Minecraft is known to every modern gamer. The sandbox has long been one of the genre's legendary representatives. But it was only recently that its Twitch.tv popularity saw such a rapid growth. So, what exactly happened?
While the game was well-known to YouTube bloggers as early as several years ago, the Twitch category's viewership was quite underwhelming. This started to change in August 2019. The game managed to go past the prolonged stagnation (when it gathered merely 20 thousand average viewers) and arrive at up to 200 thousand peak viewers.
2020 saw the biggest boom of Minecraft's popularity so far. On May 6th, the category reached a mark of 474 thousand peak viewers. Soon afterwards, the peak viewers indicators were exceeding the mark of 200 thousand viewers – and at times even reached 400 thousand viewers. So what could be the reason?
Platform's popular streamers started showing interest in the game. Their viewers were especially interested in the "hardcore" mode: the difference being the complete loss of progress upon the character's death, thus forcing the player to start from scratch. The feelings and emotions experienced by the streamers during such moments are indescribable, to say the least.
Twitch also made use of the hype surrounding Minecraft. In July and August, the company hosted its own Minecraft tournaments as part of Twitch Rivals series. Participating in these tournaments were the popular streamers from nearly all the Western regions; with each streamer raffling off $100 thousand among the participants.
Both events have progressed in quite an interesting way. There was a specific set of special tasks and challenges for each team of participants to complete within a time limit. The motto of the organizers was that "anything can become esports with the right presentation."
Twitch Rivals Minecraft Bingo Challenge was the more popular event, receiving 337 thousand peak viewers. Such a record amount was mostly achieved due to Spanish streamers, with ElRichMC being responsible for attracting the largest number of viewers among them.
It should be recalled that the platform signed a number of popular Spanish bloggers shortly before the beginning of the tournament. Aside from Rich, Rubius was another such blogger to stand out much – due to having an incredible number of 38.5 million YouTube subscribers and featuring such popular figures as Will Smith in his videos.
The second tournament of the series gathered 292 thousand viewers. This time, the English-language channels managed to stand out, providing the bulk of the views. TommyInnit, with his 45 thousand peak viewers indicator, became the most popular out of them.
The Spanish streamers are the main force being the category's popularity on Twitch. By checking the game's most popular channels over the past years one can see that more than half of those belong to the Spanish streamers. English can be safely called the second most popular language for the game's category, with the German channels closing the top 3.
It might be noticed that the Twitch-Rubius exclusivity deal has brought some excellent results. For Minecraft alone, the channel of the latter brought the platform nearly 17 million hours watched out of the last 311 hours of airtime.
It is quite interesting that the major part of the mentioned streamers is largely occupied by their YouTube creativity. To them, Twitch merely serves as a direct channel of communication with their fans – rather than being a full-time job it is for platform's many other streamers. This can be explained by the game itself arriving to Twitch from Google's platform itself: the boom of Minecraft videos (which wasn't left unnoticed even by the platform's most popular blogger PewDiePie) took place precisely on YouTube.
To conclude, it can be stated that the growth of the game's popularity on Twitch became possible due to three important factors. The first of these is the large number of game's content-makers to arrive from another platform. Secondly, they have brought a sufficiently large number of challenges along. Finally, the platform itself has provided special competitions, which, combined with the aforementioned two factors, allowed it to further attract viewer interest.