Twitch has quickly become one of the most popular video game streaming sites on the internet.
With all of the new daily traffic it sees, it makes sense why some are capitalizing on this craze. But how do people get paid, and how much do top Twitch streamers earn?
Short answer; a lot!
Today we discuss how to launch a Twitch side hustle and how to make money on Twitch.
What is Twitch?
Twitch is a subsidiary of Amazon and serves as the leading video live streaming service. Mainly, the service is for streaming video games, whether live or broadcasting previously recorded games.
Individuals use Twitch to observe gameplay, learn techniques, and overall indulge their enthusiasm for the world of gaming.
Many users have found that that live streaming through Twitch and then uploading their pre-recorded broadcasts to YouTube serves as the best method to cultivate a following and therefore generate an income.
So, it seems that YouTube and Twitch come hand-in-hand in the world of gaming.
Here, we’ll walk you through all the basics of Twitch, and give you a third party insight into this unique realm of the online gaming universe.
Who Uses Twitch?
Twitch offers users the ability to use their platform both individually and as a team. For instance, with the popular game, Fortnite, it’s a necessity to be a member of a team or “squad” to compete.
Therefore some of the top users of Twitch come as packaged deals with their fellow team members. Here are a few examples of commonly known (and simultaneously high income generating) Twitch users.
The assertion that Ninja is the most popular game streamer in the world doesn’t come without pretty substantial evidence. Before Ninja left the Twitch platform in 2019, he had over 14 million followers.
His primary source of popularity steamed from the game Fortnite, but his capabilities span across several different games.
With a distinct personal style, Dr. Disrespect is one of the more well-known Twitch gamers. His signature mustache and mullet, coupled with his propensity to expel extremely masculine derived commentary, make him an example of why establishing a strong personality on the platform can serve users well.
Dr. Disrespect’s fame comes from his high-level abilities in the games Apex Legends, Call of Duty, and Player Unknowns Battleground.
Team Solo Mid
Team Solo Mid is an example of a group of individuals who gained popularity on Twitch through their team user streaming in the game Fortnite.
The captain of the team, Myth, generates 5.1 million followers alone.
How to Become Eligible to Monetize Twitch
Much like YouTube, there are levels involved to achieve monetization of your use. While the first tier is not difficult to achieve, individuals must progress to the second tier to successfully begin earning an income using the platform.
In similar articles, we’ve mentioned the combination of dedication, unique personality, and a bit of good old-fashioned luck as the lethal combination to achieve popularity through online platforms.
This recipe stands true with Twitch, and therefore it’s worth mentioning that it’s neither easy nor common to become a paid gamer.
Become an Affiliate
Becoming an affiliate involves three steps. Here, we’ve laid them out for anyone who has an interest in becoming a Twitch Affiliate.
Seven unique broadcasts
To become a Twitch affiliate, you must create seven unique broadcasts. This does not mean your broadcasts need to be diverse in the sense of the content you’re creating. Instead, the term “unique” means you need to broadcast on seven different occasions, throughout a period.
500 Broadcast Minutes Within 30 days
For some gamers, 500 minutes of broadcast time is nothing. Especially if this hobby is something you’re heavily invested in, then you can accomplish this without blinking an eye.
For others, the breakdown of 500 minutes over 30 days is roughly 17 minutes a day. You can break down those 500 minutes in any way you want.
So if you are more of a weekend hobbyist, then you can dedicate a few Saturdays and Sundays a month to play the game and accomplish 500 minutes of broadcast without issue.
Three Concurrent Viewers Over 30 days
This goal may be a little harder to achieve. Three concurrent viewers translate to 3 people who consistently watch your broadcasts for a significant portion of the 500 minutes you’re required to broadcast.
If you have a group of friends who you play with, this would be no problem to accomplish. However, if you’re more of an individual player, you may need time to accomplish achieving viewer loyalty at this level.
Become a Partner
The next step in monetizing Twitch is to become a partner. To reach partner status, you must first achieve Affiliate status. After you’ve accomplished the Affiliate feat, you must move on to these requirements to become a Partner and have the potential to earn money for your gaming.
Stream for at least 1,500 minutes in the last 30 days
While 500 minutes to become an Affiliate may seem like a mere blink in the gaming time you dedicate to your hobby daily, with the Partner status, you must game for a minimum of 1,500 minutes in the last 30 days.
