Viewership on Twitch continues to improve every year, and in recent months the platform experienced growth rates never seen before, notably after the global COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, Twitch accounted for more than 18 billion hours watched, representing a year-over-year increase of more than 65 percent. Not even the Fortnite boom, led by Ninja in 2018, caused the same level of growth.
For years now, the “Just Chatting” category has dominated the content available on Twitch, especially since the pandemic started, as it offered new opportunities for personalities outside of the gaming world to put out content online. In July 2021, the category totaled more than 240 million hours watched, with an average viewership of more than 320,000 spectators.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the most popular categories related to gameplay streaming, based on stats provided by Esports Charts for July, and the preeminent streamers and personalities in each one of these categories.
The latest entry in one of the most popular video game franchises ever, Grand Theft Auto V was released almost 8 years ago, yet, the game is still very popular, and has been the second most-watched Twitch category for the last few months, only behind “Just Chatting”. It’s important to notice that in April, the GTA V category surpassed “Just Chatting” in total hours watched, thanks to many events related to GTA V RP, a mod that allows players to gather in one server and roleplay in the game.
In July, GTA streams accounted for over 140 million hours watched, with an average of 190,000 viewers and 3,151 channels. Currently, the most popular English-speaking GTA V streamers are buddha, with more than 4 million hours watched, and RatedEpicz, with over 3 million. However, the leading GTA streamer in July is from Brazil, loud_coringa, who accounted for more than 12 million hours.
First-person shooters are arguably the most popular video games today, and that couldn’t be different on Twitch. With titles such as Valorant and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive ranking among the most-watched Twitch categories, the genre is certainly trending in the platform.
The free-to-play hero shooter by Riot Games, by the way, was the fourth most-watched category in July, with 80 million hours and an average of 108,703 viewers, largely due to the many Valorant Champions Tour Challengers events that took place last month. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive didn’t achieve such expressive numbers, however, the game still accounted for almost 60 million hours watched.
ShahZaM was the most popular English-speaking Valorant streamer in July, with over 2,7 million hours watched, followed by Michael “shroud” Grzesiek, a former professional CS:GO player for Cloud9, with similar numbers.
Building games like Minecraft and Roblox are still very popular among gamers of all ages, and exciting upcoming titles like The Sandbox, of which developers are continuously streaming tutorials and guides, certainly helped bump the genre in streaming rankings. Combining all titles, building games totaled more than 70 million hours watched.
Even though it was released almost 10 years ago, in November 2011, Minecraft alone accounted for 53 million hours, with an average of almost 72,000 viewers and 3,791 channels. The game is still a popular choice, especially among streamers outside the United States, with millions of hours streamed in Italian, French, Korean, and Portuguese. RanbooLive and Philza were the most-watched Minecraft streamers in July, both with almost 2 million hours watched.
Led by Riot Games’ groundbreaking title League of Legends, multiplayer online battle arenas are arguably the most played video games today, selling millions of copies worldwide, and even featuring in many esports tournaments and leagues. According to Esports Charts, League of Legends and Defense of the Ancients 2 ranked among the most-watched categories on Twitch in July.
LoL was the third most watched category in the period, behind only “Just Chatting” and GTA V, with over 130 million hours and 180,000 spectators on average. This was largely due to several tournaments being played in July, such as the League Championship Series (LCS) and the LoL European Championship (LEC).
With almost 7 million hours watched in July, loltyler1 was the leading English-speaking LoL streamer, followed by the official channels of LEC, LCS, and LoL Champions Korea.