Every so often when the planets align, streamers are graced with a new phenomenon that seems to take over Twitch and guarantee an abundance of viewers to one game. There are different reasons why these games trend, but every time a new game starts trending, it’s almost guaranteed to start selling copies to eager fans who want to experience it for themselves. Some of these Twitch hits, although surprising, have managed to remain on the top of the viewer leaderboards for years, elevating them to the status of classics. Look no further than the popular battle royale Fortnite, where kids learned to Floss.
Some of the games on Twitch are popular for obvious reasons, be it that players don’t want to be scared firsthand or they want to watch someone much better than they are at a competitive game. Some longtime favorites and examples of this are League of Legends, Phasmophobia, and Call of Duty: Warzone. There are many games and activities that cover the channels on Twitch, so when streamers all gather around one game, it feels like a special moment of unity in the gaming community, especially if the game relies on communication and creativity.
Originally released in June 2018, Among Us didn’t rise in popularity until mid-2020, when players were eager for an experience they could play with friends. Because everyone was forced to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic, and the easy accessibility of Among Us, long-time gamers and newcomers alike hopped onto the spaceship to find the Impostor and jettison them into space.
This game became popular on Twitch because the huge reliance on communication made for some hilarious moments between famous streamers, and even some politicians, as they tricked each other throughout each match. What’s amazing is that the game managed to rise to popularity on Twitch, and in such a big way, two years after its initial release.
Grand Theft Auto Online was already popular for entering players into an immersive criminal empire they can explore with their friends. Thanks to the ability for multiplayer fun, it was already a popular streamed game. However, with the introduction of the Grand Theft Auto Online RP servers, players can now have a more immersive experience than ever before. Instead of playing the protagonist, players take over the roles of police, shopkeepers, and a whole list of other roles complete with their own activities.
Players can practically live out whole lives on these servers, and that hasn’t gone unnoticed by streamers. The interactions between role-playing characters have the potential to be really funny and so it makes for great content. Streamers have noticed this and hopped into FiveM’s servers en masse.
Minecraft was first released in 2011, and was pretty well-received when it came out. The freedom of sandbox creativity in a survival world birthed a genre that has inspired games like Terraria, Rust, Ark: Survival Evolved, and many more. Naturally, given the game’s customization and ease of access on most machines, it was a popular choice t0 stream in the early days of Twitch, which launched around the same time. However, even the best of games will dip in popularity on Twitch, as viewers are attracted to new and shinier games.
What is so surprising about the survival block-building Minecraft is its waves of return to popularity on Twitch in 2019, 2020, and now higher than ever before in 2021. The reason streamers are so attracted to Minecraft is that it’s easy to run on most systems, the content is pure enough for advertisers, and the freedom to create and live in these worlds has allowed for all sorts of unique situations for streamers to create content.
Obviously how popular a game is on Twitch isn’t a testament to its quality. Most games are chosen by streamers because they’re simple, attractive to advertisers, and make for great multiplayer content with other streamers. Most of these games help popular streamers with their marketing above all else, and that’s why so many will crowd around one new game. If one streamer can partner with another, through friendship or some sponsored tournament, then both of those streamers’ audiences are guaranteed to grow, as will the player base for that game. It’s a win-win for everyone.