Even as every major sport across the world continues the struggle to get back on its feet, one game has done remarkably well to prove its worth during the coronavirus-forced lockdown – that game is chess.
According to a report by The Verge, data collected from analytics firm SullyGnome provided by StreamElements says that chess is one of the fastest-growing games on the popular video live streaming platform Twitch.
The report says that the number of hours people have watched chess games on Twitch has nearly doubled every month this year, with more than eight million hours watched in the month of May alone.
Chess’ presence among the top 20 games on Twitch is an incredible feat as the platform is usually dominated by games like Fortnite, League of Legends, and Call of Duty.
One of the key reasons why chess’ popularity has grown on Twitch is the contribution by Hikaru Nakamura. The five-time US chess champion has been an integral part of Chess.com’s Pogchamps tournament series and has been successfully training popular streamers like Felix “xQc” Lengyel, Faze Clan’s Nate Hill, and League of Legends streamer Albert “boxbox” Zheng.
“Twitch has a long history of chess players dating back to its earliest days, but it wasn’t until 2017 when they partnered with Chess.com that they most prominently embraced the game of kings,” StreamElements CEO Doron Nir was quoted as saying in a statement.
“Since then the game has enjoyed moderate growth, yet nothing compares with the rise it experienced in recent months when some of the top streamers, such as xQc, Reckful, and LIRIK, streamed it. While the chess community has achieved a lot of success on its own, this latest move illustrates the power of influencers to broaden the appeal of a brand.”