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Streaming in 2021 looked a lot like streaming in 2020


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The popularity of online streaming didn’t drop in 2021, according to a report by, StreamElements’ analytics partner. In fact, comparing 2021’s data to 2020’s things looked very, very similar.

Twitch viewer numbers spiked at the very end of 2020, crossing the 2 billion mark for the first time between December 2020 and January 2021. Over the last year those totals have climbed and fallen month-to-month. December 2021 saw a jump back over the 2 billion viewer hours line going into January 2022.

Facebook Gaming, on the other hand, saw steadier growth. 2020 saw the service hover around 300 million viewer hours for a majority of the year, before climbing past 400 million in January 2021. Over the rest of 2021 Facebook Gaming continued to increase the amount of content watched, breaking past 600 million hours watched in January 2022.

Top games on stream

The biggest up and downswing in the most watched games over 2021 is Rust. In 2020 Rust was sitting pretty at the top of the charts, but dropped off harshly over 2021. At the very last moment, thanks to newly enabled Twitch drops and new updates Rust climbed back into the top. The sandbox survival game only saw 6.7 million hours viewed in December 2021, but jumped to over 63 million in January.


Barring viewers losing interest in a few games and picking up some new favorites, the rest of the list is kind of familiar. Besides Rust, League of Legends, Grand Theft Auto V, Escape from Tarkov, Fortnite, Minecraft, and FIFA all remained on the list.

Valorant and Apex Legends replaced Counterstrike: Global Offensive and Call of Duty: Warzone, but for the most part the top games remained the top games.

The top streamers

It’s a similar story with Twitch’s top streamers. Well ahead of the competition is xQc. He hit 25 million hours watched in January 2021 and only saw a slight drop in January 2022. AuronPlay, TheGrefg, HasanAbi, and Ibai joined xQc in late 2020 and held onto half of the top 10 spots in 2021.

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Similar to the end of 2020 and the start of 2021, Spanish speaking streamers have seen ever growing popularity. AuronPlay, TheGrefg, Ibai, Elxokas, IlloJuan, and JuansGuarnizo hold the majority of the top 10 based on viewer hours, and all are either Spanish or Spanish-speaking.


This past year has felt like a holding pattern, and the past year in streaming is no exception. If Covid-19 and chip shortages keep people stuck inside for the rest of 2022, next year’s stats might look very similar to this year’s.

And last year’s.

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