More people watch video games than Netflix, Hulu and HBO combined
Netflix, HBO Go, Now TV, Amazon Prime Video and other video streaming services may sound like the future of entertainment, but they’re nothing compared to watching people play games. Yes, that’s right, more people actively watch other people playing games than binge on the latest TV boxset.
According to researchers at SuperData, the “worldwide gaming video content audience” is still growing but currently includes over 665 million people. Between now and 2021, that’s predicted to increase another 21%.
To put that into context for you, Netflix has a subscriber count sitting around the 100 million users mark, with US-only service Hulu sat at about 12 million. SuperData estimates that HBO, Netflix, ESPN and Hulu’s combined subscriber count doesn’t even come close to the number of avid game watchers and Twitch viewers out there. For reference, YouTube’s biggest celebrity is a games streamer known as PewDiePie, sitting pretty on 54 million subscribers to his channel.
It shouldn’t seem too surprising that, in SuperData’s report, 54% of games stream viewers are male and, despite the fact they’re not paying for a streaming service, stream watchers also tend to have a higher than average income compared to gamers who don’t watch streams. It’s also a clear revenue channel for both streamers and associated companies as “PC and console players who watch [gaming video content] spend over $70 a month on digital games and in-game content, 56% more than their non-viewer counterparts”.
In all obviousness, it shouldn’t be hard to see why gaming videos have taken off exponentially compared to more traditional programming. One key factor is that video game videos tend to be on free-to-watch services, whereas on-demand video is locked behind a subscriber paywall. China is also one of the major nations involved with watching video game streams, a nation where the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video simply don’t exist. You can also account increased viewing figures to likes of the rise of esports as more and more people opt to watch these sporting events online as it could be impossible to actually physically attend the event.
Regardless of exactly how and why such a situation has arisen, SuperData’s research is proof enough that the world really does give a damn about video games.