That is triple the time required as an affiliate and is a little under an hour per day. If you only game on the weekends, and there are four weekends in 30 days, that would mean you would need to game for a minimum of 6 and a half hours per weekend to become a Partner.
Have an Average of 75 Viewers Within the Past 30 days
We mentioned that achieving three viewers may be difficult, so Twitch really ups the requirement when they establish the need for 75 viewers in 30 days.
This is where the dedication portion of your gaming comes in. It probably goes without saying, but you’ll likely need to game for several months, at high volume, to achieve this many viewers.
Stream for 12 Unique Days in the Last 30 Days
Much like the Partnership requirement, 12 unique days means that you’ll have to stream for 12 different days over 30 days.
So, remember when we said above that you might only be a weekend gamer?
That won’t work if you want to become a Twitch Partner. Last time we checked, there aren’t any months that offer six weekend days.
How Twitch Users Receive Compensation
Twitch users receive compensation in multiple ways. Some of them are more profitable than others. However, to achieve the most “bang for your buck,” trying to monetize each opportunity is essential. Who knows, your success in one area may exceed your progress in another!
Advertisements are easy, but not extremely high paid opportunities. Since each gamer is unique in their following, the price paid for an ad on your stream can vary. Also, it’s hard to pin down the exact average amount you’ll generate through ads because, legally, no one can disclose the precise amount.
Usually, gamers run ads when they need a break, or at the beginning or end of their streaming session. However, you can elect to run them more often (and therefore potentially earn more). This tactic may compromise your viewership, though, so more than likely; you’ll only want to cash in on your ads occasionally throughout your streaming time.
Just remember that in each unique ad contract, there will be an outline for how often you must broadcast your ads. So, make sure you read over your agreement before you sign on the dotted line.
Many times, streamers accept monetary donations. With Twitch, this can come in two forms. Players can either take the Twitch currency, known as a “bit,” or they can accept cash.
A “bit” is easy to buy and use through the platform. However, it’s worth is not precisely comparable to cash, as a single “bit” is worth about a penny. Still, if you have a solid following and each user donates a few bits when they like your gaming, it may add up.
For instance, with 14 million followers before leaving the platform, Ninja could potentially generate $140,000 if each follower donated a bit. Not bad!
Another way to accept donations is to set up some sort of receiving account. This can be through PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, or even a GoFundMe page. While this is a little less tactful method of asking your viewers for money, sometimes it works. Often gamers want to support each other in their professional endeavors.
Therefore, plugging the opportunity to donate in exchange for increased gameplay may not be a bad idea. Keep in mind that some of the platforms charge a transaction fee that may deduct from the amount you collect overall.
If a gaming program offers an opportunity to partner with them, you can receive compensation for promoting the sales of a specific game. This means you’ll have to play the game and plug for it often, so make sure it’s something that you genuinely want to play and share with your followers.
In this case, you’ll receive a unique link or code that allows other users to purchase the game. To receive a kickback from the price of the sale, your followers must use your unique info.
Often this is a passive way to generate an income, and probably not a primary source of monetization to rely upon. However, every little bit counts and game sales are easy and mindless, especially if you’re passionate about the game you’re playing.
Sponsorships & Promotions
If you reach this level in your Twitch gaming, it’s safe to say you’ve made it, or you’re at least on the way to making it big. Sponsorships and promotions are when companies approach you because they recognize your popularity on Twitch.
They don’t approach just anyone, because offering you the opportunity to partner with their organization usually indicates that you can provide following significant access to their products. Basically, they are only interested in those who are very popular or are rising in popularity at a rapid rate.
When a company partners with you as a sponsor, they may provide you with free gear and various items for you to promote. Sometimes these can be gaming related. So, it can be as easy as wearing their specific headset whenever you’re streaming and mentioning how much you like it.
Other examples of partnerships include food or drink. This means that you’ll have to snack on the item during your stream and talk about it for a specific amount of time. Usually, when you agree to this type of sponsorship, you’ll receive a monetary amount in addition to free products.
Twitch also offers direct payment to users who gain enough popularity to warrant it. If you’re driving significant traffic to the platform, then this means that you’re increasing the number of users on Twitch.
The platform may offer you compensation for this, and thus, you may receive money for being good at what you do.
How to Monetize Activities Outside of Twitch
When you’ve accomplished making money through all the methods you can on Twitch, you can investigate other ways to increase your income.
