Did your parents ever tell you that you'll never make any money playing video games all day? Well, Twitch is proving them wrong. Content creators in the video game space have made their literal fortunes on the platform, and you can enjoy a share of that pie, too.

Twitch is a video live streaming service that focuses on video game live streaming. You can watch content live or on-demand.

By early 2020, three million broadcasters used the channel every month, with 15 million daily active users logging in to view their content. The numbers grew even more during the pandemic.

If you're a content creator - especially in the video game space - you need to get on Twitch ASAP if you want to tap into that massive audience.

A Quick History of Twitch’s Growth

It's hard to believe, but Twitch has been around for more than a decade. It started off with a website called Justin.tv, a site started by entrepreneurs. Justin Kan and Emmett Shear.

Originally, Justin.tv was a platform that allowed anyone to stream their daily lives, but it quickly became clear that the gaming category was the most popular.

Four years after their launch, the company decided to spin off the gaming content as TwitchTV.

During its early years, Twitch attracted millions of unique visitors each month, becoming the top streaming platform for gaming and e-sports content. By mid-2013, there were over 43 million monthly viewers on Twitch, with the average viewer spending about an hour and a half on the platform every single day. At that time, Twitch had a near monopoly on the market, overshadowing competing video services like YouTube and Dailymotion.

In 2012, the company received a $15 million investment, building on the $7 million originally raised for Justin.tv. By 2013, Twitch secured an additional $20 million in funding.

In 2014, Justin.tv, Inc. was renamed Twitch Interactive to reflect the platform's growing prominence. Twitch Plays Pokémon, a unique crowdsourced gaming experience, went viral and really proved the platform's potential for creative and interactive content.

Later that year, on August 25, 2014, Twitch made headlines when it was acquired by Amazon for $970 million in cash. Under Amazon's ownership, Twitch continued to expand its offerings and acquired GoodGame Agency, which owned esports teams such as Evil Geniuses and Alliance.

Cheering, a microtransaction system allowing users to support streamers with virtual currency, was launched in 2016. Twitch Prime, a premium service offering ad-free streaming and game discounts, was introduced in 2016 as well. Twitch also made strategic acquisitions, such as Curse LLC, an operator of gaming communities and VoIP software.

It wasn't all smooth sailing, though. In 2021, there was a big data leak that exposed sensitive information about the platform and its users. The leak led to security concerns and prompted Twitch to take measures to address the situation.

In 2023, Twitch announced a reduction in subscription revenue earned by large streamers, which garnered criticism from the streaming community. They also announced that they won't allow gamers and content creators to simulcast their Twitch streams on other channels.

Even so, Twitch remains a dominant force in the live-streaming industry, with millions of viewers around the globe.

You can visit Stream Charts to see exactly how many people are using Twitch at any given moment. At the time of writing this article, around 1.9 million people were viewing content on nearly 57,000 live channels.

In October 2019, the site had a peak viewership of around 2.5 million and just over 1.1 million viewers on average. By 2020, Twitch had peak viewership numbers of over 6 million, with an average viewership of around 2.4 million tuning into more than 230,000 channels.

How Much Twitch Streamers Make: A Tiered Analysis

We know what you're thinking. How can I get in on this, and how much can I make? You already know that content creation is a full-time gig and that it takes time to really build an audience. Although Twitch has launched many, many lucrative streaming careers, no one is guaranteed instant success, and not everyone gets a big paycheck out of streaming.

Let's take a look at what you can realistically expect to earn, from smaller streams to the very top Twitch streamers.

Small Streamers

Small Twitch streamers can earn anywhere from $50 to $1500 per month, depending on the number of average viewers they have. Here's what you can expect to make based on your viewership:

  • 5 – 10 average viewers: $50 – $200 per month
  • 20 average viewers: $200 – $400 per month
  • 50 average viewers: $500 – $750 per month
  • 100 average viewers: $1000 – $1500 per month

QuirkyPixel, a small streamer with five average viewers, shared that she made $64.81 in 30 days. Most of her income came from subscribers ($57.55), with a small amount from advertisements ($0.79) and bit donations ($6.47).

