The Top 3 Richest Twitch Streamers
In the era of online gaming and live streaming, Twitch creators reign supreme. The live-streaming app, which first launched in 2011, has now become the go-to platform for video game content, attracting more than 9.7 million active streamers per month. While most of us can only dream of making money from playing video games, there exists a few lucky individuals who have managed to build impressive followings and make their Twitch channels a bonafide business.
But just how many subscribers would you need to make it a full-time job? Some sources say you’ll need at least 1,000 subscribers to make that happen, which is no problem for the following three Twitch streamers. Here are what the top 3 richest Twitch streamers make from their channels:
1. Richard Tyler Blevins (Ninja)
According to reports, Richard Tyler Blevins is the richest Twitch streamer to date, with an estimated $17 million in total earnings.
Known to the world as Ninja, the 30-year-old Detroit native started his gaming career in 2009, during which time he mainly streamed Halo 3. He also played professionally for various organizations such as Cloud9, Renegades, Team Liquid, and Luminosity Gaming. In those early days, he was making around $100 per day from his streams, which was a nice bonus from the tournament money he was also making.
It was only in 2017 when he really started making waves in the online gaming industry. That year, he began streaming Fortnite Battle Royale, and he found much success. His entertaining videos skyrocketed him to fame, and he even managed to do collaborations with celebrities like Drake, Travis Scott, and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Currently, Ninja also has the most followers on the platform, with 16.7 million subscribers to date.
“The phrase ‘It’s just a game’ is such a weak mindset. You are OK with what happened; losing; [the] imperfection of a craft. When you stop getting angry after losing, you’ve lost twice. There’s always something to learn, and always room for improvement. Never settle.” — Ninja
2. Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg (PewDiePie)
Next to Ninja in terms of Twitch earnings is Felix Kjellberg, the internet sensation known as PewDiePie. According to reports, he made an estimated $15 million from his video game content on Twitch, trailing just behind Ninja in total earnings.
PewDiePie initially rose to fame on YouTube in 2010, when he first started his live-streaming journey. The 30-year-old Swedish creator would post videos on his channel daily, showcasing his gameplay and adding entertaining commentary for his viewers. Then, in 2017, he started streaming on Twitch through his channel Netglow.
While he was able to amass a sizeable following and generate millions of dollars, PewDiePie’s time on Twitch was not without controversy. In one memorable incident, he lashed out at another player while playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), making racial slurs and offensive remarks in the heat of the moment. That incident, plus the criticism he received for leaving YouTube for its competitor Dlive, caused him to re-evaluate his options.
Eventually, PewDiePie returned to YouTube, stating that he was excited to try out the features it had rolled out to its top creators. “Live-streaming is something I’m focusing a lot on in 2020 and beyond, so to be able to partner with YouTube and be at the forefront of new product features is special and exciting for the future,” he said.
3. Michael Grzesiek (Shroud)
The third richest Twitch streamer to date is Michael Grzesiek, who is known in the gaming world as Shroud. As of this year, he generated $12.5 million in income on Twitch from streaming his FPS and battle royale gameplay.
Shroud became a professional gamer in 2012 when he was still in high school. His dad, who was also very into gaming and technology, was the one who introduced him to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS), through which he started gaining traction. When he later joined Twitch in 2017, he expanded his repertoire, streaming up-and-coming games like Apex Legends and Valorant.
In no time, Shroud would become known as one of the best “aimers” in the first-person shooter category. While he typically flies solo in his videos, he sometimes collaborates with other well-known personalities on Twitch, such as Ninja and DrDisrespect. Surely, those collaborations have contributed to his rise to fame.
Today, Shroud reportedly makes around $150K to $250K per month. He also has the third-highest number of followers on Twitch with an impressive 9.2 million subscribers.
“There isn’t a rule book for how to become a professional video game player. You don’t just grow up planning for it, or even knowing it’s an option. Honestly, it’s the kind of ride that you pinch yourself during to make sure you’re not dreaming it up. When you’re young, just playing because you love it, you don’t plan on ‘going pro,’ you just want to beat your friends or the boss character. And then you wake up, one day, and you’re trying to figure out how to write a retirement statement.”
Can you make a living wage from Twitch?
Ninja, PewDiePie, and Shroud make it look easy, but just how feasible is streaming on Twitch as a full-time job? Well, turns out, it’s a little more complicated than just posting videos and hoping for the best.
According to Life Hacker, concurrent views are a key metric for estimating revenue, as Twitch and its advertisers are looking to measure engagement. Having high engagement also helps to attract paid subscribers that dish out monthly fees between $4.99 and $24.99 to see your content, and those add to your total earnings.
So, let’s say you’ve managed to establish a stable 1,000 concurrent views per stream, as well as 1,000 channel subscribers, as per the example scenario outlined on Life Hacker. Given that the subscribers pay an average of $3.50 per 1,000 views, and sponsorships pay around three cents per view, an average Twitch streamer’s income could look something like this:
10 streams a week = $140 per month
1,000 subscribers paying $3.50 each = $3,500 per month
Bit donations (approximate) = $100
Sponsorships (3 cents per five 1,000-view streams) = $150
YouTube ($5 per 1,000 views) = $50
Altogether, that comes up to $3,940 a month, or $51,220 per year…before taxes and expenses. Fo course, those earnings can always increase as your audience keeps growing, but building a channel takes time, and it’s almost necessary to build followings outside of the app, as it can be quite difficult to generate concurrent views organically on Twitch.
Would you ever quit your job to do live streaming full-time?