Livestreaming report: Amazon’s ‘New World’ gains attention as gamers flock to closed beta

Livestreaming report: Amazon’s ‘New World’ gains attention as gamers flock to closed beta

Twitch’s growth rate has been slowed but not eliminated in the summer months; Facebook Gaming continues to grow its share of the livestreaming market; there’s a new competitor elbowing its way into the scene; and Amazon’s New World hit 34 million hours watched last month, as players flocked to its closed beta.

The latest “State of the Stream” report was just published by Israeli firm StreamElements, a provider of tools and services for VOD production, in conjunction with its Chicago-based analytics partner,

Amazon-owned Twitch still commands most of the audience for livestreaming, with 1.8 billion hours of content broadcast in July. While that’s still a 23% jump over the numbers for July 2020, it’s a significant month-to-month drop for Twitch, which can be largely attributed to the start of summer.

Naturally, that means most of the top 10 games on Twitch have lost some viewership as well, including Grand Theft Auto V, League of Legends, and especially Minecraft, which took a 27% hit to its overall hours watched in July.

The audience for Amazon’s upcoming MMORPG New World did prove to extend to Twitch, however. Its closed beta, which ran from July 20 to Aug. 2, was picked up by multiple MMO-focused livestreamers, and while it didn’t crack the top 10 for July, it did get a total of 34 million hours watched.

As per Rainmaker’s data, that puts New World‘s beta in the No. 14 spot for the month on Twitch. It’s another data point in Amazon’s favor as it works to break its long-running cold streak on game development, in advance of the game’s (recently postponed) launch date of Sept. 28.

Gaming still provides most of the content on Twitch, but other categories have begun to steadily rise. (StreamElements/ Image)

Twitch’s gaming content hit an overall downturn, as did perennial No. 1 category Just Chatting, but its non-gaming channels are on the rise. As we saw last year, a lot of people turned to Twitch for ersatz social networks and/or hobbyist networking during the pandemic, which has given a big burst of audience attention to categories of content that were previously obscure.

This includes Art (up 149%), Music (325%), and ASMR (231%). Twitch’s Sports category, launched in July 2020, has seen a 1,222% spike in its audience since then, with Twitch making deals to broadcast shows like old UFC fights, pro wrestling, talk radio, and international soccer matches.

Other analysts have pointed to the National Women’s Soccer League as the champion of the Sports category, which hit the highest number of peak viewers of any related content in the second quarter of 2021.

Somewhat inexplicably, while Twitch faltered in June and July, Facebook Gaming has been steadily growing its market share. While its overall audience is still a relative fraction of Twitch’s, it set a new viewership record of 533 million hours watched in July, for a 53% year-over-year increase in its audience.

Facebook Gaming is notably popular outside the U.S., and many mobile-focused content creators are on the platform. (StreamElements/ Image)

The keys to Facebook’s slow but persistent growth in the space seem to be its larger focus on mobile games, with international hits like Garena Free Fire and Arena of Valor grabbing viewers from around the world. Despite Facebook’s worsening PR issues, it does have its social network backing it up, which gives it an attached audience that Amazon can’t quite match.

Finally, there’s Trovo, which quietly launched in June 2020, and which is only now starting to make waves in the livestreaming market.

While Trovo only attained 22 million hours watched in July, it grew 29% between Q1 and Q2 of the year. Like Facebook Gaming, it features a significantly higher focus on mobile titles, with Call of Duty Mobile reaching the No. 2 spot on Trovo for July.

This isn’t at all significant in the current state of play, but the reason to keep one eye on Trovo is that it’s owned by the Chinese technology conglomerate Tencent.

You might know Tencent from having full or partial ownership stakes in many of the biggest companies in the video game space, including Riot (League of Legends), Epic Games (Fortnite), Activision Blizzard (Call of Duty, World of Warcraft), TiMi Studios (which recently opened an office in Seattle) and as of last month, the Sumo Group, the parent company of the brand-new Timbre Games in Vancouver.

While simply having a giant corporate backer doesn’t necessarily mean Trovo’s going to succeed, as we saw with Microsoft’s Mixer, Trovo could eventually develop into a genuine threat to Twitch’s current market dominance. Amazon could stand to watch its back on this one.

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