Whether you’re interested in watching or streaming video games, you’ve probably heard of Twitch. As one of the most widely used, international streaming platforms, its robust user base of gamers offers something from everyone. To help you navigate between all of the content, here’s our take on the top games to stream or view right now and how to discover new categories:
As we move into 2021, there are six key games to keep on your radar that consistently attract large audiences:
- Minecraft: A “build-your-own-universe” game with unlimited crafting, planning and strategy options for users.
- Among Us: A murder-mystery game played between groups of four to ten people where users complete tasks and observe each other to distinguish crewmates from imposters.
- Fortnite: The most popular global battle royale game, Fortnite is constantly updating their interface with hidden easter eggs, cultural references and exciting new weapons.
- Cyberpunk: With the recent release of Cyberpunk 2077, this action-packed game boasts an open-world, action-adventure story set in megapolis city.
- Warzone: One of the most popular ones over the past decade, Call of Duty gave users a new series of missions and storylines from the Cold War Era.
- Valorant: Users compete in 5v5 missions combining tactical skills and unique characters in Competitive, Unranked, Deathmatch and Spike Rush modes.
Understanding Categories + Subcategories
If you’re looking to discover something new beyond the aforementioned popular titles, or want to see similar streams of the games you already play, you’ll want to become familiar with the Twitch Directory. This landing page houses a variety of streams, broken down by category and subcategory, for you to click on. While we’re going to focus on the top eight categories, note that there are also podcasts, music and esports streams available as well.
For those that are interested in streaming, it’s important to determine your primary category in the gaming space, and any relevant sub-categories. While some streamers find success by creating variety in their stream content, most operate under one game type. We’re going to review the primary eight categories from Twitch and what types you can expect in each space, noting that some games will appear more than once.
1. MOBA & Strategy
A popular gaming style, Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) offers participants the opportunity to compete in teams as specific characters with unique abilities or characteristics that contribute to the overall strategy of the game. They typically require some level of education at the beginning to understand how specific decisions in each game—like the character you select or powers you hold—affect other members of your team or your competitors.
Sample games in this genre can include Among Us, Overwatch, Dead by Daylight, Prominence Poker, SMITE and League of Legends.
2. Action & Adventure
This category is home to a variety of game types, with a large emphasis on esports tournaments and competitions. As you browse through this content, you’ll find anything from Rocket League, a soccer-based game with customizable cars, to Brawlhalla, a free-platform combat game.
As esports now compete with more traditional sports for viewership, Hans Latta, author at Digital Initiative, posed the question: “Will the Superbowl of the future be played on a virtual battlefield? Nobody knows for sure, but there’s a good chance you’ll see it play out on Twitch in years to come.”
Sample games in this genre can include: League of Legends, Brawlhalla, Minecraft, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Rocket League, Chess Opens and General Esports Tournaments.
Arguably one of the most popular categories, the “shooter” category includes games that are both first-person and third-person shooter. Those in this space will often follow a battle royale or 5v5 format but can vary based on the individual mode selected during play.
Sample games in this genre can include Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, Fortnite, Escape from Tarkov and Valorant.
4. Role Playing
For the storytellers and creative-brained players, role play games are a perfect way to flex imagination muscles and develop your own stories in a “choose your own adventure” environment. RPG are popular in both the offline and online space, and often can be found replicated for either environment.
Sample games in this genre can include Cyberpunk 2077, World of Warcraft, Minecraft, Pokémon Sword/Shield, Destiny 2, Rust and Escape From Tarkov.
5. Racing & Sports
Racing and sports games are a competitive space for those who either like to go fast or play fast. Whether you’re stepping on the gas pedal to the finish line or competing in the NBA playoffs with your team, they mimic the real-life tournaments we know and love (often with extra features that don’t exist IRL).
Sample games in this genre can include Grand Theft Auto V, NBA2K, NFL Madden, Rocket League, Mario Kart 8, Euro Truck Simulator 2, Marbles On Stream and Forza Horizon 4.
6. Cards & Board Games
Many of the games from family game nights or tournaments with friends live in a virtual space. Popular card sharks and strategists alike have brought their games to Twitch to share with viewers. Lee Jones, professional poker coach and author, on his experience broadcasting poker on Twitch: “Define your success as making the first stream. As getting 10, or 50 viewers. As having one person contact you and say, “Man, that was cool – thank you.”
Sample games in this genre can include Jackbox Party Packs, Teamfight Tactics, Heatherstone, Magic: The Gathering and Poker.
If you love scary movies, why not play a few games to see how you’d survive in them? Horror category games are exciting, thrilling and often have a good jump-scare thrown in to keep you on your toes.
Sample games in this genre can include Dead by Daylight, Demon’s Souls, Metro Exodus, Outlast, Phasmophobia, Hunt: Showdown, Diablo III and Dark Souls.
With something for everyone, the fighting category—much like shooter or adventure—has a variety of games to select from with various forms of individual or group combat play. Whether you’re an OG who loves Street Fighter and Smash Brothers or want to try something new like Ninjala, you’re bound to find something to watch or play.
Sample games in this genre can include Super Smash Bros. Melee, Pokémon GO, Ninjala, M.U.G.E.N., Brawlhalla, Mortal Kombat 11, Dragon Ball FighterZ and Cuphead.