Lifestyles Of The Rich And Gamers
“You’ll never make money playing video games!”
Let’s be honest, for 99% of the video game generation, our parents were right. Despite the thousands of hours I’ve poured into video games, from playing Sonic 2 (1992) and wiping away the evil smirk off Dr Robotnik’s Face to blasting away noobs with my legendary bolt-action sniper in Call Of Duty: Warzone (2019), I haven’t earned one single penny.
In fact, with gaming companies now working overtime to fill their products with micro-transactions, add-ons and cosmetic purchases and with the average price of games rising with every console generation – losing/spending more of your hard-earned money on video games is now easier than ever before.
That is, of course, unless you’re a Twitch streamer who has built a large and active community of subscribers… because you wouldn’t just recover your losses, you’d potentially make more money than you ever dreamed of.
But how much money do these streamers actually make, where does the income come from and how many streamers are truly making the big bucks? Let’s find out.
Twitch Streamers Accelerate Their Way To Millionaire Status
Without further ado, just like Scrooge McDuck dives into a giant pit of gold, let’s dive into the earnings of a random selection of the top streamers out there and see how filthy rich they actually are.
estimated monthly earnings$385,444.23
Nick blasted off into the world of Fortnite and Call Of Duty streaming after becoming a MLG (Major League Gaming) Champion, but had already secured himself a large streaming community in the early 2010s by playing games such as Gears Of War and Halo. He is estimated to have earned $6 million in 2019 and was the 10th highest earning gamer that year.
- age 30
- Twitch Followers 4.3M
- Twitch Subscribers 53,851
- Youtube Subscribers 2.78M
estimated monthly earnings$378,908.20
Shroud, formerly mEclipse, also blasted to the top of the First Person Shooter streaming community after succeeding as a professional gamer. Known for his insanely good aiming ability and for playing games such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive, PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds and Apex Legends. As of September 2020, his Twitch channel had reached over 8.2 million followers, becoming the third most-followed channel on the platform.
- age 26
- Twitch Followers 8.3M
- Twitch Subscribers 22,158
- Youtube Subscribers 6.53M
estimated monthly earnings$376,497.79
xQcOW or just xQC for short, is a Canadian Overwatch streamer who rose to streaming prominence recently. The popular professional gamer, who has a few minor controversies to his name, moved fully into streaming following the slow down of professional gaming events in 2020 due to Covid-19. Fun fact - xQC has been banned by Twitch 3 times for showing sexual content on his stream. He was recently temporarily banned from the platform for an apparent misdemeanour during Twitch Rivals.
- age 25
- Twitch Followers 3.4M
- Twitch Subscribers 43,354
- Youtube Subscribers 976K
estimated monthly earnings$358,817.45
Raúl Álvarez Genes, better known by his online persona auronplay, is a Spanish YouTuber and Twitch streamer. The 32-year-old Spaniard is renowned for his satirical videos that usually provide commentary on current affairs and viral videos. With 5.8 million followers on Twitch, auronplay is one of the most popular content creators on the platform and started his multimedia output in 2006 on YouTube, initially as a hobby. When it comes to gaming, he has created popular videos around GTA V among other titles.
- age 32
- Twitch Followers 4.3M
- Twitch Subscribers 15,668
- Youtube Subscribers 24.01M
estimated monthly earnings$349,351.85
New York-based streamer TimTheTatMan is another one of the biggest gaming streamers on Twitch, but one who plays a more varied list of games including MMORPG World Of Warcraft as well as the current lovehearts of the gaming community Call Of Duty: Warzone and Fortnite. Tim is a certified Twitch partner and has been a full-time creator since March 27, 2014.
- age 30
- Twitch Followers 5.5M
- Twitch Subscribers 44,688
- Youtube Subscribers 2.4M
TABLE OF TOP STREAMERS
To see even more figures showing how popular and stinking-rich some of world’s top Twitch streamers. Check out our table below:
|Streamer||Twitch Followers||Twitch Subscribers||Current paid sub Tier 1 + tier 2 + tier 3||Average twitch viewers||Youtube Subscribers||Estimated monthly earning|
- Paid Subscriptions
- Advertising Revenue Share
- Affiliate Links
- Selling Merchandise
- Selling Games and In Game Items
- Uploading Videos to YouTube
This is the bread and butter of earning an income with a webcam and involves viewers who want to support your channel and choosing to pay a tiered subscription. Depending on the type or tier of subscription, and also whether you’re a Twitch Affiliate or Twitch Partner, these subscribers will receive various rewards.
Subscription Costs For Users
Twitch, as a business model, is all about the rich getting richer. Twitchers earn a minimum of 50% of subscription fees to start off with, but the bigger they get the more of the cake they’ll earn. Top tier partners get up to 70% of the subscription fees as well as more technical advantages and better advertising.
