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The Magic Rain Nat’s Top 5 Twitch Highlights
When everything normal about the world was uprooted two years ago, like many others, I turned to streaming as a source of comfort and variety. First beginning as a viewer, finding a sense of community online that made these four walls feel that much bigger; to becoming a streamer on Twitch myself, offering the same comfort to others while gaining a new platform to flex my creative expression.
Even as the world slowly but surely settled into the new normal, the Twitch streaming community in Southeast Asia emerged stronger than ever. Most significantly, the past two years saw an influx of variety streamers, a distinct departure from the married-to-one-game mentality that has ruled streaming in this region for years.
But that’s not the only way streaming has evolved. In 2022, viewers found new reasons to watch streamers, games found new narratives to tell, and streamers changed their content in turn. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest trends that defined Twitch — and my year as a streamer:
From Animal Crossing: New Horizons to Stardew Valley, more and more streamers ditched the stereotypical energy drinks and neon lights, for warm tea and pastel colours. Personally, I sank into the cozy embrace of PowerWash Simulator as a backdrop for discussions about life, work, and everything in between.
Just Chatting became the biggest category on Twitch this year with a 60% lead over World of Warcraft in second place. It’s no wonder when viewers gravitated towards streams that allowed them to participate in two-way conversation, or provided comfy companionship while working or gaming in the background.
Before the end of ADHD awareness month, here are some helpful resources and videos that have helped me understand myself and others with this disorder on a deeper level.
A really long thread ?
— Nathalie (@nathalietay_) October 27, 2022
Together with the advent of cozy streams came the topic of mental health. Healthy discourse about topics like burnout, depression, and stress became essential during the lockdown, and Twitch streamers opened the floor for these important conversations to happen.
After being diagnosed this year, ADHD and neurodivergence became central to my channel with a major focus on education and destigmatisation; only spurred on by big names like Jacksepticeye, Markiplier, and CrankGameplays speaking up about their own ADHD diagnoses.
Although mental health awareness has been widespread globally over the past decade, it remains a taboo topic in most parts of Southeast Asia. The journey to catch up with the rest of the world is long and arduous, but Twitch streamers are out here pushing the needle — one stream at a time.
Viewers and streamers alike have always loved the horror genre, but the last two years saw horror games become increasingly co-op and exponentially chaotic. Phasmophobia kicked off the trend in late October 2020 but Dead By Daylight stood the test of time, averaging 28K viewers every month in 2022.
Meanwhile, my friends and I found ourselves immersed in The Dark Pictures Anthology, a cinematic choice-based franchise where you take turns to save (or accidentally kill) a cast of characters using the power of QTEs and bad decisions. However, the real (wallet)saver here was Steam’s Remote Play feature that enabled shared screen co-op with only one player needing to own the game.
Needless to say, this was not on my 2022 bingo card. Fortnite shot up the Twitch rankings this year when they introduced Zero Build, a game mode that removed the building mechanic. (I know! They removed building! From Fortnite!) That combined with strategic IP integrations ranging from John Cena to Dragon Ball, it’s safe to say Fortnite has secured a space in the spotlight for a while longer.
Right before the end of the year, another game made a surprising comeback. Overwatch 2 launched early October with a shiny new Battle Pass system, a tweaked Competitive Mode, and a handful of new Heroes. Even as complaints about the sequel flooded the internet, it didn’t change the Twitch stats: 33% more streamers loved it enough to stream it.
It’s worth noting that giants like League of Legends and VALORANT (4th and 5th most popular respectively) are far from being overthrown, but both Fortnite and Overwatch 2 sit comfortably in the Top 10 categories for the time being.
With new streamers joining Twitch every day, topics relating to stream growth and community management were a constant this past year. On my channel, we host a podcast called Fortcast Fridays where we talk about the Southeast Asian streaming ecosystem and provide helpful resources for growing streamers, while playing a few rounds of Fortnite (because why not?)
Not only were streamers opening up about their experiences and challenges, but viewers were also invested in their favourite streamers’ growth. That supportive and community-oriented climate has by far been the biggest highlight on Twitch — not just this year, but I hope, every year to come.
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