2015 was a great year for Twitch streamers. Although the advent of YouTube Gaming threatened to steal the spotlight, Twitch has stayed strong and broken records throughout the year. In addition to celebrating its fourth birthday this year, the site has officially reached over 1.5 million broadcasters, streaming content for more than 100 million viewers.
As 2015 comes to an end, we're taking a look back at the year's biggest streamers, plus a few up-and-comers who have really started to make a name for themselves the last 12 months. Developer channels (like RiotGame) won't be included on this list, and neither will official league or team channels like ESL or MLG.
Now, let's count down this year's top streamers. First we'll list the top general streamers, then we'll highlight the biggest streamers for a few of 2015's most popular games.
GoldGlove (aka Brennon O'Neill, or Goldy for short) has been steadily rising on Twitch all year. He streams a wide variety of games, but recently most of his streams have featured Fallout 4, Rocket League, DayZ, and CS:GO.
Goldy sometimes streams with a group of friends, lovingly referred to as the Dapper Crew. Beloved for his sense of humor and fun personality, he's been steadily earning around 12,000 new followers every month.
My grandpa just texted me to ask "No stream tonight?" and he sent it as a mass text to the entire rest of the family. LOL dead— Goldy (@GoldGloveTV) December 20, 2015
Sodapoppin, known as Chance Morris in real life, has been streaming for more than 4 years. He started on Xfire before joining the Twitch community. He spends most of his time playing World of Warcraft, but you'll also find games like Blade and Soul, Dark Souls, and H1Z1 on his channel as well.
He also likes to gamble, and plays a fair amount of online blackjack while his followers watch. Earlier this year, nearly 40,000 of his fans saw him lose $5,000 in the last hand of a blackjack game. Relive the horror below:
Though the loss was understandably heartbreaking, Sodapoppin is doing just fine. He's pulling in about 24,000 new followers every month, so we're sure he's already broken even.
Summit1g, known in real life as Jaryd Lazar, started out as a WarZ player, and later became a compeitive CS:GO player. Now he's devoted his efforts to streaming instead. CS:GO is the main focus of his channel, but he also spends a good chunk of time streaming games like Grand Theft Auto V and H1Z1.
Summit's channel got a huge boost around October of this year, and he earned an astounding 88,000 followers per month around that time. Things have slowed down a little since then, but he's still averaged about 44,000 new followers in each month since.
I had no idea GTA had such a big racing community. Didn't think it got that serious. SUPER SICK.— summit1g (@summit1g) December 20, 2015
LIRIK started out as a regular on Towelliee's channel (you'll see him later in this list). He started streaming on his own, and earned his fame primarily by being one of the top DayZ streamers when the alpha build of the standalone game came out in 2013. His streams for The Last of Us also attracted lots of viewers. In the last year, his channel has mostly consisted of videos for ArmA III, H1Z1, and DayZ.
He's a member of the Hammer Squad, a group created by Towelliee that brings together several of his favorite streamers -- including personalities like LIRIK and Sodapoppin.
LIRIK's fans have praised his hilarious antics and his steady hand for stunts. He's one of only a few Twitch streamers who don't use a webcam, but that doesn't stop him from accumulating about 20,000 new followers each month. If you want to get a better look at him, you can find him on Twitter @LIRIK or peek at his Facebook page.
Syndicate, aka Tom Cassell, is the number one streamer on Twitch right now. Back in 2014, he broke a Twitch record by becoming the first person to reach 1 million followers. And his reign continued into 2015. He's incredibly popular on YouTube as well, with over 9 million followers under his belt. He rose to popularity with his Call of Duty: Black Ops zombie mode videos. In the last year, his channel has primarily featured streams for Minecraft, Call of Duty Black Ops III, and CS:GO.
Syndicate's popularity isn't showing any signs of slowing down. The release of Black Ops III and Fallout 4 in November of this year caused his channel to skyrocket all over again, and he gained a whopping 230,000 followers that month. Now that the hype has settled a little, that number has leveled out to about 22,000.
Twitch streaming isn't a boy's club anymore. There are lots of fantastic female personalities on the scene, but Kittyplaysgames is by far the leading lady for 2015. Kitty (whose real name is Kristen), stopped being a full-time student and moved back into her mother's house to pursue streaming full-time. So far, it's worked out well for her -- she became a Twitch partner soon after devoting all her resources to streaming.
Kitty's channel is mostly CS:GO streams, but she does occasionally dabble in games like Black Ops III, World of Warcraft, League of Legends, and even niche games like Agar.io. She sometimes plays games in full cosplay attire. She's already the most prominent lady streamer, but Kitty is still rising in popularity, averaging about 13,000 new followers per month.
