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YouTube Gaming had its best year ever with more than 100 billion hours watched

YouTube Gaming had its best year ever with more than 100 billion hours watched


Gaming content on YouTube doubled in viewership since 2018

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Gaming remains one of the most dominant pillars of online entertainment, and nowhere is that more apparent than in YouTube’s 2020 statistics. According to YouTube Gaming head Ryan Wyatt, users of the video-sharing site watched 100 billion hours of gaming content on the platform this past year, double the number of hours watched in 2018. The company also published a blog post on Tuesday with a more in-depth rundown of 2020.

Of that 100 billion figure, 10 billion of those hours were of YouTube Gaming live streams, a strong sign the Google-owned site is shaping up to be an even more formidable competitor to Amazon-owned Twitch.

Wyatt had some other interesting stats to share. For instance, Minecraft was the most-watched game on all of YouTube by a large margin, with more than 200 billion views of Minecraft live streams and uploaded video watched this year. Naturally, the next most-watched game on the platform was Roblox with 75 billion views, and the top five are rounded out by mobile battle royale Garena Free Fire (72 billion), Grand Theft Auto V (70 billion), and Fortnite (67 billion).

YouTube says it now has more than 40 million active gaming channels, and that 80,000 channels hit 100,000 subscribers this past year. More than 1,000 channels broke 5 million subscribers in 2020, while more than 350 channels hit 10 million subscribers.

“Creators across the board have seen massive increases in subscribers, audiences and viewership throughout 2020. One incredible example of growth in 2020 is Minecraft content creator Dream, who saw channel subscriptions surge from 1 million in January 2020 to over 13 million by October the same year,” reads YouTube’s blog post. “The channel’s speedrunning series drew in tens of millions of views each.”

Part of the reason why gaming content has likely surged in 2020 is the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has sent online entertainment stats through the roof for activities like streaming TV and multiplayer gaming. We don’t yet have stats for Facebook Gaming or Twitch, but it would not be surprising for both those competitors to report record numbers before the end of the month.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the most-watched games on YouTube were measured in hours viewed. That is incorrect; YouTube measures them by total number of views. We regret the error.