Most-watched games on Twitch of all time, ranked

Twitch

As the most popular live streaming platform of recent years, Twitch has taken the spot as the favored streaming service for gamers and streamers alike. The 10-year-old video game live-streaming platform gained popularity within its first year of launching, earning about 3.2 million viewers during that time.

From then on, Twitch has had exponential growth, mostly due to the popularization of large gaming companies and communities. This standalone platform became a standard for anyone who enjoys idling time learning with some of the best players online. With video games’ popularity rising and ceasing rather quickly some games become one-year hits, only to leave the charts just as quickly as they entered. However, there are still some video games that continuously earn their steady place on the Twitch charts, remaining the most-watched games on the platform. In order to compile an accurate list, statistics from 2016 until 2022 from SullyGnome were gathered and added up, and without any further ado, here are the most-watched games on Twitch of all time.

10. Call of Duty: Warzone  

Credit: Infinity Ward/Activision Blizzard

Total Hours Watched: 1.9 Billion Hours (1,901,917,438)

Avg Viewers: 50,481

This year’s Peak: 786,910

As a part of the Call of Duty franchise, Warzone came out alongside the main installment Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019), the sixteenth segment of the Call of Duty series. The reboot of the 2005 sub-series Modern Warfare has had exponential growth since its release in 2019, amounting to over 1.9 Billion hours overall, thus making the list with its massive increase in numbers in just 4 years. Call of Duty: Warzone is a first-person shooter game that was developed by Infinity Ward. The series itself has also been awarded by Guinness World Record as the best-selling first-person shooter game series, and Warzone only cemented the rising popularity of the franchise. Originally planted in a World War II setting, Call of Duty has since expanded to a fictional war in the Modern Warfare reboot, consequently becoming the second battle royal in the Call of Duty series. 

9. World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft
Screengrab via YouTube

Total Hours Watched: 1.9 Billion Hours (1,904,797,082)

Avg Viewers: 40,533

This Year’s Peak: 514,105

For some of the most experienced gamers, the ninth spot on our list probably does not come as entirely surprising. World of Warcraft has been around since 2004 and has had quite the loyal fanbase from the get-go. This massive multiplayer game developed by Blizzard Entertainment has had some ups and downs when it comes to Twitch. World of Warcraft is the type of game that is considered to be for “grinders”, since one is supposed to perform repetitive tasks to achieve a certain goal, and therefore not the game for a lot of the Twitch demography. Albeit, it still holds a rather large number of watchers, especially considering the game’s longevity and the captivating lore which lures in those who want to play a game for fun and not necessarily to compete. 

8. Minecraft

Total Hours Watched: 1.9 Billion Hours (1,913,614,254)

Avg Viewers: 38,748

This Year’s Peak: 2,189,881

Developed by Mojang Studios, the sandbox videogame Minecraft has taken the world by storm, among older and younger audiences alike. The 2011 game follows a procedurally generated world in which the user may find tools and craft up materials according to their needs in this infinite blocky terrain videogame. Upon receiving extremely acclaimed critics, the 3D videogame has since been popularized by younger audiences and groups of friends who are solely looking to have a fun time building up their world. In the last few years, the game got a particularly interesting increase in hours watched on Twitch, possibly due to the popularization of social media and content among young people. On account of its freedom and lack of rules or goals, the customizable game originates as an extremely alluring pastime activity based on its flexibility in gameplay and amusing quirks. 

7. Hearthstone

Total Hours Watched: 2.1 Billion Hours (2,156,796,291)

Avg Viewers: 27,977 

This Year’s Peak: 106,267

Possibly it comes as a surprise to some, but Hearthstone belongs on the list of the most-watched games on Twitch. For the less attentive Twitch viewers, Hearthstone is a free-to-play collectible card game. Developed by Blizzard Entertainment, Hearthstone consists of playing with collectible digital cards and creating strong decks to defeat your opponents. For any World of Warcraft aficionados, in Hearthstone one can find popular names such as Lord Jaraxxus and Jaina, but to play this card game there is no need to learn about the intricacies in WoW, creating the perfect learning blank canvas for any new player. Hearthstone has been a consistent game when it comes to Twitch watchers, most likely thanks to its easygoing gameplay and relaxing 10-minute running games. 

6. Valorant

Valorant
Screengrab via YouTube

Total Hours Watched: 2.1 Billion Hours (2,162,526,731)

Avg Viewers: 137,605

This Year’s Peak: 984,205

Within just 2 years, Valorant has earned the 6th spot on the most-watched games on Twitch of all time. This first-person shooter game became an overnight sensation in 2020, and it is now increasing in popularity more and more as time goes by. Developed by Riot Games, Valorant is a pc-only tactical game where teams of five go against each other aiming to survive. The unique set of abilities paired with the sharp gunplay expertise builds a fun and lively game that has a competitive atmosphere to it.