- Tier 1 – $4.99
- Tier 2 – $9.99
- Tier 3 – $24.99
- Prime Subs – $5(Amazon Prime users get a free subscription every month)
- Gifted Subs(Same ratio as T1 T2 T3, mostly T1)
So, which are the most popular types of subscription? It’s no surprise that the majority of subs are in the Tier 1 bracket, and that’s about 40%. Only 0.007% make up Tier 2 and Tier 3 combined and that again isn’t too surprising as the perks for getting into those areas aren’t fantastic, we’re talking more cosmetic upgrades, such as emotes that can be used in Twitch Chat…. Not exactly phenomenal rewards there.
Hoping for a little bit more money from creating a Twitch account? That’s where Bits come in.
Bits are a virtual currency that are spent by viewers and subscribers on the streaming platform to support channels, buy certain emotes that can be used on that channel’s Twitch Chat. Bits also allow viewers to chat in special Sub Only chat rooms.
Bits are activated whenever viewers ‘Cheer’ the streamer they’re watching, which, for all intents and purposes, is like tipping. They choose how many Bits to cheer with and this then corresponds to real money into the streamer’s account.
Twitch pays 1$ to channels for every 100 bits sent their way, which may not seem like a lot, but popular streamers can rake in ridiculous amounts of these tips during every single streaming session.
Advertising Revenue Share
When Twitch streamers reach the level of Affiliate or Partner, they can earn a share of the revenue generated from any video ads played on their channel.
Channels have quite a lot of independent control of these ads and can determine their length and frequency as well as where they feature on the streamers dashboard.
Unlike Youtube, where Ads actually delay or interrupt the content, Twitch ads are usually placed either in, on or around their streams to avoid disrupting them.
If viewers want to donate directly to their favourite streamers without paying a high percentage to Twitch, they can also send donations off-site – either through crowdsourcing sites like Patreon or via Paypal.
The usual way that streamers give this option is by including a PayPal donation button on their streams.
With the advent of social media and user-generated content with sites like Youtube and Twitch, the way companies advertise has almost totally switched gears.
Many companies, especially those that offer products directed towards teenagers to young adults, will sponsor Twitch channels and advertise through them.
The products and companies vary per streamer, and each advertisement will include an affiliate link; so that a percentage of purchases will be earned by the streamer.
Feeling like perusing a flea market, or car boot sale in the UK, but not feeling up to leaving the house?
Well then, peruse the large amount of merchandise available from your favourite streamers.
There’s no limit to what’s available to purchase on Twitch channels, as long as there’s room for a particular streamer’s logo – it can be sold.
The top streamers like Shroud and NICKMERCS make a big chunk of their money from game sponsorships. It is estimated that a streamer can earn anywhere from one cent to $1 per viewer per hour.
Streamers can also make money from other sponsored products and services.
If you notice a streamer playing on a weird mobile game, instead of their usual favourites – or taking a few minutes of every hour to chat about his new ‘awesome’ hair gel… chances are good he’s being paid to do it.
It doesn’t have to be as nefarious as that, however, as some streamers are completely up front about the deals they have and don’t try to hide it.
Selling Games and In Game Items
Affiliates can also earn revenue from the sale of games or in-game items on Twitch.
When streamers play any game on stream that is available for sale or has in-game items for sale on Twitch, a purchase offer appears on the channel page below the video window.
Affiliates earn a 5% revenue share of the purchases that originate from their channel pages.
Uploading Videos to YouTube
What many popular streamers do, once they’ve finished a long 6+ hour stream, is either go through the footage, or pay someone else to do it, and edit it down to between 5/20 minutes before uploading it to their channels on Youtube.
Youtube channels are easily monetised because ads are worth good money and your following on Twitch will be transferable to your Youtube subscribers.
This works both ways as well, of course. Many people find Twitch streamers to follow by coming across their content on Youtube.
The style of streamers’ Youtube content varies wildly, with some doing barely any editing while others turn their uploads into extremely well-produced videos that are basically on par with TV shows for production-value.
|Feature||All Streamers||Twitch Affiliate||Twitch Partner|
|Cheering with bits||No||Yes, no custom cheermotes or bits badges||Yes, no custom cheermotes or bits badges|
|Subscriptions||No||Yes, 1 sub emote||Yes, can unlock up to 50 sub emotes|
|Game sales||No||Yes||Yes, premium features coming soon|
|ADS||No||Coming soon||Yes, premium features coming soon|
|Transcode||As available||As available, with priority access||Full access to transcode|
|Vod stroage||14 days||14 days||60 days|
|Stream delay||No stream delay option||No stream delay option||Stream delay up to 15 minutes|
|Reruns and premieres: rebroadcast past content and show off new videos to your audience.||No||Yes||Yes|
- Paid and Gifted Subs – according to twitchtracker.com
Streamers get paid 50% of Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3, and Prime subs
- Twitch Cheers & Bits – according to twitchstats.net
- Twitch Sponsorships – estimated at $0.50 per viewer per hour
- Affiliate links & Merch on Twitch: estimated at $0.10 per sub
- Youtube CMP earnings for the month of August according to noxinfluencer.com calculator