Millions of gamers are playing and hundreds of millions more are watching them do it on Twitch, the Internet’s busiest live streaming video platform.
In fact, the site claimed in 2015 it hosted more than 1.5 million broadcasters and saw 100 million visitors every month. The question is, which games are they playing? And even more importantly, which games are they watching?
In January 2017, online statistics portal Statista released a list of the leading games on Twitch in 2016 in terms of the number of hours viewed, and we can now reveal the top five games watched on Twitch last year:
1. League of Legends
League of Legends is by far the most popular game on Twitch with close to 1.03 billion hours watched. The multiplayer online battle arena game has seen its popularity soar since its initial release in 2009 and millions of dollars are now at stake in the game’s annual World Championship.
League of Legends has quickly become the king of eSports and remains the only title on Twitch to have reached the one billion hours watched mark.
2. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive finds itself at number two on the list with an outstanding 523 million hours watched on Twitch. The fourth multiplayer first-person shooter game in the Counter-Strike franchise, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was released in 2012 to mostly rave reviews and remains one of the most popular games on the market.
Not surprisingly, hundreds of thousands of dollars are also on the line in professional Counter-Strike competitions, and although the game garners only half of the hours viewed compared to League of Legends, it led a hotly contested battle for second place in 2016.
3. DOTA 2
The second multiplayer online battle arena game to make this list, DOTA 2 saw 478 million hours viewed in 2016. It’s of course, the sequel to the original Defense of the Ancients and has been one the most popular games to stream since its 2013 release.
According to Tech Vibes, professional DOTA 2 tournaments have offered up $65 million in prize money over the game’s three years in existence, almost twice that of League of Legends tournaments, making its players the highest earning eSport athletes in the ever-growing business of eSports.
Originally called Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Hearthstone is an online collectible card game that saw 471 million hours viewed on Twitch in 2016.
The game has only been around since 2014 but has quickly become a favorite for gamers who specialize in other games and professional card players alike. The game uses a lot of the same characters, relics and elements from the Warcraft series and hundreds of thousands of dollars are on the line in tournaments around the world featuring the game. In fact, it has been reported the winner of the 2017 world championship will earn $1 million.
The second multiplayer first-person shooter game and final entry on this list is Overwatch, which saw 178 million hours watched on Twitch in 2016. This clearly represents a significant dropoff from the top four in terms of hours watched, but outside the top four games, Overwatch was one of just three other titles to see more than 100 million hours viewed, including World of Warcraft and Call of Duty: Black Ops III.
Of course, Overwatch is relatively new to all of this, having just been released in the Spring of 2016. Big money competitions have already sprung up and a professional league is planned for 2017, ensuring this game’s popularity will only increase.
It may not have seen the hundreds of millions of hours viewed that the top five games did in 2016, but as one of the fastest growing segments on Twitch, the game of online poker deserves an honorable mention here. If it has one thing in common with the other games on the list, it is that millions of dollars are on the line in live and online poker tournaments around the world all year round.
Poker on Twitch seems to be growing by leaps and bounds every month, led by Team PokerStars Pro Jason Somerville, who became the first poker Twitch streamer to move over the 10 million views mark in early 2016.
Have any of you checked out the games listed above on Twitch? Please feel free to let us know in the comments section below.