5. Dota 2

Dota 2 Omni Knight
Screengrab via YouTube

Total Hours Watched: 3.1 Billion Hours (3,150,840,590)

Avg Viewers: 55,355 

This Year’s Peak: 316,681 

Part of the most popular videogame genre, Dota 2 is a battle arena game developed and published by Valve Corporation in 2013. This multiplayer game is based on 5-player groups battling each other with their eyes set on defending their separate base on the map. Part of the reason why Dota 2 became so widely popular derives from the fact that it is completely free to play. Not long after its release, the game also gathered a large Esports scene, assembling a large number of streams resulting in a large increase of viewers on Twitch. With a steady growth from year to year, Dota 2 is only expected to increase its numbers by the end of 2022. 

4. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter Strike Global Offensive
Screengrab via YouTube

Total Hours Watched: 3.5 Billion Hours (3,509,512,743)

Avg Viewers: 85,055 

This Year’s Peak: 995,138

A staple for any home throughout the globe, Counter-Strike is one game that has made a name for itself in the past 10 years. Gathering over three billion hours watched on Twitch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive became an instant success after its 2012 release, especially considering it is the fourth game in the Counter-Strike series, an already widely spread game within the gaming community. The multiplayer first-shooter game by Valve and Hidden Part Entertainment partially gets its recognition by the large-scale tournaments as well as the accessibility that helped rack up the numbers. Unlike other games of the same genre, Counter-Strike does not require the average player to understand or learn any specific game rules, yet, it is packed with strategy, skills, and speed. Due to these factors, the game has become widely accessible to any foreign player.

3. Grand Theft Auto V

Total Hours Watched: 4.1 Billion Hours (4,121,806,987)

Avg Viewers: 184,499

This Year’s Peak: 586,901

If there is one game on this list that has earned its way into any family or household, it is Grand Theft Auto. The seventh entry in the Grand Theft Auto series is an action game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games in 2013. As an installment of one of the most popular franchises in the video gaming industry, GTA V was bound to be just as much of a success as its counterparts. Nevertheless, what truly guaranteed the progressive growth of the game was the development and release of FiveM, a modification framework enabling multiplayer. This open-source mod has become a huge motivator for streamers to play the game more interactively, being able to play with a friend or even subscribers. The success of the mod and Grand Theft Auto is visible through its increase in numbers, considering that just last year there were over a billion watched hours of GTA V on Twitch. 

2. Fortnite

epic games fortnite lawsuit dance
Image via Epic Games

Total Hours Watched: 4.8 Billion Hours (4,812,005,103)

Avg Viewers: 92,893 

This Year’s Peak: 685,560

Considered to be one of the most successful marketing strategies of all time, Fortnite went from having just a little over a thousand followers in 2016 to having over a million in just two years. Geared toward a younger audience, Fortnite’s success comes from many factors: its free-to-play release, the cross-platform multiplier, and a reward progression system. All of the previously stated factors generated an astronomically lucrative game, but what truly made Fortnite shine was the game’s flexibility. Whether it was an experienced gamer or an average person who rarely plays video games, Fortnite’s gameplay and goals are astonishingly accessible. The battle royal’s aim is to win -whether in solo or pairs- by defeating your opponents and protecting yourself through strategic and creative ways. This gameplay proved to be incredibly fun and attainable for anyone that wants to play, or simply idle the hours away amusing themselves by watching a Twitch strea

1. League Of Legends

Image via Riot Games

Total Hours Watched: 9.1 Billion Hours (9,156,560,351)

Avg Viewers: 204,656

This Year’s Peak: 1,051,564  

Renowned to the point of barely requiring an introduction, the first place belongs to the one and only League of Legends. Also known as League, this multiplayer battle arena game was developed by Riot Games in 2009. This 13-year-old video game has been at the top of the most-watched games on Twitch since 2016, only momentarily falling behind Fortnite in 2018, and GTA V in 2021. With an impressive 9.1 Billion hours spent watching the game, League of Legends’ throne is the obvious victor as the most-watched game, and by no means a feat to be overlooked. As any multiplayer battle-arena game, it has extremely intricate rules and in this case, over 100 champions to choose from. Each of the champions in League has its own unique abilities that one must learn to be able to defeat and counter their rivals. This makes up for an extremely complex game that sometimes takes years to fully learn and master, and the fact that it remains one of the most played games in the world and the most-watched video game is something to be praised for. Considering its longevity and competitive nature that simply lures players in, League of Legends is the one game that is not expected to be dethroned anytime soon.

With the continuous growth in online content and independent entertainment streamers, the number of viewers has steadily increased. More and more people aim to treasure their free time and cherish the camaraderie that Twitch streamers provide. As a fairly recent leisure activity, Twitch and gaming surely aren’t meant to go anywhere anytime soon, providing millions of people a comforting companionship throughout the day.