State of the Stream for January 2021: Record highs for Twitch and Facebook Gaming, Rust rises to the top, and Music continues to grow

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Livestreaming has shown no sign of tapping the brakes in 2021 with milestones happening across the board with platforms and categories. The following report outlines the latest narratives from StreamElements with data courtesy of our friends at (formerly

Click here to download a pdf and hi-res slides of the report.

Twitch and Facebook Gaming set record highs in December 2020 and then surpassed them in January 2021

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Twitch — January 2021 Hours Watched
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Facebook Gaming — January 2021 Hours Watched

Thanks in a major way to the pandemic that relegated viewers and entertainers to their homes, Twitch, Facebook Gaming, and other platforms saw a huge boost in hours watched. In addition to Twitch and Facebook Gaming increasing over 117% year-over-year, both struck viewership gold in January 2021. Twitch’s all-time high was reached when they crossed the 2 billion hours watched threshold and Facebook Gaming exceeded 439 million hours, representing a 13% month-over-month rise.

For the first time in a long time, EVERY game in the top 10 increased in hours watched with Rust leading the charge

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Twitch — Top 10 Games in January 2021 based on Hours Watched

Twitch continues to impress the market with the ability of its top creators to turn any game into a hit. Rust first hit the scene in 2013 and had amassed a solid following over the years, but it wasn’t until OfflineTV, a collective of popular creators, launched a new server for the game which was the genesis of the recent viewership explosion. Once they put the spotlight on the game, other influential creators started streaming it too with the end result being a 1226% boost in month-over-month hours watched and a chart move from #18 to #1 on the games front. The non-gaming category Just Chatting continues its reign above everything else.

Twitch continues to shed its gaming-only identity as Music settles into the top 20 with new peak

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In January 2021, Music reached its biggest milestone to date with over 24 million hours watched. At this same time in 2020, it was only averaging around 4.6 million hours, which illustrates the difference a year and a pandemic can make. With live venues shuttered and music fans needing their fix, Twitch bridged that gap by combining live remote performances and other artist-driven content with the ability for communities to interact with their idols. With the industry still on lockdown for the most part when it comes to in-person events, this growth is most likely to continue.

xQcOW finished off 2020 at the top of the Twitch charts and continues to wear the crown as the international scene thrives around him

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Twitch — Top 10 Streamers in January 2021 Based on Hours Watched

xQcOW established himself as Twitch’s reigning champ in 2020 based on hours watched and is still holding strong at the start of 2021. While non-English speaking streamers have been a part of the top 10 for some time, they now make up a majority of those who dominate the chart.

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