Who wants to make money playing video games?
Sounds like a dream come true, right? Well, it’s not a dream. It’s a reality. And people have found out how to make money on Twitch just by streaming their gaming sessions.
With Twitch.TV, you can join 2 million broadcasters and 15 million daily active users on the site and live-stream anything from your favorite game to a tutorial about how to make a computer table, Ikea-style.
As of 2019, Twitch is the number one e-sports (video game) live streaming service in the world.
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And streamers are leveraging to power of the platform to make more money than ever thought possible.
How Much Money Do Twitch Streamers Make?
Making money with Twitch can be impressively lucrative, especially if you’ve got the right mix of personality, skills and luck.
For example, popular Twitch streamer Ninja (real name: Tyler Blevins) revealed earlier this year that he earns around $500,000 per month from Twitch Prime subscriptions, sponsorships, and partnerships, as well as YouTube revenues from his 5 million subscribers.
Note that Ninja has been livestreaming since 2008.
However, although many other streamers earn huge amounts of cash, Ninja is one of the top-ranking Twitch.TV streamers.
The amount of cash you can make by streaming content will depend on your popularity, number of subscribers, type of content streamed, and the monetization option you choose.
Users can subscribe to streamers’ channels for $4.99 a month.
The $2.50 will go to Twitch, while the remaining $2.49 goes directly to the Twitch affiliate or partner.
The Twitch Affiliate Program
Twitch sends an invitation e-mail to any streamer who has been working consistently to produce content.
Those with at least 50 followers, an average of 3 (or more) simultaneous viewers in the last 30 days, at least 500 minutes of total broadcast in a month, and at least 7 broadcast days in the last 30 days.
Once you become an affiliate, you can earn by accumulating “Bits” or when people subscribe and support your channel.
You also have the chance of earning from game sales and in-game items that originated from your channel.
The Twitch Partner Program
Any Twitch streamer who aims to make it big in the site dreams to be accepted into this program.
You’d have to send an application for Twitch to check if your channel is qualified, since partners are often exclusive to more sought after personalities (with average concurrent viewership of 500+).
When you do make it as Twitch partner, you’ll reap all the benefits offered to affiliates, plus live chat privileges, unique emoticons, and other exclusive-to-partner perks.
Similar to how YouTube ads work… Twitch content producers can earn money with shares in the advertisement revenue generated from their streams.
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There’s no set income earned this way, but as a streamer’s followers increase, so will his/her ad shares.
This is similar to the primary way of making money on YouTube. There are also 15 different ideas listed there that could possibly be used to make money on Twitch as well.
Donations may seem an insignificant monetization option, but imagine having a million followers and all of them decide to donate a dollar each within a span of 30 days.
You’d be a millionaire just from the donations.
More realistically, people aren’t going to donate that much, so keep this one in your back pocket as a potential to raise money for a good cause.
Twitch estimates over $75 million has been raised in just under 5 years, coining the term “Geek philanthropy.”
One way gaming companies advertise, pre-launch or test their products is through Twitch.TV.
Because these companies’ target market is already on Twitch.TV, the technique is to hire a streamer to play the game as thousands of followers watch along.
A great example of this was Ninja streaming a game of Fortnite with rapper Drake.
You’ve hit it big as a game streamer when you receive big paychecks on a monthly or yearly basis.
It can also be a one-off deal, but sponsorships usually involve life-changing amounts, so it’s not surprising streamers strive to land sponsors.
Sponsorship does have its drawbacks though. You do have to maintain a strong reputation as brands want to align with more wholesome streamers.
Twitch.TV gives its streamers plenty of monetization options, but only once you’ve reached a certain threshold.
It’s important to note that streamers like Ninja took a decade of consistent streaming to reach his $500k/month income level, so if you’re starting out and thinking you’d be earning thousands of dollars overnight, now is the time to let reality sink in.
However, if you are serious about a career in livestreaming, Twitch.TV has everything you need to succeed.
12 Ways You Can Make Money on Twitch
Below are 12 ways people are making money on Twitch to give you some ideas on how you could start and what kind of niches are available on the site.
If you’re just starting out, try and remain mindful of the type of monetization path you’d like to pursue down the line.
Make sure you keep your content relevant to that path to further your chances of succeeding.
1. Live video game
Twitch.TV is first and foremost the home of eSports, so expect the competition among gamers are always on an all-time-high.
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But, if you’ve mastered a particular game and have the personality to match, there’s a good chance you’ll succeed in competing with older, more popular streamers.
The best thing about Twitch is that anyone can do it. Take Mackenseize as an example – she’s been diagnosed with a seizure disorder as a teen.
Now, even if the 25-year-old Hearthstone streamer seizes every once in a while during a stream, her 37,000+ followers continue to support her with every game she explores.
Speedrunning is the same as livestreaming any game, except that the goal of “speedrunners” is to complete an entire level or a whole game as fast as possible.
TheMexicanRunner, for example, is a hardcore speedrunner for classic games and has made a huge following with his NESMania quest, wherein he tries to finish at record-breaking times every officially-licensed game from original Nintendo Entertainment System.
3. Host Talk Shows
Twitch.TV also hosts people with a skill in broadcasting.
John of TotalBiscuit gives live commentary of interactive gameplay and has over half a million followers.
Some talk show hosts on Twitch.TV do not focus on the gaming world.
h3h3Productions, for example, is an Israeli-American comedy channel produced by husband and wife team Ethan and Hila Klein.
With about 555,000 followers, H3’s main content is a mix of commentaries, sketches, satires and reaction videos about internet culture, YouTube policies, viral trends, and online personalities.
