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10 Video Games That Became Super Popular Thanks to a Streamer

Memorable streamers and creators brought these to the top.

The increasing prominence of social media has turned gaming into a true word-of-mouth medium. Where games have often relied on having support systems in place of fans who enjoyed a series/developer’s previous projects, titles of all kinds can blow up at any second with a passionate social media presence. Nowhere is this more prominent than in the world of game streaming.

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Video game streamers, through the sheer strength of their personality, can spark a game to become a trend simply by playing it and showing the fun that can be had with it. And it doesn’t matter whether the game in question came out yesterday, or has been played for over 30 years; if it can appear enticing enough, gamers will jump at the opportunity to try it out themselves. These are just 10 of the many games that saw a jump in popularity thanks to streamers.

Among Us

among us imposter kill
Image Source: Innersloth

With how popular Among Us has become in the cultural zeitgeist in the last few years, it’s easy to forget that this game actually came out in 2018. Upon release, Among Us didn’t see much mainstream popularity, but it exploded in 2020 thanks to a variety of factors. Developer Innersloth releasing The Henry Stickmin Collection (which featured several Among Us references) certainly gave it a boost, as did the demand for fun online multiplayer games in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

After an initial wave in popularity thanks to streamers in Mexico, Brazil, and South Korea, streamer Sodapoppin was said to have heavily popularized the game in the mainstream. Other popular streamers like xQc, Pokimane, Ninja, and MrBeast would come along and further establish the success of Among Us. It got so popular, in fact, that Innersloth canceled the planned sequel, Among Us 2, to focus more on improving and adding content to the first game. Nothing to be sus about here; Among Us took its time, but became a bonafide success.

Fall Guys

fall guys champion
Image Source: Epic Games

Popping off at roughly the same time as Among Us, Fall Guys was in the right place at the right time to become a viral success. Let’s set the stage; it’s August 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic is still casting an iron grip on the world, and gamers could really use a new multiplayer game to play with friends. What better way to engage both casual and hardcore players than with a platforming battle royale where a bunch of jellybean-like characters race to get to the finish first?

It did the trick; while no single streamer seemed to popularize it more than another, Fall Guys had over 700,000 peak concurrent viewers on Twitch at the time of its release. Within 24 hours, the game already had a playerbase of 1.5 million, and over two million copies were sold on Steam alone in its first week (it was only available on PC and PlayStation 4 at launch). With new releases on other consoles, plus a switch to a free-to-play model, Fall Guys has maintained huge success, which it may not have gotten if not for the streaming boost it received.


phasmophobia hallway
Image Source: Kinetic Games

Another game that seemed to be in the right place at right time, Phasmophobia was another pandemic-era title that answered a very specific call. Released in September 2020, gamers were aching for a scary experience they could share online with friends to celebrate the incoming Halloween season.

They got their wish, and Phasmophobia would peak among the top five most-viewed games on Twitch. Streamers like Jacksepticeye, xQc, and Markiplier helped push the game and offered it a greater amount of attention, leading to it even becoming the top-selling game on Steam for three consecutive weeks.

This popularity even got to the point where the developers had to intervene, as hackers were trying too hard to jumpscare players, or turn characters into NSFW models that could get streamers in trouble with Twitch. Fortunately, the developers added updates to fix this and would continue to add regular content to keep the game fresh. While it’s still in Early Access today, Phasmophobia has become one of the most popular horror titles today, and it will surely continue to pop off once it releases a full release.

Sea of Thieves

sea of thieves skull
Image Source: Xbox Game Studios

With how popular Sea of Thieves is now, you might be surprised that it was considered a disappointment when it first came out. After years of anticipation, Sea of Thieves arrived in 2018 but appeared to be lost at sea thanks to repetitive quests, weak progression, and too minimal content. Developer Rare, however, pushed through and continued to add content and improve the game, and it would finally start to have its moment in 2019.

In January, following the release of the Shrouded Spoils update, Sea of Thieves became one of the most-watched games on Twitch. Popular streamer Summit1g would take a break from Fortnite to play Sea of Thieves, and not only did he become the game’s most-watched streamer, but his success got streamers like Ninja and TimTheTatman on board. The game has continued to get plenty of viewers over time, and Rare’s regular updates have turned it into an exciting seafaring adventure.


minecraft steve bee
Image Source: Xbox Game Studios

Not to say Minecraft has ever “lost” popularity, but its success in the streaming world has helped it maintain massive cultural relevance. The game’s player base notably saw a 25% jump in April 2020, thanks in no small part to its impressive performance in the streaming landscape. In fact, the game’s remained such a popular game on live streams that it won Stream Game of the Year at the inaugural Streamer Awards in 2022.

