How does Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto V, a game that came out at the beginning of the last console generation, still manage to garner so many eyeballs? It’s become as ubiquitous as Bethesda Softworks’ Skyrim, with Stream Element’s end of the year Twitch review reporting that viewers watched 2.1 billion hours of gameplay. That’s wild, despite the newly-released content.
The only thing that’s been viewed more than GTA V on the streaming platform falls in the casual Just Chatting category, where folks watched 3.1 billion hours of people shooting the shit. Right after GTA V is League of Legends with 1.8 billion hours watched, followed by people watching one billion hours of Fortnite. The full list can be seen in the image below.
What makes this statistic about GTA V’s longevity so wild are the specifics: it came out in September 2013 for the last console generation (PS4 and Xbox One) and was around for the generation before that (PS3 and Xbox 360). This game has legs! You can tell by how often Rockstar updates the game’s Online mode, which just got a new batch of story missions and an expansion to its radio stations. Some updates, like Tuners, emphasize coming together with other players for things like car meets. More than GTA Online, though, what’s really keeping the game running on the livestreaming platform in particular is its thriving role-playing community. There are dedicated servers like the exclusive NoPixel one where popular streamers like xQc, live out their fantasies as a cop or doctor or other random characters. The latest server update this year introduced Cyberpunk 2077’s Johnny Silverhand.
Yeah, GTA V is hella old, but it’s understandable why so many tune in to watch it. While Twitch doesn’t delineate between GTA V and GTA Online, it’s evident from viewing the category that people are absolutely enamored with the online portion. There’s so much emergent gameplay in GTA Online that no one mission will play out the same way between people. Though the story mode is linear in how events unfold, the spontaneity of the game’s design is probably what brings people back to GTA V and Online.
Despite being heavily watched on Twitch, Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto series has also seen some bumps in the road this year. There were some positives, such as The Contract story content, but GTA The Trilogy: Definitive Edition was a botched release, PS5 and Xbox Series X/S ports were delayed, and there’s still no word on GTA 6.
At least Lamar is still out here roasting Franklin in GTA Online. That’s good.