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The Game You Weren't Expecting To Take Over Twitch

Twitch is a hugely popular entertainment platform for the gaming community, with audiences tuning in to watch pro streamers play games and compete in tournaments. With that said, viewers have plenty of non-gaming content to check out, as well. The streaming monolith has grown so ubiquitous that people will flock to a Twitch channel to watch activities that have traditionally been enjoyed in person. In fact, one classic game that was played long before video games existed has been taking Twitch by storm.

While digital chess is one of the oldest types of computer game around, you probably weren't expecting this ancient board game to dominate Twitch. However, there has been an overwhelming uptick in chess viewership on the livestream service.

According to data presented by Gamesindustry.biz, chess streams accumulated more than 21 million hours of views on Twitch in February 2021. This number demonstrates an astonishing increase by 20 million hours in the chess category when compared to the same month last year. Some of the most popular chess streamers on Twitch, according to Twitchmetrics, include GMHikaru, Sardoche, and BotezLive.

While chess streams may be on the rise, the category has yet to cross the top ten barrier. Even so, the category's meteoric rise makes it something to keep an eye on.

You may wonder how chess, of all games, is stealing the spotlight on Twitch. Gamesindustry.biz noted that there was a spike in the chess category following the release of The Queen's Gambit, an intense new drama that took over Netflix. Because the show revolves around chess, it makes sense that there would be growing interest in the ancient strategy game.

Chess has always been a ripe subject of exploration in the world of video games. From your standard video chess programs to more creative interpretations, like Interplay's Battle Chess, you can always count on a reliable chess game on any computer or console. In fact, a DotA 2 mod called Auto Chess was so popular, it was supposed to come to PS4 and Nintendo Switch last year. However, the PS4 version was delayed until January 2021, when it finally launched.

At this point, it's unclear if chess will continue to grow in popularity on Twitch. If it does, you may want to start brushing up on your chess strategies, because this category may one day rise to the top of the Twitch tower.