The duo even interviews YouTubers and celebrities.
4. Play at Casinos
If you’re not a fan of video games, but prefer playing poker and other casino games, there’s a special place for you on Twitch.TV.
The casino category is filled with Russia-based streamers like rublpro and only a handful of English channels like CasinoDaddy (although these 3 brothers hail from Sweden), so there’s always space for more people here.
Same goes for the Poker Twitch streamers.
5. Radio-style stream
It’s not as famous as gaming, but the Twitch Music category is a goldmine for anyone looking to create content or just chill.
Aside from taking advantage of the Twitch Music Library, which houses pre-cleared music for Twitch broadcasters to use live, you can also discover other streamers like NoCopyrightSounds who are focused on providing non-stop music to the Twitch community.
6. Perform Music
When the Music category was first launched in 2016, Steve Aoki, T-Pain, Deadmau5 and other EDM artists supported Twitch and the users embraced them wholeheartedly.
Today, big-named artists like Kanye continue to use the platform as a way to promote their music, increase followers, or simply chill with the Twitch community.
Even if big-ticket artists are sure winners on Twitch, it shouldn’t be stopping anyone with real musical abilities to use this platform to earn money, or even make it big.
7. Play Magic: The Gathering
The cool thing about livestreaming is that even physical games like Magic: The Gathering can be broadcasted from your home.
And if you’ve been a master-gamer of Magic since it was launched in the early 90s, you can still bring out your card collections and revive the glory of competing against other Magic fans.
Interested in joining Twitch.TV and earn money from your Magic: The Gathering skills, but don’t know where to start?
8. Live IRL
Twitch opened the IRL category to a ton of criticisms, but once the initial shock has passed, many existing Twitch streamers welcomed the idea and use it themselves as downtime, non-game streaming.
With the IRL category, gamers can now eat, sing, and do other activities without being reprimanded for doing so at their respective game-specific category.
IRL streams can be anything under the sun. Here are multiple examples that actually happened on Twitch IRL streams:
- KitBoga calls IRS, tax, virus scammers and plays along for hours. He uses a voice changer to get into full characters like old-lady Edna and fools scammers for as long as possible.
- Someone doing math homework
- A guy assembled an Ikea closet
- Someone decorating a Christmas tree
- Architect designing a house
- Fully-clothed Andy Milonakis streaming from inside a running shower
- Someone staring at a wall (this kid made $100 for this activity)
- Guy making balloon animals for over an hour
- An American reading books in French
- Bounty hunters who live-stream while working
- Someone who made two Google homes talk to each other for hours
- A garbage collector streaming his job on a regular day
- Japanese man going to his local barber, eating out, and brining his viewers to interesting parts of his city
- An Arby’s employee who streams his entire shift live
As you can see, IRL is the most-flexible category yet still provides a way to make money on Twitch.
As long as you go live with your idea and give it your all, you’d be surprised that there will always be a market for anything streamed.
People just generally want to be entertained, taught to do things visually, or just get a good laugh from something totally random.
9. Social Eat
Social Eating was one of the “Creative” sub-categories Twitch launched in mid-2016 in its goal of expanding from just the number one gaming streaming site to an all-around streaming site.
Simply put, streamers get to eat live and “share their meals with the community.”
Inspired by South Korea’s “muk-bang” where social eating is super-popular, Twitch welcomes this very specific group of streamers to the site, but with their own set of rules.
Plus, if you’re planning to stream your meal preps and cooking, social eating seems like a natural progression your community can follow.
10. Go to Work and Make Money on Twitch?
Majority of game streamers on Twitch have some sort of IT-related jobs (or skills).
There’s a huge demand for game development tutorials, so if you’ve got the patience, talent, communication skills and passion to teach programming, coding, web development, photo/video editing, robotics, or any other techy topics, you’re good to go.
Twitch is where it’s at.
This also goes for specific programs.
For example, if you have advanced knowledge of Blender (the 3D modeling software), you can stream how you do things and you’d be surprised at the interest these streams bring.
If you’re under 20, you might want to check out our list of 29 online jobs for teens for some ideas on jobs you could potentially stream from the comfort of your home.
If you don’t know it yet, Twitch.TV has been promoting professional wrestling recently.
They’ve got several big companies already involved and have partnered with the likes of IMPACT! Wrestling and House of Hardcore to grow a Twitch community around wrestling.
If you’re a fan, don’t miss Knokx Pro Wrestling Academy’s Twitch channel, where you can want watch streamed pro wrestling and listen in the input from the crowds watching to influence matches.
You can definitely get some ideas on how you can run your own wrestling channel there.
12. Get Creative
The Twitch Creative category is like a rabbit hole filled with streamers providing some of the coolest or weirdest projects in the world.
Whether you’re a viewer looking to watch something fresh, or a streamer planning to monetize Twitch, the Creative category can show monetizing like KayPike (and her bodypaint marathon streams), talented artists with awesome crafts like acrylic pouring, livestream painting (like Bob Ross’ Joy of Painting), glass blowing, Lego or Gundam building, tattooing (only for licensed tattoo artists), blacksmithing, carpentry, restoration, and a ton of other creative activities.
Performance arts is also under Twitch Creative, so if you plan to stream your karaoke adventures, stand-up comedy, magic, theater production, voice acting, poetry reading, dance choreography, and more, this can be your second home.
The Bottom Line
The best thing about Twitch is that it’s free to use for all. You don’t have to set out to make money on Twitch, but you can create an account, start streaming while you game, and build a following.
Who knows what it will turn into, but your hobby could just become your full-time job.