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Twitch

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.

nickmercs

NICKMERCS

@NICKMERCS

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
Twitch Streamers

shroud

@shroud

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
xQcOW twitch

xQcOW

@xqcow

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
auronplay twitch

auronplay

@auronplay

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
TimTheTatMan twitch

TimTheTatMan

@TimTheTatMan

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
NICKMERCS 4.3M 53,851 $138,126.33 53,056 2.78M $385,444.23
shroud 8.3M 22,158 $125,748.00 46,132 6.53M $378,908.20
xQcOW 3.4M 43,354 $102,858.39 42,600 976K $376,497.79
auronplay 4.3M 15,668 $38,989.35 102,753 24.01M $358,817.45
TimTheTatMan 5.5M 44,688 $123,333.75 51,696 2.4M $349,351.85
GamesDoneQuick 1.8M 26,209 $84,504.79 42,837 849K $248,708.39
THEREALKNOSSI 1.3M 26,798 $68,869.21 26,384 1.09M $240,105.41
LUDWIG 885K 24,501 $62,103.22 12,121 568K $231,271.62
CLIX 2.7M 17,088 $65,395.80 28,461 1.17M $223,988.40
TFUE 9.6M 13,843 $48,696.96 18,591 12M $220,555.56
Rotate screen if using a mobile device to view full table.
Twitch Streamers

Monetization methods/revenue streams

If you’re suddenly thinking about embarking on a new career path, we can’t really blame you. To start with though, you need to know all about how streamers actually grow their revenue streams to start making more money than a room full of doctors and lawyers.

Building a streaming channel or ‘making it’ can be a slow and very difficult process or a fast-tracked and blessed slippery slope to fortune. It all depends on how streamers manage their channels, which games they choose to play (and how good they are at them) and how naturally they’re able to communicate with their growing online community.

No matter if someone’s a natural born streamer or less charismatically gifted, the first focus should be on becoming a Twitch Affiliate, which allows them to actually start earning cash.

This is Twitch’s partnership program and basically forms part of an agreement wherein streamers can take a percentage of their viewers’ subscriptions as well as cash from donations and Ad revenue.

To learn how streamers can make it to the affiliate, keep reading – but in the meantime let’s look into all the potential revenue streams there are for successful Twitch channels.

Paid Subscriptions

Paid Subscriptions

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.

Bits

Bits

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

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.

Donations

Donations

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.

Affiliate Links

Affiliate Links

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.

Selling Merchandise

Selling Merchandise

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.

Sponsorships

Sponsorships

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

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

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.

twitch affiliate

To Qualify As An Affiliate, You Need:

If you want to start getting something back from all your hard work as a streamer, you first need to reach the Affiliate level. Looking at the low numbers required to get there below, it may seem like an easy prospect but new accounts struggle more to get the first 50 subscribers than the top streamers do to get 10,000.

To qualify as an Affiliate, the following requirements need to be met:

  • Your account has 50 followers,
  • You’ve broadcasted over 500 total minutes broadcast in the last 30 days,
  • You’ve broadcasted 7 separate streams over the last 30 days,
  • You have an average of at least 3+ viewers over the last 30 days.
How Do You Get To Partner?

How Do You Get To Partner?

Okay, you’ve made it affiliate, you’ve started to receive some return on your investment on the expensive tech, time and energy you’ve put into the Twitch game. Things are looking up, but what’s next?

Well, if you want an account that earns more per subscriber, bits and advertising revenue and also gives more value to your subscribers than you’ll want to aim to become a Twitch partner.

How do you do that though? Reaching the next level beyond Affiliate is less about gaining new followers and more about how long you stream for and how popular, on average, those streams are.

How do you get to Partner? You have to:

  • Stream for 25 hours in the last 30 days
  • Stream for 12 unique days in the last 30 days
  • Reach 75 average viewers in the last 30 days

As we discuss how Twitch streamers make money and the different methods, it’s important to remember that not everyone will be making the eye-popping figures you see below. That said, there is money there and if you can build up a following, you can earn a pretty solid living. Check out the differences between regular streamers, Affiliates and Partners on Twitch below.

Feature All Streamers Twitch Affiliate Twitch Partner
monetization tool
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
video tools
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
Rotate screen if using a mobile device to view full table.
twitch growth

Twitch Growth - The Future Of Twitch

2020
715 BILLION minutes watched this year
57,8%
6.2 MILLION monthly streamers
71%
1,995,00 average current viwers
59%
83,100 average concurrent live channels
68%
45,365 partners
28%
2019
660 BILLION minutes watched
18%
3.64 MILLION monthly streamers
7%
1,256,00 average current viwers
17.5%
49,500 average concurrent live channels
20%
35,580 partners
32%
2018
560 BILLION minutes watched this year
58%
3.4 MILLION unique broadcasters every month in average
70%
1,070,00 average current viwers over 2018
43%
41,111 average concurrent live channels
67%
2017
355 BILLION minutes watched this year
21.5%
6.2 MILLION monthly broadcasters
18%
124 MILLION total clips, that have been viewed over 1.7 BILLION times
15+ MILLION unique daily visitors
68%

What’s obvious from the table above is that the future of Twitch and streaming in general is insanely bright and prosperous. With more and more entertainment online being user-generated-content and there being more and more financial incentive behind it, there’s no telling how this medium will grow in the next 5 years. What is certain is that those that find themselves towards the top of the popularity ladder on this platform will quickly rake in unbelievable amounts of cash – earning more in a month than most people on the planet make in 10 years.

For the rest of us earning a normal salary, and resisting the urge to scream or punch something in frustration right now, at least we can now enjoy unlimited amounts of entertaining online content whenever we want, on whatever devices we want (within reason!), because that’s the beauty of Twitch and Youtube. They’re so accessible, easy to use and also filled with nefarious learning algorithms that know exactly what it is you might want to watch.

Methodology

  • 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 Sponsorshipsestimated 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 
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