Many people dream of making money doing something they love. For example, my son loves playing video games. His goal is to earn money as a professional video game player.
If you want to make money playing video games, a platform like Twitch could be a good option. But can you make money as a Twitch streamer? How much do Twitch streamers make?
Let’s look at what it takes to make money playing video games.
In This Article
How Much Do Twitch Streamers Earn?
Video games used to be a fun pastime, serving as a way to disconnect from reality for a few hours. When technology advanced, people started playing together virtually. They would share tips and tricks while hanging out via games.
As gaming moved to online video platforms like YouTube and Twitch, it also became a way to earn income. There are now professional gamers who earn money recording videos of themselves playing.
According to Twitch, an average of 2.4 million viewers visit their site each week. With such a high number of viewers, their platform has the audience to help content creators make money online.
Some streamers can make upwards of $20,000 per month. The average Twitch streamer who develops an audience may earn a few thousand dollars each month.
How much you make depends on a variety of factors. These can include your viewership and audience size as well as how much advertisers and sponsors are willing to pay for access to your audience.
Let’s look at the top ways Twitch streamers make money.
How Twitch Streamers Make Money
A lot goes into becoming a successful Twitch streamer. While several people earn their living through Twitch, it does take effort.
It’s important to understand the different ways to earn income if you want to make money on a platform like Twitch. Unlike a regular job where you receive a recurring paycheck, Twitch streamers have several revenue streams.
Here are the five main ways streamers earn money on Twitch:
Just like YouTube stars, Twitch streamers can make money from ads on their videos. High traffic and an engaged audience create a perfect platform for advertisers looking to promote their products or services.
Similar to other video sites, Twitch viewers see one or two ads before a video starts. They also see another ad partway through the video. Streamers must be careful and balance earning money with not frustrating their audience by showing too many ads.
To find that balance, Twitch recommends starting with one minute of ads per hour of streaming. In addition, they advise spacing out your ads instead of showing them all at once.
Advertisers pay Twitch streamers on a cost per impression (CPM) model. This means that they receive a fixed amount per 1,000 impressions (viewers).
For example: Say a company agrees to pay a streamer $5 per 1,000 impressions for a specific video. If that video gets 100,000 impressions, the streamer will make $500.
Twitch streamers don’t disclose the exact CPM from advertisers. This makes it difficult to know how much of their revenue comes from ads. Many streamers have two to three different ads per video, which means they get paid by several advertisers.
The majority of streamer’s earnings come from subscriptions. Streamers with a devoted following can generate tens of thousands of dollars per month from subscribers.
When you find a Twitch channel you like, you can either follow the channel or subscribe to it. Following a channel is free and can be done by clicking the heart icon. Followers get notified when new content is posted.
Viewers who prefer to subscribe to a channel can choose from three subscription tiers.
- Tier 1: $4.99 per month
- Tier 2: $9.99 per month
- Tier 3: $24.99 per month
Becoming a subscriber comes with perks that differ between channels. You’ll get ad-free viewing of content, live chats with creators and access to subscriber-only streams. Subscribers can also unlock custom emoticons.
Twitch streamers have to share their revenue with the platform. Typically, this is in the form of a 50 to 60 percent revenue split. The more subscribers a streamer has, the higher their split share.
Let’s evaluate some examples of how much Twitch streamers can make based on subscriber volume. Twitch Tracker reports the current number of subscribers and ranks streamers based on the current subscriber count.
As an example, XQCOW has 56,445 current subscribers as of November 2020:
- Low end: $281,660 (56,445 subscribers x $4.99 Tier 1 fee)
- High end: $1,410,560 (56,445 subscribers x $24.99 Tier 3 fee)
Here is a sample of current top Twitch streamer monthly earnings:
- NICKMERCS – $64,990.492
- MOONMOON_OW – $43,371.797
- DRLUPO – $42,836.92
- GAMESDONEQUICK – $39,360.216
- CRITICALROLE – $37,783.263
- SHROUD – $36,107.295
- XQCOW – $26,073.502
- NINJA – $19,647.39
Don’t forget that these earnings are subject to a 50 to 60 percent revenue split with Twitch.