The biggest contributor to this has been streamer Dream, whose SMP (survival multiplayer) server helped re-increase the game’s popularity exponentially. Dream would later be joined by about 30 of the game’s other most popular streamers, including tommyinnit and Captain Puffy. Thanks to these servers and their ensuing content emphasizing storylines and similar scripted scenarios, audiences have continued to be captivated by Minecraft even after 12 years.

Goose Goose Duck

goose goose duck keyart
Image Source:

One of the more recent examples on this list, Goose Goose Duck has grown exponentially thanks in no small part to a popular musician. On the surface, the game appears to be little more than an Among Us clone where crewmates and imposters are replaced by geese looking for other birds. That said, all it takes is one massively popular celebrity or influencer to turn your social deduction game into a hit.

The increased popularity of Goose Goose Duck came thanks to Kim Tae-hyung (also known as V) from the famed K-Pop boy band BTS. He began streaming it in November, a month after it had roughly 6,000 concurrent players, and by the next month, it peaked at over 800,000 players. It got so overwhelming that developer suffered server outages as a result of the influx of players. Needless to say, it’s a show of how a passionate fanbase can turn anything into a viral sensation.

Grand Theft Auto V

gta v playable characters
Image Source: Rockstar Games

Grand Theft Auto V is another game that never seemed to be “not popular”, especially given the incredible amount of copies it’s sold, but it regularly gets an extra boost thanks to streamers showcasing the wide variety of things you can do in the game. It regularly hangs in the top five most-viewed games on Twitch (often even reaching the top spot), especially with the recent “roleplay” trend that players can engage in using Grand Theft Auto Online.

These “roleplay” servers allow players to mod the game to do activities that would usually be given to NPCs (non-playable characters). This means that while some players can go wild, some can engage in something as simple as becoming a humble shopkeeper. These servers showcase just how creative GTA fans can get with their characters, and that level of freedom has even led popular streamers like Pokimane, Valkyrie and Sykkuno to jump on board.


rust gameplay
Image Source: Facepunch Studios

Though it released in 2018 (after having been in Early Access since 2013), Rust saw a massive burst in popularity in 2021 thanks to streamers. In January, the game reached a million concurrent viewers on the platform, topping the website’s viewer charts for the first time. Not bad for a game that initially received a lot of mixed reviews for its unfinished and grind-heavy nature.

One of the big keys to this massive growth was a pair of private servers hosted by massive online creators. Offline TV, a group including streamers like Pokimane and Disgusted Toast, began hosting a private server with other top streamers like xQc that increased the game’s prominence. EGOLAND, another private server hosted by prominent Spanish streamers like Auronplay and TheGrefg, helped the game so much that the developers even included skins based on EGOLAND and Offline TV’s players. Quite a journey for a game that, for the better part of its decade-long life, was just trying to get by.

Escape From Tarkov

escape from tarkov gameplay
Image Source: Battlestate Games

We’ve got an interesting little nugget here; a popular streaming game that’s still not even officially “released.” Escape From Tarkov, a tactical FPS game exclusively on PC, was released in a closed beta state in 2017, and it still has not received a full release since. There’s still no sign of a full release date yet, which makes this feel like the longest beta of all time. With how successful it’s been on the streaming front, though, you’d be forgiven if you didn’t know it was still in a beta state.

Escape From Tarkov saw a massive jump in popularity in 2020 thanks to a promotion where players could earn in-game loot for watching streams of the game. From there, names like DrDisRespect and DrLupo jumped online and helped it further explode. At one point, it even became the top-viewed game on Twitch, and while some of its popularity has cooled a bit, it seems to still get its fair share of players. Maybe it would get more if it ever got a full release…

Chess gameplay
Image Source: Everyman Chess

Yes, Chess. It may be skirting the lines to call this a “video game,” but while the online variant of this 15th-century board game has existed since the 1970s, Chess took over the Twitch ladder during the COVID pandemic thanks in no small part to the Netflix miniseries The Queen’s Gambit.

Chess app downloads increased by 63% following the release of The Queen’s Gambit, while Chess grandmasters like Daniel Naroditsky and Hikaru Nakamura (also known as GMHikaru) boosted the game’s popularity as well. GMHikaru and fellow grandmaster Qiyu Zhou would also sign to Team SoloMid and Counter Logic Gaming, respectively, signaling Chess’s introduction as an eSport.

What’s more, teamed up with streamers to create the PogChamps event, where popular streamers like moistcr1tikal, Ludwig, and QTCinderella competed in Chess tournaments. It even became the most-viewed event on Twitch at one point. It’s one of those instances where the old saying actually came true: sometimes, you really can’t beat the classics.

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Matt Anderson
Matt has been a freelance writer at Twinfinite for a year, and he's been in the games media industry for three years. He typically covers topics related to console news and industry trends for the site, and he has a major interest in first-party console games. Matt also has a Bachelor’s in Screenwriting from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, is an avid content creator on YouTube and TikTok, and legend has it he once asked Super Smash Bros. Melee to be his Prom date.