The number of people broadcasting on livestreaming service Twitch skyrocketed mid-March as the Coronavirus pandemic persisted.
Reporting by The Verge revealed that considerably more people are watching Twitch now that coronavirus regulations are disincentivising leaving the house – and, according to Twitch statistics aggregator Twitch Tracker, it appears that supply has increased in tandem with demand.
Between March, when most lockdown measures were implemented, and April, the average number of channels livestreaming on the platform spiked by almost 70%.
“The pandemic was definitely the main factor in me starting the channel,” Kat Carson of If Music Be the Food of Love, Stream On, a channel that streams live musicians of various genres, says. “I saw that all of my friends, and myself, who relied on performances for much of their income were suddenly left with nothing to do and no way of either performing or making money.”
Twitch is an online website that allows people to broadcast themselves to a live audience. People primarily use the service to stream themselves playing video games – and the pandemic seems to have convinced people who were on the fence about taking up livestreaming on the platform as a hobby.
“I had always planned to start streaming more, you know,” Tedd, one half of Rhode Island live gaming outfit GentlemenEnterprises, tells me. “With the pandemic going on, we just sort of have all this time. The time that I would usually spend… trying to hang out with friends, now that I can’t really do any of that, it’s like, ‘yeah, let’s stream’.”
While the platform is mainly used for livestreaming video games, the stock and trade of streamers like Tedd and others, people of other disciplines also use the site to share their interests.
“I found my passion doing spray painting on stream,” says Twitch artist atg115. “Maybe more people got into streaming, as I have, because they had more free time and because other people were online more.”
In the period of February through April, Twitch’s average concurrent viewer count, the average number of people watching livestreams at any given time, saw an increase of around 176%, from just under 1.5 million to nearly 2.5 million.