Brand sponsorships are another great revenue opportunity for Twitch streamers. When a brand sponsors a streamer, they pay to promote their brand to the streamer’s audience. This can include playing their games, wearing the company’s apparel, using a company’s gaming equipment and more.
Sponsorship opportunities are different for each streamer. Viewership numbers, subscribers and other criteria can impact offers. Streamers have to negotiate their own sponsorship deals. Payouts can vary greatly based on impressions and niche.
To find sponsors, do a quick search for sponsorship networks and review the criteria for getting started. This information will be useful if you launch your own Twitch channel.
4. Game Sales
Twitch streamers who attract an audience by playing video games can make money from sales.
Viewers often have the option to purchase a game directly on Twitch while watching their favorite streamer play it. When a streamer plays a game available for sale on their channel, the audience will get a purchase offer below the video window.
Money earned from game sales is in addition to other revenue streams. Streamers may earn five percent of the price of the game when someone purchases through their channel.
Game sales are not one of the major ways Twitch streamers make money from home. Nonetheless, they can add a nice income stream. Earnings depend on factors such as the price of the game, viewership numbers and audience engagement.
Twitch streamers have the equivalent of a virtual tip jar. This allows viewers to tip them to show appreciation for the content they create.
Tips come in the form of Twitch currency known as Bits. Viewers who want to tip their favorite streamers have to buy Bits. These allow viewers to cheer to show support for streamers. Every time a viewer cheers in a chat, the streamer earns one penny for each Bit used.
Bits are not the only way to donate to a streamer. You can donate regular currency through direct donations. However, this has to be done outside of Twitch.
Although they can be lucrative, donations are a sporadic and unreliable stream of income. Potential earnings depend on your niche, likability, content, how devoted your audience is and more.
How to Become a Twitch Affiliate and Partner
Before you can make money on Twitch, you have to join the Twitch Affiliate Program. It has two levels: Twitch Affiliate and Twitch Partner.
The affiliate level allows new steamers to earn income while building their audience and channel following.
There are thresholds you have to meet to be eligible for the Twitch Affiliate Program. You have to start by reaching 50 followers.
Then you must complete the following in the same 30-day time period:
- Broadcast for at least 500 minutes
- Broadcast on seven separate days
- Have an average of three concurrent viewers
When you are eligible to join the affiliate program, you will receive an email, notification, or an announcement on the platform. Don’t worry if you don’t get an invitation when you first start your channel. Twitch sends out invitations on a rolling basis. You will get yours as soon as you qualify.
Once you get an invitation, you will see a new section in the settings tab. You can visit this section to register for the Twitch Affiliate Program and enable Bits.
Becoming a Twitch Affiliate lets you do the following:
- Provide subscription options to your viewers
- Get access to offer your subscribers up to five custom emotes
- Solicit donations
- Earn money via game sales
You can apply for an upgrade to the coveted Twitch Partner level once you have a solid audience.
To apply to be a Twitch Partner, you have a couple of options. The first is completing an application that shows you have a large and engaged following on other services. It can take up to four weeks to hear back from Twitch if you apply using this method.
The other option is to complete the following within the same 30-day time period:
- Broadcast for at least 1,500 minutes
- Broadcast on 12 different days
- Have an average of 75 concurrent viewers
After fulfilling these requirements, you’ll have access to a button that will let you apply to be a Twitch Partner. Pursuing this option will ensure you hear back about your application within seven business days.
Twitch Partners receive bonus perks that include:
- Access to custom cheermotes
- Up to 60 custom emotes for subscribers
- Extra video tools
- Improved payment terms
- Other helpful features
It’s possible to make money playing video games on Twitch. Remember that you have to be ready to do the work if you want to make money as a Twitch streamer. Start by finding a niche where you can build a solid following.
Keep in mind that there are many other streamers competing for views and revenue opportunities. To be competitive, you need passion and skill. You also have to figure out how to monetize your audience.
If you can figure these things out, Twitch can be a great online side job. Better yet, you might be able to make a full-time income if you really learn the ropes.
Have you made money on Twitch? What was your experience? Share with us in the comments.