This doesn’t mean you discontinue to monetize your gaming through the platform. This indicates that you’re ready to increase your revenue stream through some other techniques.
Much like stepping stones, you’ll need to be a Twitch partner to be able to take this next leap into a gaming revenue stream.
Affiliate income generation is an accomplishment in and of itself. This means that in addition to your representation as a Twitch gamer, you can partner with another brand to promote their products or platform.
Earlier, we mentioned that the former user, Ninja, had left the gaming platform. This is because Ninja decided to become an exclusive affiliate of the Microsoft gaming platform.
Sometimes, as in Ninja’s case, capitalizing on an affiliate income means representing an exclusive brand. However, often it means that you partner with an organization or several organizations that aren’t in direct competition.
For example, an affiliate income may be similar to your sponsorships. So you may continue your use of Twitch, but only use one specific type of gaming gear while you use the platform. In this circumstance, you’re capitalizing on an affiliate income because you’re receiving payment to use a specific brand.
This is yet another example of ways in which you’ll know you’ve made it big. Not just anyone receives payment from making an appearance at an event.
If you’re asked to attend an event, you’ll more than likely receive a significant fee for your attendance. This payment may include hotel and travel compensation, meal reimbursement, or some other sort of perk, in addition to your fee.
Because of the expense of all of those aspects of an appearance will add up, so only those who are very popular on Twitch, with a large following, will receive an offer to earn income in this method.
Some Twitch gamers create merchandise specific to their username and brand. They create items that other users can purchase and receive a significant portion of the profits. You can similarly view this to individuals who watch football and like to wear their team jerseys.
Many gamers enjoy representing their favorite players. So, merchandise may be a profitable method of increasing your income generation from your Twitch platform.
We previously mentioned YouTube as a method to broadcast a recorded gaming session. YouTube is a prime example of ways in which individuals can expand their opportunities to earn money, building on their Twitch popularity.
YouTube has several steps to monetization, much like Twitch.
Therefore, building a YouTube presence at the same time that a user establishes a Twitch presence would serve the individual well. This is because YouTube popularity and monetization also takes significant time and effort.
YouTube and Twitch can work hand in hand, so generating popularity on both at the same time is a great way to double your chances of earning an income as a professional gamer.
How much do Twitch Streamers Make?
So, how much do Twitch streamers make? Well, the truth is that all professional gamers earn a different income, based on how they capitalize on each of the income-generating techniques listed above. Below is a list of the estimated revenue of several popular gamers.
- Ninja- Before departing the platform, Ninja was generating an estimated $5 million + every year. He left with almost 95,000 subscribers, an estimated nearly $510,000 in ad revenue, and $600,00 in sponsorships. Ninja also capitalized on YouTube, earning an estimated $36,000 yearly from this platform alone.
- Shroud- Shroud earns an estimated $3 million yearly. He has over 29,000 viewers per week, an estimated $2 million + in subscription fees, and almost $58,000 in yearly bit donations.
- TimTheTatman- TimTheTatman earns a little over $2.7 million yearly. He has 43,005 subscribers, an estimated almost $148,000 in ad revenue, and $600,00 in sponsorships. He also capitalizes on YouTube, generating approximately $36,000 on this platform.
- Lupo- Dr. Lupo earns an estimated $1.9 million yearly. He has a little over 9,500 viewers per week, an estimated $1 million + in subscription fees, and almost $178,000 in yearly bit donations.
- DisRespectLIVE earns approximately $1.7 million yearly. He has a little over 25,000 subscribers, an estimated almost $93,600 in ad revenue, and $600,00 in sponsorships. Like others mentioned above, he also capitalizes on YouTube, earning an estimated $36,000 yearly from this platform alone.
The Bottom Line
Professional gamers exist in abundance, and several elite ones are making a significant income.
However, the time and effort involved in generating such a generous income from a hobby are worth noting. Having a passion for what you do, and being a savvy business person is the way all Twitch streamers have transitioned from novice to expert.
Regardless of how you look at it, professional gamers have turned gaming into a job, and as with all employment, there are good and bad sides to it.
So, the next time you’re ready to throw in the towel on your 9-to-5 to devote your time to your favorite downtime activity, remember that the competition is fierce, and the commitment is enormous. But, you may have what it takes, and with use of the steps outlined above, you may have a chance to hit it big!
Michael launched Your Money Geek to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.