2 years ago I was looking for friends on the internet, now I live my dream every single day. Thank you for making that possible. I LOVE YOU.— KittyPlays (@TheKittyPlays) December 18, 2015
Channel Views: 24,065,963
Kaceytron is another female powerhouse who is infamous for her expert trolling and her ability to shut down any misogynistic flak that's thrown her way. She's an avid League of Legends and CS:GO player. Follow her @Kaceytron on Twitter or visit her Facebook page.
Channel Views: 28,080,905
LegendaryLea devotes most of her channel to Hearthstone and CS:GO streams. She also streams a fair amount of H1Z1, and competed in the H1Z1 Invitational at Twitchcon 2015. She's an outspoken and highly interactive streamer, who just so happens to have studied physiology and neuroscience. You can find her on Twitter @LegendaryLeaTV.
League of Legends is incredibly popular on Twitch, and there are dozens of very popular League streamers. But Nightblue3 (aka Rabia Yazbek) is the top dog right now. He's a jungler main who used to be a substitute for Team SoloMid. His League streams are extremely informative, which has greatly contributed to his popularity -- especially with newcomers to the game. He's currently averaging about 33,000 new followers every month.
Nightblue3 makes an effort to thoroughly answer questions that his viewers ask in chat, and his Challenger status means he's got serious skills. His focus on education leaves a little less room for humor, but he ups the entertainment factor when he chooses to play around with crazy picks and builds in the jungle.
STREAM IS LIVE WITH NEW POPPY JUNGLE, time to get those YouTube clips 😂— Nightblue3 | Rabia (@Nightbloo) November 25, 2015
Channel Views: 67,755,682
This channel belongs to the current Mid Laner for Team SoloMid, Soren "Bjergsen" Bjerg. He is currently Riot's youngest featured streamer. You can keep up with him on Twitter @Bjergsen or visit his Facebook page.
Channel Views: 113,323,426
Michael "Imaqtpie" Santana used to be a professional player and the AD Carry for Dignitas. He took a break from the pro league to stream full time. Follow him on Twitter @Imaqtpielol or check out his Facebook page.
Before he was a streamer, Dendi (aka Daniil Ishutin) was a professional Dota 2 player and a member of NautusVincere. He rose through the competitive ranks to become one of the best solo mid players in the world. His incredible gameplay with Pudge heavily contributed to his Twitch fame.
Dendi's high level of skill has made him soar above most other Dota 2 streamers. He's currently averaging about 10,000 new followers every month.
You can find Dendi on Twitter @DendiBoss to keep up with him when he's off the air.
Mike "Shroud" Gresiek is a member of the Cloud9 CS:GO team. He's played the game since it launched back in 2012. He's notorious for his lurking/clutching abilities and his deadly weapon accuracy.
Shroud is a top-level player who constantly impresses his fans with his skills. Though there are other CS:GO streamers who have more followers and views, Shroud is quickly becoming the fan favorite. His channel is growing faster than any other CS:GO-focused channel, accumulating more than 51,000 players every month. In the last 12 months, he's doubled his follower count and is coming dangerously close to overtaking some of the most prominent Counter-Strike streamers around.
Channel Views: 14,046,198
Jaroslaw "Pasha" Jarzabkowski is a pro CS:GO player, currently playing for Vitrus.pro. He's been a long-time favorite streamer among Counter-Strike fans, and is still grabbing a healthy 34,000 new followers monthly. Find him on Twitter @PaszaBiceps or drop by his Facebook page.
CaptainSparklez, aka Jordan Maron, is a wildly popular YouTube personality who also runs the third most followed channel on Twitch. On his channel, he streams Minecraft videos almost exclusively. He's been on Twitch since it evolved from justin.tv, and he's been living off his game broadcasts since 2011.
He's been streaming less in recent months as he pursues other things, like making his own game (see below), but that hasn't stopped his follower count from growing at a steady 13,000 per month.
Ladies and gents, Fortress Fury is now available to download worldwide on the App Store and Play Store! Get it - http://t.co/vB0T0awEoW— Jordan Maron (@CaptainSparklez) May 14, 2015
Towelliee (Roberto Garcia) is a long-time World of Warcraft player. He's been tanking in WoW and various other MMOs for the better part of 11 years. Towelliee takes a lot of pride in his gaming career, and he makes it obvious in his streams. It's easy to see that he loves what he does. Towelliee makes a serious effort to interact with his fans in chat, and he doesn't hesitate to shut down trolls with a quick swing of the banhammer. On Sundays, his subscribers get to decide which game he streams.
