Twitch’s Post-Pandemic Rise in Fame
Updated: Jan 6, 2022
From its humble beginnings in 2007 as Justin.tv, Twitch started as a hub to stream video games but soon evolved to encapsulate any type of live streaming. Whether it’s cooking, sports, ASMR, or even hot tub streams, Twitch’s website attracts over five hundred thousand performers live per day and more than a million users at any given moment.
Why exactly is live streaming so popular? Live streaming is basically the reality of Youtube clips, depicting both the creator’s high excitement moments and lull between activities. Due to this dichotomy, Twitch streams are both soothing for casual viewers to play in the background but also draw in the active users with the live chatting system.
While it’s hard to believe, the streaming platform hasn’t always been this popular. Twitch recently saw a huge surge amidst the pandemic, the home-bound users flocking to the site for entertainment after baking bread and Tiktok got boring. A report by Stream Hatchet shows that Twitch’s total watch time jumped 97% during Q1 2021 (January 1 to March 31). This is around 300 million more hours than the first quarters of 2020 and 2019 combined, before the stay-at-home orders swept the country.
While being at home with nothing else to do contributed to this rise in popularity, Dexerto states that role-playing games also played a part, with Rust jumping 27 places in the most-watched games ranking and GTA V kicking League of Legends out of top place for the first time in years. This may be due to viewers wanting to experience an adventure outside of their monotonous pandemic life, the hilarious events in role-playing games making them feel like they’re right beside their favorite streamers.
Twitch wasn’t the only platform that benefited from the lockdowns. Live streaming as a whole rose in popularity, with Facebook Gaming watch hours shooting up 87% from 0.6 billion hours to 1.1 billion hours. This cemented their place as the third-most watched live streaming site, coming close behind Youtube Gaming at 1.4 million hours. However, their increase in views was still nothing compared to Twitch, which had a total of 6.3 billion hours viewed during Q1 2021.
Another reason for Twitch’s popularity boom had to do with their decision to expand their audience beyond gaming. Through partnerships, Twitch was able to grow its audience’s interest in other categories, such as their sports category with its collaboration with NBC during the 2020 Summer Olympics. Also, with its launch of Watch Parties, users are able to stream selected movies and TV content with their fans, leading to ‘Just Chatting’ streams growing 44% Q1 2021.
Due to the sheer popularity of the platform, Twitch streamers are now becoming major celebrities in their own right, with many landing sponsorship deals through Twitch or on their other social media channels.
If you’re looking for Twitch celebrities to watch, here are five we at Blingy recommend:
Sykkuno is the definition of lovable. With his incredibly polite and affable personality, he melts the hearts of his viewers and friends, even managing to become close friends with the notoriously toxic streamer xQc. The entire reason Sykkuno started streaming was to meet people, and viewers flock to the streamer’s channel for his wholesome and chill vibes. If you happen to tune into his stream, you can see Sykkuno playing games such as Minecraft, GTA V, or Valorant.
Nakamura is a five-time US Chess Champion that got the entirety of Twitch hooked onto the board game. While he has been streaming since 2018, Nakamura’s popularity boomed from 2020 onwards, a majority of his 1.3 million followers discovering him during the pandemic. Viewers watch Nakamura’s stream for his insights and entertaining spins on the game, such as playing blindfolded or with piece handicaps.
Shroud (Michael Grzesiek):
As a former professional CSGO player, Grzesiek manages to master any game he sets his mind to. Whether that is PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, Apex Legends, or Valorant, he is often described as one of the best aimers of all time. While most viewers watch him for his godly skill, many also tune in for his calm and cool vibes.
Pokimane (Imane Anys):
We couldn’t end this article without talking about the Queen of Twitch herself. After winning the Shorty Awards “Best Twitch Streamer of the Year” in 2017, Anys’s following has only been growing. With over 8.4 million followers, viewers watch her for her laid-back but enthusiastic demeanor and interactions with friends. Anys plays a variety of games, but her favorites include Fortnite, Valorant, and League of Legends.