Mid-Tier Streamers

Twitch streamers with a slightly bigger audience can earn anywhere from $5000 to $30,000 per month, depending on their average viewership. There are some of the averages:

  • 1000 average viewers: $5000 per month
  • 5000 average viewers: $13,000 per month
  • 10,000 average viewers: $30,000 per month

AshniChrist, a Twitch streamer with around 1000 subscribers, says she earns around $10,000 per month. While a big chunk of that comes from subscribers, she also makes money in other ways (which we'll dive into now).

Top-Tier Streamers

Top-tier Twitch streamers can make anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000 per month from Twitch, depending on their number of average monthly subscribers. These top streamers often have tens of thousands of subscribers, earning $2.50 from each subscriber, including Twitch Prime Subs.

One of the most popular Twitch streamers, xQc, aka Felix Lengyel, earned more than $300,000 per month from Twitch. His streams generally drew around 70k viewers, but he also made money from his 12 million followers, advertisements, and donations. He also made a reported $100,000 per month from YouTube. Technically he made most of his money leaving Twitch - rival company Kick offered him a $100-million deal to join forces with them.

Factors That Influence Your Earnings

The income you can earn as a Twitch streamer can vary dramatically, from a few dollars to tens of millions. Your earning potential is going to depend on a number of things, though, including:

  • Streaming Hours: The amount of time you spend broadcasting on Twitch can have a big impact on your earnings. Generally, the more hours you can dedicate to streaming, the higher the odds of attracting viewers, subscribers, and donations. Being consistent in streaming can also help build a really loyal audience base.
  • Content Quality: No surprises there, but the quality of your content plays a crucial role in attracting and keeping viewers. Streamers that can provide engaging, entertaining, and interactive content are more likely to win over a larger audience. High-quality production, including good audio and video, professional overlays, and engaging visuals, can contribute to a better viewer experience.
  • Audience Engagement: Building a strong connection with the audience is key. Interacting with viewers through chat, responding to comments and questions, and creating a welcoming and inclusive community can enhance viewer engagement. Streamers who engage with their audience and make them feel involved are far more likely to receive support through subscriptions, donations, and word-of-mouth promotion.
  • Follower Count: The number of followers a streamer has can influence their earnings potential. While followers don't necessarily mean you'll make a great living, a larger follower base increases the odds of attracting viewers to streams. It's important to note that follower count alone isn't enough. Streamers need to focus on building an active and engaged community rather than just accumulating followers.
  • Sticking to Twitch's Policies: Following Twitch's terms of service and community guidelines is crucial for streamers to maintain their standing on the platform. Violations of Twitch's policies can lead to penalties, suspensions, or even permanent bans. It's also important for attracting sponsors, partnerships, and other monetization opportunities.
  • Collaboration and Networking: Collaborating with other streamers and participating in Twitch communities can expand a streamer's reach and exposure. Networking with other creators can lead to opportunities for cross-promotion, hosting, or participating in events that can increase viewership and potential income.
  • Additional Revenue Streams: Many successful streamers monetize their content through platforms like YouTube, Patreon, merchandise sales, sponsorships, and affiliate marketing. Make the most of the content you create!

Case Studies: Top Earning Twitch Streamers of 2023

So, who are the biggest earners on Twitch? And how do they do it? Let's take a look:

Ninja ($500,000+ per month)

Twitch Streamer Ninja, whose real name is Richard Tyler Blevins, is one of the highest-earning Twitch streamers of all time. He became really popular through his exceptional gaming skills, particularly in Fortnite.

