The popular streaming website Twitch is now the fourth most popular website during the internet’s peak hours, putting it right behind sites like Netflix, Google, and Apple. So what does this mean for the streamers that have created a massive following and a sustainable income just from streaming video games?
Twitch earned bragging rights after 2014’s statistics showed the websites massive amount of traffic it gets each month. With 100 million unique viewers and 16 billion minutes of content streamed monthly, it’s no surprise when we hear of people making a living from this new and wonderful place on the internet.
The way it works with streaming on Twitch is that gamers have pay paths that allows viewers to become subscribers (subs) to a particular channel. This costs $5 per month and gives you access to sub-only chats, emoticons and various other perks.
But this is where Twitch gets interesting. On top of subscribing, streamers also take donations. This is usually the best way of getting in touch with the streamers and you can donate any amount of cash and have your name flash up on screen, with a message you wrote. Allowing thousands of people to see your user name and your message for just five seconds and ensuring the streamer acknowledges you.
For anyone who is wondering, “so what? he’s just some guy who plays games”, well it’s equivalent to you paying €20 to get your face on the screen for two seconds at a football match.
So how do these guys make a living? Well it was recorded on a stream hosted by ‘Sodapoppin’, who was playing World of Warcraft at the time he received $7639 from a user named ‘Amhai’ and then again directly after the first donation they donated another unspecified amount of money but Sodapoppin said it was nearly $10,000.
Twitch is only one layer of income the streamers can receive. In an interview, streamer ‘Destiny’ told The Daily Dot the various places his income stems from. Destiny, or Steven Bonnell to the rest of the world, says that he earns roughly $1,000 dollars a month from ad revenue on Twitch. Bonnell then said he earned an additional $5,000 a month from monthly subscription on Twitch.
Stephen also runs his own website that people can subscribe to with subscription packages ranging from $5-$40. Not every Streamer has his or her own website but it is always there as an option. Destiny also told us that the generous viewers’ donations average out at about $1,500 a month. But he did say during one of his busiest months he earned $6000 in donation alone.
Bonnell does work quite hard though. He said in the interview, “I make probably less than $1,000 a month off of Twitch, streaming around 200-250 hours a month, with an average of maybe 2,500 concurrent viewers”. When we break this down, he streams on average 60 hours a week, which is a long working week for anyone.
Streamers are also very generous and have used Twitch to raise millions of dollars for charities. Twitch recorded in 2014 that gamers raised over $10.5 million for really worthy causes. One stream in particular raised $922,000 that went to Fauna & Flora International, SpecialEffect, EndPolioNow and Oxfam International.
More recently though, Activision, in conjunction with some high profile streamers, held their annual ‘The Race’ stream. This stream was held over a four-day period and players took eight-hour shifts at playing the game so that the stream could function 24-hours a day. Activison flew gamers, ‘TmarTn‘, ‘GoldGloveTV‘, ‘Jeriicho‘, ‘Hutch‘, and ‘VernNotice‘ out to their studio where the event was held. The event was raising money for charities and organisations that work with war veterans and help them getting placed into higher quality jobs.
The stream lasted the four short days. In which it raised a massive $451,555. This number was met by the intervention of Activison that matched whatever they could raise in donations.
In a post made by Scott Lowe, the Communications manager at Activison, he said, “What’s more, by donating to the Endowment, fans will have a chance to earn cool rewards, ranging from Black Ops 3 shirts and hoodies to a Juggernog Edition. Activision will also be matching all donations made during #TheRace to Prestige up to $500,000.”
Each donator got a reward depending on how much they actually donated. The top donating viewer for this particular stream was $5000.
The future of Twitch looks very bright as in August, it was acquired by Amazon for a mind- blowing $970 million dollars in cash. This means that the website will have access to more money and more resources which will in the end lead to better services for us, the viewers.