More people watch gaming videos and streams than HBO, Netflix, ESPN, and Hulu combined

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A lot of people watch other people play games. According to the industry researchers at SuperData (opens in new tab), the "worldwide gaming video content audience" includes 665 million people. And it's growing: The company predicts a 21 percent viewer increase between now and 2021.

According to SuperData, there's now a bigger audience for gaming video than the combined audiences of HBO, Netflix, ESPN, and Hulu. For reference, Netflix's subscriber count is somewhere near 100 million (opens in new tab), while Hulu maintains about 12 million (opens in new tab). For better or for worse, PewDiePie (opens in new tab) alone has over 54 million YouTube subscribers. 

It's not a shocking conclusion: Netflix, for instance, is not currently available in China (opens in new tab), so it's no wonder that it would be dwarfed by a category of typically free, streaming video around the world. But if there was still any doubt that the YouTubes and Twitches of the world have made gaming video as mainstream as any primetime TV show, it ought to have vanished long ago.

The report also concludes that men make up 54 percent of the audience for gaming streams and videos and women account for 46 percent. Additionally, gamers who watch streams and videos have a higher average income than other gamers, and like to spend it. "PC and console players who watch [gaming video content] spend over $70 a month on digital games and in-game content, 56 percent more than their non-viewer counterparts," reads SuperData's press release.

We watched "nearly 100 million hours" of League of Legends in February alone, according to the report, with CS:GO coming in second at 40 million hours on Twitch. Twitch is one of the biggest earners in the scene, despite not holding the majority of the eyeballs. SuperData finds that it only captures 16 percent of the audience, but earns 37 percent of 'gaming video content's' revenue thanks in large part to direct spending through subscriptions.

And through advertising and direct spending (subscriptions and donations), SuperData predicts $4.6 billion in revenue from gaming video and streams this year. That probably has something to do with why over half the audience for livestreams wants to try livestreaming themselves.

SuperData's full report (opens in new tab) will set interested companies back $2,499. Surely there are some interesting insights inside, but here's the too expensive, didn't read version: a lot of people like to watch videogames on the computer.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley alongside Apple and Microsoft, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on the early personal computers his parents brought home. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, Bushido Blade (yeah, he had Bleem!), and all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now. In 2006, Tyler wrote his first professional review of a videogame: Super Dragon Ball Z for the PS2. He thought it was OK. In 2011, he joined PC Gamer, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. After work, he practices boxing and adds to his 1,200 hours in Rocket League.