Ninja's estimated monthly earnings are around $500,000, although at the peak of his career, he claimed to make $5 million per month. He has a massive following of 18,515,491 followers on Twitch and streams games like PUBG and League of Legends. He also made a lot of money through a sponsorship deal with Red Bull.

xQc ($318,821 per month)

Even though he is leaving Twitch, xQc or Félix Lengyel is still a top earner on the platform. Known for his engaging personality and collaborations with other streamers like Pokimane, xQc earns an estimated $318,821 per month. He primarily streams Overwatch, Just Chatting, GTA V, and Counter-Strike. In addition to Twitch revenue, xQc earns money from brand deals and competition winnings, with his gross payout from August 2019 to October 2021 totaling $752,467.

Ibai ($261,000 per month)

Ibai Llanos, or Ibai, is a Twitch streamer and content creator from Spain. With 12,998,985 followers, he earns an estimated $261,000 per month. Ibai's versatility shines through as he streams games like Just Chatting, League of Legends, Minecraft, and Among Us. He is also known for hosting events and collaborating with other content creators. Ibai's net worth is estimated to be an impressive $22 million.

TheGrefg ($213,000 per month)

The Spanish Fortnite Streamer David Cánovas Martínez, also known as TheGrefg, is a popular Twitch streamer and YouTuber from Spain. He has over 11 million Twitch followers and earns around $213,000 per month. TheGrefg gained recognition for his skills in Fortnite and his collaboration with other streamers. He has expanded his content to sports gaming and is the president of Saiyans FC, a soccer club participating in the King's League.

Auronplay ($204,000 per month)

Auronplay, whose real name is Raúl Genes, is a content creator on YouTube and Twitch. He is the second most-followed Twitch streamer and earns around $204,000 per month. With over 15 million followers, Auronplay mainly streams Just Chatting, Minecraft, GTA V, and Fall Guys. Because he streams in Spanish, he really stands out from the crowd. His net worth is estimated to be around $4 million.

Shroud ($200,00 per month)

The Pro Gamer Turned Streamer Michael Grzesiek, known as Shroud, is a Canadian Twitch streamer who gained fame through his exceptional gaming skills, particularly in games like CS: GO, PUBG, and Valorant. After a short break from streaming, Shroud returned to Twitch and earned an estimated $200,000 per month. With over 10 million followers, he is a top earner on the platform and has brand deals with G-Fuel Energy Juice and Luminosity Gaming.

Rubius ($183,000 per month)

Rubius Gundersen, known as Rubius, is another successful Spanish Twitch streamer. With nearly 14 million followers, Rubius earns approximately $183,000 per month. He streams a variety of games, including Just Chatting, Minecraft, GTA V, and Among Us. Rubius is not only a Twitch star but also a YouTube sensation with over 40m subscribers on a single channel. His net worth is estimated to be around $7 million.

Tfue ($103,200 per month)

Turner Tenney, better known as Tfue, is a Canadian Twitch streamer and YouTuber with over 11 million followers. After retiring as a professional Fortnite player, Tfue transitioned into full-time streaming. He earns an estimated $103,200 per month and primarily streams Fortnite, Warzone, Z1 Battle Royale, and Apex Legends. Tfue's income comes from Twitch subscriptions, ad revenue, and even selling NFTs on nftfue.com.

juansguarnizo ($41,000 per month)

Juan Esteban Guarnizo, known as juansguarnizo, is a popular Twitch streamer from Colombia. With over 10 million followers, he earns an estimated $41,000 per month. Juansguarnizo streams a variety of content, including Just Chatting, GTA V, Minecraft, and Fortnite. He is known for his active streaming schedule and engages with his viewers regularly.

Pokimane ($18,000 per month)

Pokimane, whose real name is Imane Anys, is one of the most successful female Twitch streamers. With over 9 million followers, she primarily streams Just Chatting, Valorant, Fortnite, and others. Pokimane earns an estimated $18,000 per month, but her net worth is estimated to be a remarkable $25 million. She prioritizes her credibility as a streamer and has gained recognition as one of the most famous influencers worldwide.

