As lockdowns lift, Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook see stream declines

Twitch logo
Twitch logo (Image credit: Twitch)

In a report from StreamLabs, it seems that popular streaming platforms are seeing a downward trend, and the lifting of pandemic lockdowns may be to blame.

Before vaccines put a dent in covid-19 hospitalization rates, web services enjoyed a wave of unprecedented growth, as lockdowns kept schools closed and offices empty. Some sites saw double or even triple-digit growth, but with lockdown restrictions easing, it seems to have led to declines in viewership across most major streaming platforms. StreamLabs also cited Tencent's streaming competitor Trovo as a potential threat to Twitch, YouTube Gaming, and Facebook — although its footprint remains minuscule.

Twitch managed to grab some growth from the previous quarter, buoyed by its non-gaming "Just Chatting" category. Despite lockdowns easing, total watch hours didn't decline over the previous quarter, but did decline year-over-year by 8.06%, compared to Q1 2021.

  • Twitch by far still dominates the scene, accounting for 91.5% of all stream hours, and 76% of all stream views.
  • Twitch was the only platform to experience quarterly growth, although it's still down almost 400 million viewing hours from its lockdown peak.
  • Twitch continues to see an overall decline in hours streamed, although StreamLabs thinks that the new Twitch Xbox integration may have contributed to an uptick this quarter.
  • League of Legends and Valorant developer Riot is by far the most-viewed game publisher, with 912 million viewing hours, followed by Rockstar with 556m viewing hours.
  • Just Chatting, GTAV, and League of Legends continue to dominate interest.

It'll be interesting to see how user habits evolve as lockdowns gradually continue to lift. The competitiveness of the space led to Microsoft killing off its own streaming service, Mixer, given that the service failed to see any meaningful traction in the first wave of lockdowns — arguably a clear sign of disinterest from users. Microsoft has since sought to integrate Twitch more deeply into its services and programming.

_If you're interested in streaming games from your Xbox, do take a look at our capture card guide. _

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!