The unique world of Twitch streaming

The unique world of Twitch streaming

Jessi Rich, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The digital turn–the global evolution into ubiquitous tech and Internet culture–has birthed a number of new and distinctive professions, whether that’s creating content on YouTube, modeling clothes and other products on Instagram or dancing on TikTok. Among these new careers, however, one multimillion dollar industry sticks out: Twitch streaming.


Twitch is a website and app where people can live-stream themselves doing a number of activities, like making crafts or participating in other hobbies like cooking or music. That being said, Twitch’s main and most lucrative use is notably in the realm of gaming.


Twitch users can browse through a sea of categories to find streamers playing specific games they enjoy, and can watch and interact with those streams for hours on end. Popular games include Halo, League of Legends, Fortnite, Minecraft, Overwatch, and most recently, Among Us. It may not seem like it, but the combination of ad revenue, channel subscriptions, donations and contracts with eSports organizations like Blizzard Entertainment has some streamers raking in six-figure amounts monthly.


For instance, Twitch streamer Tyler Blevins, better known as Ninja, recently claimed the title of most followed streamer with a total of 16.8 million followers on the platform. According to the Loadout, Ninja, a Fortnite streamer, can be estimated to make between $400k and $800k per month. Other avenues for earning some major cash include selling merchandise and other commercial sponsorships.


Among current day youth, there’s a rising interest in pursuing careers through YouTube or Twitch streaming rather than the more traditional 9-to-5. Of course, it’s hardly a steady career path, and many Twitch streamers can go weeks, months, or years streaming to absolutely no one at all. 


The Verge states that the Twitch platform “attracts over two million broadcasters every month,” and with so many fish in the sea, it’s difficult to get noticed. On top of being skilled at gaming, these streamers also have to entertain with humorous or likeable personas, which isn’t always an easily achievable combination.


It’s especially difficult for streamers to grow a viewership when they’re playing games around which the bigger streamers have already built monopolies, like Fortnite or Overwatch. Indie or more “niche” games with a smaller number of players may attract more dedicated viewers.


“It’s so hard to break into streaming now,” says Redditor CodeMonkeyX in this thread discussing the numerous hardships facing new streamers. “You either have to have a following already…or be very lucky. So if you start streaming, you basically just have to enjoy playing games and want to share that with whomever wants to watch.”


When it comes down to it, the pros often outweigh the cons even for streamers with low or nonexistent amounts of viewers. Whether it’s staving off loneliness or providing an outlet for streamers to express their beliefs and opinions, streaming transforms a stereotypically solitary hobby into a way to share a sect of the human experience with viewers all over the world.


By: Jessi Rich

Image: Tom’s Guide