How Twitch Streamers Make Money

If you look at the numbers we shared in the previous section, you can see that Twitch streamers make money in a number of different ways. Someone with a smaller viewership or subscription base can outearn someone with a massive following by using the right strategy.

Let's look at how Twitch streamers really make money:

  • Twitch Bits: One of the most common ways streamers make money on Twitch is through bits, which are Twitch's currency system. Viewers can purchase bits and tip streamers during their streams. One bit is equal to one cent for streamers, so if a viewer tips 100 bits, it's roughly equivalent to donating one dollar. However, Twitch keeps 50% of all bits earned.
  • Donations: Streamers can also receive donations directly from viewers. Many streamers prefer regular donations because Twitch doesn't take a cut of the profits. Streamers can set up donations on their channels that link to their PayPal accounts.
  • Advertisements: Running ads during streams is another way to make money on Twitch. It can be risky as mid-stream ads can lead to a loss of viewership. Streamers should consider running ads when they are away from the stream or during breaks. According to CNBC, a Twitch streamer with an average of 100 viewers can earn approximately $250 per 100 subscribers from ad revenue.
  • Subscriptions: Subscriptions are a reliable source of income for streamers. Viewers can subscribe to a Twitch channel for a monthly fee and receive additional perks like emotes and ad-free viewing. Twitch takes 50% of the subscription revenue.
  • Sponsorships: Once streamers have a significant number of followers, they may receive offers from businesses interested in sponsoring their channel. Sponsorship deals can vary in value, with some offering hundreds to thousands of dollars. Reaching this point requires time and hard work. Twitch streamer made more than $360 million in sponsorship deals with online gambling sites before Twitch made the decision to ban gambling content.
  • Merchandise: Many Twitch streamers sell merchandise related to their channels, such as t-shirts and coffee mugs, to earn additional income. Twitch streamer Valkyrie said she sold 40 K's worth of merch on her first merch drop. On average, you can earn around $50 to $1500 with the right merchandise.
  • YouTube: Streamers can earn money through content outside of live streams by creating YouTube videos. YouTube offers additional benefits such as long-term relevancy and the potential for earning money over an extended period.
  • Subscription-Based Services: Streamers can offer subscriptions through external platforms like Patreon, providing additional bonus content, prioritization, or early access to videos in exchange for a monthly fee.

We should also talk about the Twitch Affiliate Program and Partner Program.

Twitch Affiliates can earn income from bits and subscriptions and gain access to new emotes. A tier-one subscription costs $4.99, and Twitch Affiliates receive 50% of the subscription revenue. Tier-two and tier-three subscriptions cost $9.99 and $24.99, respectively, and follow the same revenue-sharing model.

Streamers that want to be affiliates have to meet certain requirements like streaming at least 500 total minutes, having at least seven broadcast days, having an average of at least three viewers, and having at least 50 followers.

Reaching Partner status is more challenging and requires an average of at least 75 viewers, being live for at least 12 days in a month, and accumulating a total of 25 streaming hours. Twitch Partners enjoy additional channel customization options, customizable badges for viewers, and potentially higher income.


Twitch is a thriving platform where content creators, especially in the gaming industry, can make a great living. With three million broadcasters and 15 million daily active users, Twitch provides a massive audience for streamers to tap into.

Sure, you're not guaranteed a big paycheque. But even small streamers can earn anywhere from $50 to $1,500 per month. If you already have a big following on YouTube or any other streaming platform, you can bump that figure to $5,000 and $30,000 per month. And who knows? Maybe you'll join the ranks of Ninja, xQc, and others and start taking home six figures or more every month.

If you're smart and pay attention to the strategies others have followed, you can find a successful outlet for your content that pays the bills.

The easiest way to stream to Twitch

Ready to give Twitch a shot? Check out our full guide on how to stream on Twitch with StreamYard for free.

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