By just about any measure, 2020 was a shitshow of a year. For tweets about videogames, though, it was a clear high point: More than two billion tweets about games were shared in 2020, according to Twitter's metrics, which is a whopping 75 percent increase over 2019.
One likely reason for the big jump is that 2020, as you may recall, was the year of the global pandemic that kept us inside and in front of our PCs even more than usual. Major industry events including E3, Gamescom, and GDC went digital, and publishers took the opportunity to hold online events of their own, giving gamers more to talk about than ever before, spread out over the entire summer.
That was also no doubt a factor in the jump in unique gaming tweet authors, which increased 49 percent over the previous year. Gaming was the sixth-most-followed topic on Twitter over the course of the year, with the category breaking down like this:
- Gaming News
- Gaming Influencers
- Call of Duty
- Animal Crossing
Surprise! The US did not top the list of countries tweeting about games—that crown went to Japan.
Also interesting is the list of games that were tweeted about the most in 2020. Cyberpunk 2077, one of the biggest, most anticipated core game releases in years, is nowhere to be seen; Fortnite is mid-field, which isn't surprising, and Apex Legends made the top ten as well, a sign that interest in the game is hanging strong.
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons (@animalcrossing)
- Fate/Grand Order (@fgoproject)
- Disney: Twisted-Wonderland (@twst_jp)
- Final Fantasy (@FinalFantasy)
- Fortnite (@fortnitegame)
- Ensemble Stars! (@ensemble_stars)
- Knives Out (@game_knives_out)
- Genshin Impact (@GenshinImpact)
- Apex Legends (@PlayApex)
- Identity V (@IdentityVJP)
But it's the presence of mobile games that I think is most noteworthy: Fate/Grand Order, Disney: Twisted Wonderland, Ensemble Stars!, Knives Out (no relation to the film), and Identity V are all mobile releases. Genshin Impact is multiplatform but also heavily mobile focused—according to market analyst firm Sensor Tower, it was the second-highest-earning mobile game in its first two months of release.
It'll be interesting to see how big a slice of the entertainment and hobbies pie gaming takes in 2021, via Twitter's metrics or otherwise. The pandemic is still raging, particularly in the US, but the development of vaccines promises to eventually slow and halt its progress. Meanwhile, we've been stuck inside for a long, long time (just about forever, it feels like) and I can't help wondering whether an awful lot of us will decide to spend a whole lot more time outside when spring rolls back around. I know I'm sure going to.
Somehow, the list of most-tweeted-about gaming events does not include our own PC Gaming Show. Probably just an oversight, but here's the top five as it currently stands:
We'll get 'em next year.