It turns out that video games aren’t just for playing. They can also be a spectator event. The Infinite Dial report from Edison Research and Triton Digital found that one-fifth of the US population (ages 12+) currently watches live-streamed video games on services such as Twitch, YouTube Live, Facebook Live or Mixer.
The percentage of people who watch live-streamed video games on these services has increased from 2019 and 2020, when 15% of the public participated in this activity.
The largest increase over last year was with individuals ages 12-34. Close to two-fifths (38%) of people in this age group say they currently watch live-streamed video games, compared to 26% in 2020. This falls in line with previous research that found that a majority of Millennial gamers watch gaming video content on platforms such as Twitch and YouTube.
There was also a lift in adults ages 35-54 who watch live-streamed video games — 16% say they do so now, compared to 11% who said the same in 2020. However, growth isn’t universal, as fewer older adults (ages 55+) now watch such broadcasts (6% in 2020 down to 4% in 2021).
But what about those individuals who have played a video game and live-streamed it? It turns out that 1 in 10 individuals say they have done this, albeit with a significant gender gap. Some 13% of men have live-streamed themselves playing a video game, compared to 7% of women.
And, although older people are spending more time and money on video games than they have in the past, they appear far less enthused about having an audience while playing than younger individuals. Some 21% of people ages 12-34 have live-streamed their video game playing on services like Twitch or YouTube Live, while only 6% of 35-54-year-olds and 2% of adults 55+ have done so.
The full report can be found here.
About the Data: Findings for 2021 are based on a January survey of 1,507 people ages 12 and older, weighted to national 12+ US population figures.