We watched about 60 billion hours of gaming footage in 2018

A YouTube exec revealed over the weekend just how much time we spent watching gaming vids on YouTube. When you combine that number with the amount of time we know people watch videos on livestreaming sites like Twitch, and you can determine we’ve watched around 60 billion hours watching games — and that’s just this year.

In an interview with VentureBeat, Ryan Wyatt, YouTube‘s global head of Gaming, dropped the number: “We crossed a big milestone where we hit 50 billion hours of gaming watch time in the last 12 months.” A YouTube rep has since confirmed that number covers gaming videos and livestreams.

Given the prevalence of gaming footage on other video/live-streaming sites, it begs the question: how much more than 50 billion hours have we watched? I’m cobbling together numbers from a few different sources, as there is no one report on footage watched on Twitch or YouTube Gaming, as opposed to Wyatt’s clear number.

A report from analytics company Newzoo says that, in the first quarter of the year, Twitch generated 2 billion viewing hours in total. In its Q3 report, streaming software company StreamElements said Twitch saw 2.5 billion hours watched, and that the number was “127 million more hours than Q2.” From that, we can infer the total number of hours watched in Q2 was around 2.4 billion hours. 

While we don’t yet have any reports from the last quarter of the year, I’m going to assume Twitch will either hold to or exceed the “2.5 billion hours watched” mark in the final months. If it does, that would put the number at around 9.4 billion hours watched on Twitch this year.

Twitch isn’t solely gaming anymore, obviously. There are a number of creative and IRL streamers on the site. But I don’t have enough reliable numbers on how many hours those streams accrued, and the numbers I do have suggest it’s close to negligible compared with the amount of time on Twitch in total. I’m just going to use the numbers I’ve got.

If we combine that number with Wyatt’s “50 billion hours” remark, and then combine that with the hours watched on Mixer, Facebook, and the assorted smaller streaming sites, I think we either hit or came very close to hitting the big round number of 60 billion hours watched. That’s almost 7 million years’ worth of gaming footage watched this year.

[Updated 3:25 pm CST — Article updated with information from YouTube rep.]

Published December 11, 2018 - 7:19 pm UTC

Never miss out

Sign up for our newsletter Big Spam