Chess continues to make massive inroads as Twitch and Facebook Gaming numbers boom

Who needs GTA?

Canadian chess player Alexandra Botez is one of the most popular streamers on Twitch. Photo

The numbers are in for the most-streamed games on Twitch and Facebook Gaming for the month of February. And an old classic continues to make news alongside games like Grand Theft Auto V, League of Legends, and VALORANT. Esports fans are spending a lot of time watching chess on Twitch and Facebook Gaming. That’s right: chess.

Haven’t yet the name Alexandra Botez? You need to get with the times.

The game that made legends out of Garry Kasparov, Bobby Fischer, and Magnus Carlsen has been finding popularity with a whole new audience since the premiere of The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix last October.

That was confirmed again by the game’s February numbers on Twitch. There were a total of 21 million hours watched, with viewership heaviest on the Chess channel GMHikaru, but also significant on Ludwig and BotezLive.

Overall, Twitch accounted for over two billion hours watched. That was down from January 2021, but represents the second-highest total ever. Comparing to where Twitch was at least year at this time, hours watched are up 82 percent.

Facebook Gaming continues to establish itself as a gaming platform that’s growing rapidly. Over 400 million hours were watched on the platform compared to under 200 million last year. That marks a 79 percent increase over the beginning of 2020.

Twitch users were most active on Just Chatting, which accounted for 245 million hours of watching time. League of Legends accounted for 135 million hours. Grand Theft Auto V meanwhile claimed third place with 135 million hours logged.

The stats come from Israel’s StreamElements in partnership with the analytics firm

It’s notable that, based on their stats, women now make up 41 percent of gamers. Last year only two of the top 200 streamers on Twitch were female. That number has grown to nine this year.

The most popular woman streamer on Twitch is Imane “Pokimane” Anys, who’s emerged as a star on VALORANT.

And, again, there’s a lot of folks watching chess on Twitch.

Alexandra Botez is the ninth most-popular Twitch streamer. Along with her sister Andrea, the Canadian hosts a—you guessed it—chess show on Twitch.

Mike Usinger once took the better part of two years to finish Grand Theft Auto. Over the course of his career he has written about everything from eSports to music to movies to travel.

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