chat. Popular streamers Sykkuno and Ludwig both cited better professional treatment and more lucrative contracts as their reasons for switching platforms. It's unclear what specifically caused this most recent dip in Twitch's viewership, but it's possible that the bigger trend of Twitch losing viewers has more to do with major performers switching platforms and taking their audiences with them.