Twitch Breaks Various Viewership Records Amid Coronavirus Quarantine

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The Amazon-owned streaming platform hit all-time highs in total hours watched, streamed and concurrent viewers over the first quarter of 2020, as millions "shelter in place" to fight the spread of the virus.

Amazon's Twitch streaming platform hit all-time highs in hours watched, hours streamed and concurrent viewers amid the coronavirus quarantine, according to a new report from analytics firms StreamLabs and Stream Hatchet.

For the first time since the platform debuted in 2012, Twitch topped three billion hours watched over the first quarter of 2020 (January-March). During the period, Twitch accounted for 65 percent of total streaming hours watched and 72 percent of total hours streamed, topping competitors YouTube Gaming, Facebook Gaming and Microsoft's Mixer platform.

Twitch also saw a notable increase from last quarter, both in total hours watched and streamed. Both numbers had been trending downward in 2019, hitting a low of 2.7 billion and 100 million, respectively, before spiking in Q1 2020 to 3.1 billion and 121.4 million. Concurrent viewers on the platform, meanwhile, went from 1.2 million in Q4 2019 to 1.4 million in Q1 2020.

Twitch was not the only streamer to see an increase. Across multiple platforms, numbers were up in Q1 as more viewers, and streamers, were encouraged to "shelter in place" at their homes. YouTube Gaming's live-streaming services saw a 13 percent increase in total hours watched (peaking at just over 1 billion) from the previous quarter, accounting for 22 percent of the total market share. Hours streamed on the platform also increased by 14 percent, to 14 million.

Facebook Gaming saw an even more dramatic bump in Q1, up more than 20 percent in total hours watched on the platform to 553.7 million, accounting for 11 percent of the total market share. Hours streamed also went up 11 percent to 4.9 million. Both numbers represent a major increase year-over-year for Facebook Gaming, 236 percent for hours watched and 131 percent for hours streamed.

Microsoft's Mixer, however, experienced a decrease in hours watched, down more than 7 percent from the previous quarter, accounting for just 2 percent of the total market share. The total number of hours streamed on the platform went up just over 1 percent to 28.3 million. 

The new data reflects an earlier report in March by Verizon, in which U.S. video game usage during peak hours saw an increase of 75 percent since the quarantine first went into effect early in the month. Meanwhile, video streaming also increased by 12 percent.