A Look At The Biggest Streaming Trends Of 2020

Here are the top games, streamers, and platforms of game streaming in 2020.

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It's no secret that 2020 was big for game streaming. Stuck at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more people than ever were both tuning into streams and starting their own. A new analysis by StreamElements and Arsenal.gg has wrapped up some of the biggest trends to come out of 2020, including the top games, streamers, and platforms.

The impact of the pandemic on streaming is obvious in charts showing each platform's monthly hours watched. Twitch shows a huge jump from 10 billion in March to over 16 billion in April--the months when most countries around the world first went into lockdown. Facebook Gaming also jumped from under 200 million to almost 300 million during the same period--though curiously didn't see a huge increase when Mixer shut down in June, despite Microsoft partnering with Facebook on streaming. While the report doesn't show the month-by-month breakdown for YouTube Gaming, it says the platform saw over 100 billion hours watched over the course of 2020.

Despite ongoing controversy with Twitch's response to DMCA issues, the streaming platform continued to have record-breaking months through October and November, ending December on an all-time high.

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The biggest category for Twitch in 2020 was the universal Just Chatting, with 1.9 billion hours watched. In terms of total hours watched, old favorites including League of Legends, Fortnite, and GTA V still dominated, with Valorant being the only new game to slip into the top ten.

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When looking at peaks in watch time, however, some of 2020's well-known trends emerge. Valorant takes the top spot for peak viewers when it previewed in April. Among Us takes the fourth spot with a peak in September, while Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout gets fifth for its peak in August.

While Fall Guys' popularity was ultimately short-lived, soon overtaken by the Among Us revival, it comes in second among the most-watched games that released in 2020, after Valorant. Phasmophobia, Cyberpunk 2077, and Genshin Impact round out the top five.

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StreamElements and Arsenal.gg's data shows that French Canadian streamer XQcOW was Twitch's top streamer for 2020 based on total hours watched, followed by Gaules, summit1g, and NICKMERCS. Record-breaking streamer Grefg doesn't even get a look in the top 10, which goes to show how different metrics can create vastly different definitions of success in the world of game streaming.

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