In brief: There were plenty of surprises at the recent Game Awards, but one of the most unexpected is that the show has doubled its audience since 2017. 26.2 million viewers tuned in via global livestreams last week, up 128 percent compared to the 11.5 million that watched it twelve months ago.

The show was held in front of a live crowd at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles on December 6. It was streamed on more than 40 platforms, including Twitch, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Xbox Live, and Mixer. It was also available on local platforms in countries including China, Russia, Germany, Japan, and Brazil.

More than 300 Twitch creators streamed the event, a 140 percent increase over last year, and at one point it had over 1.13 million concurrent viewers on the platform. The Game Awards also became Twitter’s number one worldwide trend for the fourth year in a row.

Peak concurrent viewership for the show is estimated to have surpassed 4 million people, which includes double the number of concurrent YouTube viewers compared to last year.

“Five years in, it’s amazing to see The Game Awards continue to grow both domestically and internationally,” said executive producer and host Geoff Keighley, in a statement. “These results further validate our focus on an all-digital, no-friction approach of sharing this show globally across more than 45 video platforms, not to mention the growing interest and passion for video games around the world.”

The show is growing every year, as you can see from these livestream figures:

  • 2018: 26.2 Million (Up 128%)
  • 2017: 11.5 Million (Up 202%)
  • 2016: 3.8 Million (Up 65%)
  • 2015: 2.3 Million (Up 23%)
  • 2014: 1.9 Million

Despite the game industry’s approximate $140 billion valuation, it often struggles to be taken seriously, with much of the mainstreaming press coverage focusing on negative issues such as Fortnite addiction and unproven links between gaming and mass shootings. But with viewing figures set to surpass those of the Oscars and appearance by guests such as Jonah Hill and Christoph Waltz, the Game Awards is helping legitimize our favorite medium.