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It’s the beginning of 2018 and the year is destined to be a good one for the industry of live streaming, esports and gaming. With the start of two eSports leagues this year, Overwatch and NBA 2K, gaming and streaming will be making its biggest push to date into the mainstream. It’s definitely an exciting time to be in the industry, and streaming platforms will be vying even harder for more streamers and viewers craving content. Throughout 2017 we saw shifts every quarter in determining which streaming platform would land on top.

YouTube made some major gains in 2017 catching up to the behemoth Twitch, and saw a whopping 343% growth in monthly active streamers for the year.

Twitch still however continues to dominate with overall users and also saw a 197% increase for the year, showing the platform does not have any intension to slowing down. In December, Streamlabs added Periscope to the list of platforms we support, so for the first time numbers from Twitter’s social media platform will be included in our Q4 report. We expect to see steady growth on Periscope throughout 2018, and noticing continual growth in viewership, which means more streamers will follow.

Facebook, the #1 social media platform, saw a 62% increase in streamers this quarter, while Microsoft’s Mixer increased by 58%. As predicted, Streamlabs ended up the year with processing over $100M in tips to streamers, a 25% increase from 2016 and more than doubling the amount from 2015.

We anticipate a stellar year of growth in 2018, with all platforms rising steadily. Who knows maybe this will be the year that eSports and live streaming reach over $1Billion. Check out more 2018 predictions at the end of this report. Stay tuned!

➤ Highlights, TL;DR

In 2017 YouTube grew by a whopping 343% in monthly active streamers, while Twitch grew by 197%

In Q4: Facebook rose 62% and Mixer grew by 58% — YouTube and Twitch saw 10% growth equally

Streamlabs processed over $100M in tips for 2017; a 25% increase from 2016

Over 4.2M hours streamed of PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS, becoming the #1 game streamed on Twitch for the quarter

2 Million donations for Q4 totally $26M, the most in 2017

2018 predictions listed at the end of the report

Facebook and Mixer outpaces Twitch and YouTube in monthly active streamers

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Although Twitch still remains the #1 platform and home for streamers, the platform only rose 10% this quarter, not a complete surprise as we have seen a steady growth each quarter in 2017. The winners this time around were Facebook and Mixer, with 62% and 58% growth respectively, in active monthly streamers.

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However, Twitch still leads in concurrent streamers by a long shot with over 27K followed by YouTube with over 7K. Concurrent streamers are the number of streamers on the platform streaming at the same time.

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There was a rise in total concurrent viewers by 10% this quarter, with a strong showing by Periscope. The platform saw a 48% increase in concurrent viewership. In our last report, Periscope also saw tremendous growth. With this steady increase we expect to see more streamers sharing their stream on the platform in 2018, and Twitter may have found their sweet spot with gamers.

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Monetized Streaming is the Future

Tipping volume grew by 25% in 2017 and doubled that from 2016. Streamers are making money, and more and more are streaming full time. Streamlabs processed over $26M in Q4, making the yearly total $101M as we predicted in Q2.

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Also included in our infographic is the total tip breakdown from our top users, showing how many users took in $10K + for the year.

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Esports and battle royale titles still dominateTwitch viewership

The number one game in Q4, by a huge margin, was PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which should also come as no surprise. PUBG burst onto the scene in Steam’s early access program in March, but shot to prominence on Twitch over the Summer. While some of the platform’s biggest streamers made it a hit, the game sold millions of copies on its way to becoming the phenomenon of 2017. The game was streamed more than 4Million hours in Q4 alone. According to a report from Gamoloco, viewers consumed over 500 million hours of PUBG content last year. The report also has League of Legends clocking in at over one billion hours watched in 2017, making it the most viewed game on Twitch. In Q4 the popular eSports game, was streamed more than 3.2Million hours, coming in right behind PUBG for most live streamed games. Still gaining ground since Q3 is the surprise hit, Fortnite, which no one saw coming, with over 2.7M hours streamed in Q4. Will it become the PUBG in 2018, or will a new game break out? We’ll have to wait to see.

Screen shot from PUBG

I want to end the report with our 2018 predictions coming to gaming and live streaming. Stay tuned for more exciting info coming from Streamlabs.

2018 Predictions:

The New Game to Watch Out For

Tencent’s “Honor of Kings” mobile game is something a lot of people are watching — the largest mobile game in China coming to the US, and will be a key player in the mobile game industry.

Will YouTube Fix its Woes and Be a Competitor for Twitch?

YouTube is a strong contender to Twitch today. In order to keep pace with the market, the issues around de-monetization of videos, copyright strikes, and other concerns raised by YT creators will have to properly addressed.

Can the Newly Formed Overwatch League Find its Viewers and Become a Real League

The Overwatch World Cup at Blizzcon drew a large audience on Twitch, over 5 million total viewers, which is a promising sign for the league. We’ll have to wait and see.

Will Live Streaming Continue to Rise

Streamers, Tipping and Viewers will continue to rise on all platforms. Streamlabs has seen a steady 25% rise year and year since 2016, so we definitely will see another rise in 2018.

Mobile Livestreaming will Become the New Way to Stream

Mobile streaming got a real start in 2017. #IRL is a Top 10 category on Twitch, and much of it is via mobile. What works on mobile is the camera — existing streamers using it to stream their non-gaming lives. Streaming of mobile-specific games has not worked so far. Livestreaming in non-gaming verticals will take a foothold (look at HQ, already pulling in 200K+ concurrent live viewers).

Data collection footnotes:

¹ YT Gaming: This only includes data for YouTube Gaming Live, not YouTube Live overall. We are limited by what data is available. YouTube Live is certainly much larger overall when other categories such as sports, entertainment, politics and mobile are included.

² Facebook Live: This data only includes public, openly-accessible-to-anyone broadcasts. The majority of live broadcasts on Facebook are to friends-only, or privacy-restricted, and hence not open to everyone. Thus the total broadcasts and viewers on Facebook Live are much, much higher, but that data is privacy-restricted and not available. However when looking at open broadcasts on Facebook, it does enable a somewhat apples-to-apples comparison with other openly-accessible broadcasts on other platforms.

³ Estimated Viewers: YouTube and Periscope viewers are calculated using this. These are calculated by directly measuring the concurrent viewers in at least 25% of the broadcasts, and then extrapolating from measured averages to cover the total number of broadcasts.

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