Gaming doesn’t have to be a lonely activity or one that’s just you against the machine. Thanks to advancements in streaming, there are a bunch of games and consoles that allow you to join multiplayer rounds, even across platforms. In fact, one of the biggest moments for gamers was the announcement that users on PlayStation and Xbox could play each other online, breaking down the walls that kept gamers apart.
Other options make it possible for the gaming community to come together. Gamers have made a video streaming platform called Twitch the go-to place where they can watch peers play their favorite games live and interact with their favorite players.
What Is Twitch?
Twitch was founded in 2011 as justin.tv. In 2014, it rebranded as Twitch Interactive and Amazon purchased the company soon after the rebrand. To get an idea of how popular the streaming service is among gamers, League of Legends is the most-watched game on Twitch. Its streams received 129 million watch hours in April 2022 alone.
Although gaming is the main activity on the live-stream platform, you can also learn how to cook a new recipe, watch a concert — now that the pandemic has stopped live shows — or do a test run on a video game before buying it by watching someone else play it live. There are over 140 million monthly active users on the platform in 2022 and a few of the earliest adopters are making serious cash. Here’s how.
How Much Do Twitch Streamers Make?
Twitch Streamers with a decent viewer following can make money in a few ways. In fact, according to Influencer Marketing Hub, some of the top Twitch streamers could be grossing more than $20 million altogether. Here are some of the ways Twitch streamers make their income:
Twitch Streamer Income Sources:
- Ads: Twitch sells $231.8 million annually in advertising. You can earn about $250 per month in ads for every 100 followers.
- Subscriptions: If you qualify for the Twitch affiliate program with a minimum of 50 followers and 8 total streaming hours over seven days, you can split the subscription income from your followers 50/50 with Twitch. There are currently three monthly subscription tiers: $4.99, $9.99, and $24.99. Affiliate streamers playing 40 hours per week can make $3,000 to $5,000 per month.
- Bits: Once you’re an affiliate, your followers can tip you with virtual “Bits.” They currently convert into roughly one cent per Bit. It doesn’t sound like much, but fans spent $2 million on Bits in the first few months they were introduced.
- Sponsorships: Promoting products or companies can bring you extra money. Ninja, the top-earning Twitch streamer makes an average sponsorship of $600,000.
- Merchandise: Streamers can create, promote and sell merch once they start becoming “Twitch-famous,” adding another income stream to the ways to make money on Twitch.
- Cross-platform promotion: Getting your audience to follow you on other social media platforms such as YouTube and Instagram is a good way to earn more as an influencer or brand ambassador on other social media channels.
The Highest-Earning Twitch Streamers
To get an idea of the income synergy an expert streamer can create on Twitch, take a look at some of the most popular Twitch streamers.
Richard Tyler Blevins is the guy behind the Ninja channel. He’s the first to gain 10 million followers on Twitch, largely due to his Fortnite streams when the game was at its peak. Ninja currently has 17 million followers. He’s sponsored by Red Bull and sells his own line of merchandise.
Canadian Michael Grzesiek is the player behind Shroud. He focuses on battle arena games and has 10 million followers. Head over to Shroud’s “About” section on his channel and you’ll find him promoting Postmates, Nitrado Game Servers and Logitech.
Pokimane is one of the few female Twitch streamers with a huge following. Her real name is Imane Any and she’s a Moroccan-born Twitcher raised in Canada. She has 9.2 million followers who tune in to watch her play Fortnite, League and more. Pokimane is the second-most-watched VALORANT channel. In addition to streaming six hours on average per day for her subscribers, you’ll find her promoting Cash App, Pokimerch and Nzxtbld.
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Timothy John Bater’s TimTheTatMan channel is for mature audiences only. His no-holds-barred broadcasts playing World of Warcraft, Call of Duty: Warzone, Overwatch and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive have a big following. His #tatmanarmy consists of 7 million followers, who are exposed to his ads from Razer, UltraGear and NzxtBld.
Ben Lupo is the broadcaster behind DrLupo and has 4.5 million followers. He rose in popularity playing Fortnite with Ninja. Besides making almost $2 million in revenue, DrLupo often fundraises for charitable causes by broadcasting charity streams. In a stream for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, a fellow gamer delivered a $1 million check to his house, leaving DrLupo in tears.
How To Get Started Making Money on Twitch
If you love interacting with an audience and feel like you have something to bring to the table, becoming a Twitch streamer may be a natural fit. Whether you choose to play video games for a living or start your own cooking channel, there are tons of opportunities on the platform to grow a following and make some money.
To make money on Twitch, you need viewers. As with other social media platforms, building a following takes time and consistency. You’ll need to commit to broadcasting videos, even if it’s for a small audience consisting mostly of family members at first. Stick with it, create quality content, interact with other Twitchers in different channels, cross-promote on social media and hopefully your audience — and cash in the bank — will grow.
Cameron Cole contributed to the reporting for this article.