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Steam Finds its Live-Streaming Niche in New Game Releases

Looking back over the first quarter of 2024, Steam has established itself as a legitimate platform for streaming. Steam hit its highest-ever quarterly viewership, reaching 151.3M hours watched and an average viewership of 69.3K. Despite this growth, Twitch and YouTube still remain dominant with figures that are 10-fold higher. To carve its own path into the streaming arena then, Steam looks to adopt a new strategy that can target its niche audience. 

The performance of various streaming platforms is covered in more detail in Stream Hatchet’s Q1 2024 Report, available as a free download here:

The Top Game on Steam Shows Potential for Esports Growth

The top games being streamed on Steam are, unsurprisingly, all PC games. What’s more interesting is that the top game is Counter-Strike, with 13.7M hours watched. 2.2M of Counter-Strike’s hours came from the PGL Major Copenhagen 2024, suggesting that there may be scope for esports to thrive on Steam. For now, Twitch remains the dominant platform for esports streaming, but organizers would do well to take advantage of Steam’s niche audience to attract new segments of their fanbase to competitive play. Aside from Counter-Strike, open-world survival game Enshrouded found success on Steam with 9.4M hours watched, continuing the popularity of the genre across all streaming platforms.

New Releases are Reaching Players by Streaming on Steam

While Twitch has traditionally had a more popular esports scene, and YouTube appeals to fans of VTubers and casual content, Steam has struggled to find its own identity in the streaming arena. Q1 of 2024 revealed a potential new strategy for Steam: Hyping up newly released games through official streams. Of the hours watched for the top 100 games being streamed on Steam, almost 40% came from games with Q1 2024 release dates. This is a huge fraction compared to Twitch and YouTube, which had just 7% and 4% of the hours watched for the top 100 streamed games coming from new releases, respectively.

In fact, 7 of the top 10 games being streamed on Steam were also new releases, including Enshrouded and Dragon’s Dogma 2. Dragon’s Dogma 2 is a perfect example of how developers are targeting consumers directly by hosting official gameplay streams upon the release of the new game. Alone in the Dark used a similar strategy in Q1, collaborating with horror streamer Ash Millman who hosted a playthrough of the game. This strategy can even be used ahead of a game’s release to generate hype. The upcoming title Aztecs The Last Sun is one such example from Q1 2024, reaching the #6 most-watched game on Steam despite not having released yet.

Using star power and direct-to-consumer streaming is a powerful way to advertise new titles, and brands may soon jump on the bandwagon to get fresh eyes on their products. Stream Hatchet will continue to observe how Steam works with game publishers to drum up excitement for new releases and bring streaming viewers to its platform.

To find out more about the latest trends in streaming, download Stream Hatchet’s free Q1 2024 report:

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