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The Real Reason Twitch Had An Incredible Year

Streaming site Twitch has had quite an eventful year. The company has made headlines throughout 2021, and not always for the best of reasons. Despite angering quite a lot of people, streamers and fans alike, somehow viewership on the platform rose by 45%. However, the real reason could be related to people's gaming habits.

According to the State of Stream 2021 Year in Review from StreamElements and Rainmaker.gg, Twitch viewership grew a crazy amount in 2021. Considering everything that the platform did to anger both its audience and its creators, the numbers almost don't add up.

For example, Twitch's pay-to-win feature that was announced in October year had everyone in an outrage. Creators jumped ship left and right, including popular streamers like TimTheTatman, Ludwig, and DrLupo – all of whom made the transition to YouTube Gaming. Additionally, DisguisedToast, a former Facebook Gaming streamer who made the return to Twitch in 2021, warned new streamers away from the giant streaming site because of its terrible discovery feature — something that the pay-to-win feature only made worse.

Between not paying creators and angering giant fan groups, Twitch seemed to constantly be in a negative light. These new growth percentages seemingly came from nowhere, but a trend in how people are consuming gaming content in general might be the real reason. 

Facebook Gaming and YouTube had excellent years, too

The State of Stream 2021 Year in Review also showed that Facebook Gaming improved by 47% in total hours watched compared to 2020. While there was no information on YouTube Gaming in the report, YouTube itself pointed out that "gaming stands at the forefront of YouTube's growth, with more people creating gaming content and building businesses than ever before." In other words, YouTube is prioritizing gaming content on its platform, meaning more growth in that department in the near future.

YouTube doesn't have any hard numbers that it's shared yet, but it's safe to say that the giant audiences who tune in to watch TimTheTatman, Ludwig, and DrDisrespect throughout the week have made a significant impact on the platform's streaming numbers.

Considering the coronavirus pandemic that has lasted throughout 2021, people may just be choosing to stay inside and watch more gaming-related content. It's hard to definitively say whether this is true or not, as most tracking and statistics sites don't have information about 2021 prepared quite yet.

However, what we do know is that 2020 changed gaming in ways no one could have expected. With gaming taking on new forms with streaming capabilities and new regions around the world getting more invested in gaming since the unexpected pandemic, it would make sense that more viewers stayed in and watched streamers.