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Pandemics can have crazy effects on many things, but one area that took off was the world of online gaming, including eSports and Twitch. During the first lockdown in 2020, there was a surge in popularity in eSports, but the fanfare wasn’t as loud a year later. Instead, Twitch found more people watching gaming and interacting with its streamers.
This article looks back at 2021 and what got viewers twitching with the top ten most popular categories.
A catch-all term that covers anything from talking to programming, the ‘chatting’ category has been on the up and up in 2021. And with a global pandemic keeping everyone indoors, you can see why. There’s no gaming action here, just the streamer chatting with their viewers. It’s a great way for people to interact with one another, talking about things that matter to them. And it’s a whole lot better than talking on Teams or Zoom. So, no wonder it was top of the charts in 2021.
The second category and beyond goes back to gaming. And top of the gaming list (second overall in categories) is the much-loved Grand Theft Auto V. Despite it seeming like an ‘old’ game nowadays, GTA V went up two places from 2020, but it’s still such a popular game. And regular Rockstar update releases help as well. Watching increased by 127% with over 1.855 billion hours in 2021! Just wait until when GTA 6 is released!
League of Legends
Still remaining within the top five, League of Legends falls down a spot. Still, hundreds of millions of hours are spent watching the game, so it remains a fan favorite. It did get a big boost in hours during the Worlds 2021 eSports tournament, with three million people watching simultaneously!
Perhaps the fad dance moves are wearing off now, as Fortnite saw a decline in hours watched by 11%. But with more gaming events taking place in 2021, with more hype across other categories, even the Battle Royale couldn’t see Fortnite take the top spot.
Despite a 16% rise in hours watched, Valorant stays in fifth place for the second year running. Valorant remains as a good old reliable category on Twitch. It does have its own promotions, eSports competitions, and record-breaking competitions, such as the VCT 2021 Final with 1.08 million peak viewers.
Before we move on to the second half of our top ten, here are some of the categories that just missed out on in 2021. These are the regular categories that maintain a steady stream of viewers, such as PUBG Battlegrounds and sports games such as FIFA. There’s also been a rise in casino games, with slot gaming, in particular, on the up. These are okay to watch on Twitch, but it’s probably more fun to try them yourself to see why Twitchers are raving about them.
Back to the top ten categories and in sixth place is Minecraft. A game that seems to have been around for ages, too, but there’s been no wane in views, with hours watched rising by 69% last year. With competitions and Twitch Rivals challenges, Minecraft is a reliable stream that’s not going away anytime soon.
Call of Duty: Warzone
A new category in the top ten, Call of Duty: Warzone, has become more popular than other versions of the game. The battle royal used to be streamed in the same category as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare before it was split, showing how Warzone became more popular than the main game. In April, competitions, new maps, and 1.6 million spectators have seen this game broadcast a lot in 2021.
Counter-strike: Global Offensive
Despite being around for years now in some shape or form, Counter-strike is still a popular game to watch. The Global Offensive game increased by 7% in hours watched this year, but overall, it has moved from one position to eighth. Maybe only a few more years left in the top ten?
Good old Apex Legends returns to the top ten this year, after a year without. With 681.7 million hours watched, it pails in comparison to the likes of GTA V, but it’s enough to make it into the top ten.
Clinching its position at number ten is Dota 2, which managed to get in thanks to The International 10 event, which saw 2.7million peak viewers. This increased the hours watched by 15%, which helped it remain in the top ten after dropping a place from the year before.