Towelliee's mature, yet approachable humor has made him one of the most beloved WoW streamers around. Each month, he's averaging about 8,000 new followers.
Channel Views: 33,387,304
John "Swifty" Pyle is an avid World of Warcraft streamer. He's currently sponsored by Razer, and hosts several product giveaways during his stream. You can find him on Twitter @SwiftyIRL.
Swiftor (real name Joseph Alminawi) has been streaming since 2008. He primarily streams Advanced Warfare and Black Ops II/III, but he does occasionally focus on other games, like Grand Theft Auto V or Rainbow Six Siege. Swiftor heavily contributed to the foundation of the GameOn Network, a group of over 30 interactive broadcasters who stream on a daily basis.
His channel has been on a steady rise since last year, but he reached his peak this year, earning about 36,000 new followers in his best months. And the trend hasn't slowed down much -- his average monthly gain still sits at just over 25,000 followers.
Channel Views: 5,726,743
Montana is a German streamer whose channel garnered a lot of attention after the release of Black Ops III earlier this year -- he nabbed over 50,000 new followers in the first month post-launch. he's still growing strong at around 15,000 new followers monthly. You can find him on Twitter @Montanablack.
Lassiz, aka Drew Boyd, has been playing competitive SMITE longer than nearly any other player on the scene. He's a core member of Team Eager. He was originally a Mid Laner, then transitioned into the Jungler role for nearly two years before returning to his usual mid position.
His streams tend to be informative without sacrificing too much entertainment value. He's quite nice to his viewers, as well. Earlier this year, he was involved in a Twitter spat with our Honorable Mention for this category, dmbrandon. Professionalism in the streaming world seemed to be the point of contention.
@eGrLassiz I don't support drama mongering in the chat. Didn't watch it, but people only ask to get a rise out of both of us.— Diem Solo (@juiceDiem) April 17, 2015
You can follow Lassiz on Twitter @Lassiz4.
Dmbrandon is a professional SMITE commentator who you've probably seen if you watch any of SmitePro's competitive broadcasts. He's a rather polarizing streamer -- most people agree that you either love him or hate him. Regardless, he's been earning a steady 3,000 new followers per month, and is praised for having an informative stream. He's also on Twitter @juiceDiem.
Octavian "nl_kripp" Morosan is a Canadian streamer and devoted Hearthstone player. His channel is among the top 10 most viewed channels on Twitch right now, and he's pulling in over 579,000 new views and 18,000 new followers each month.
Nl_kripp has a reputation for being extremely informative. If you're looking for pure entertainment value that will have you laughing the whole stream, this isn't the channel for you. But if you want a streamer who knows what he's doing and will explain it so you can learn from him and vastly improve your own skills, nl_kripp is your guy.
the 30 Legendary Paladin. Now ladder semi-viable! 10 wins in a row last night pic.twitter.com/Mm0jUMmABD— TSM Kripparrian (@Kripparrian) December 13, 2015
Channel Views: 45,540,390
Jason "AmazHS" Chan is an energetic streamer and highly skilled Hearthstone player. His channel is currently the fastest growing Hearthstone channel, earning about 23,000 new followers per month. Keep up with him on Twitter @ArchonAmazHS, or drop by his Facebook and YouTube pages.
Manuel "Grubby" Schenkhuizen has been a professional WarCraft III, StarCraft II, and Heroes of the Storm player since 2004. During his competitive career in WC3, he went undefeated for over a year and won a multitude of awards for his skill. His channel is primarily focused on HotS streams and guides, but he will also do the occasional WarCraft or StarCraft game as well.
Although he's a fun-loving guy and an entertaining streamer, he makes it a point to analyze and explain his gameplay choices so that players can learn while they watch. This has kept him growing steadily all year, and he's currently earning about 4,000 new followers monthly.
Merry Xmas everyone! And a very barking new year! :) @BlizzHeroes too! pic.twitter.com/3QU4LhkWBv— Grubby - Streaming (@followgrubby) December 24, 2015
Channel Views: 17,106,647
Pamcakes generated a lot of popularity this year for her Heroes of the Storm videos. She used to stream a lot of League of Legends, but decided in January of 2015 that she didn't enjoy it anymore, and moved on to HotS. Although her follower and view counts are higher than FollowGrubby's, she's our honorable mention because a good chunk of those numbers can be attributed to her League of Legends and CS:GO streams. Follow her @PamcakesPlays on Twitter or pop by her Facebook page.
That wraps up our list for the top Twitch streamers of 2015. Don't forget to check out our picks for the top YouTube gaming channels of this year, as well.
Do you agree with our list? Who would you add as one of 2015's biggest streamers? Let us know in the comments!