Always wanted to get paid to play video games? Now’s your chance. Here’s how you can make money on Twitch.
Growing up, you may have been told that playing video games for hours on end won’t pay the bills. Well, we’re here to tell you that it could!
There are thousands of people live streaming themselves playing video games on Twitch. And video games aren’t the only type of content on the site – whether live cooking, making arts and crafts or simply chatting to viewers, there are countless niches to watch.
But can you make money on Twitch?
While streaming on Twitch isn’t a quick way to make money, you can grow it into something quite special with a bit of time and effort. We’re here to show you how to start earning.
What is Twitch?
Twitch is an online video streaming service on which you can stream and watch live content. Live streaming essentially means sending a video across the internet in real-time. This way, you can interact with the viewers while they’re watching your stream. And with around 30 million daily active users, Twitch is one of the best and biggest platforms for this.
While the site heavily focuses on video games, there is a lot of other content on Twitch too – cooking, coding, arts and crafts, making music, ASMR, you name it. Twitch also makes it relatively easy to monetize live streams, allowing thousands of people to earn some extra money.
How much money do Twitch streamers make?
The amount of money streamers make on Twitch varies a lot.
The income depends on various factors, like how many viewers and subscribers you have and how often and how long you stream. And, as we explain below, there are many other ways to make money on Twitch that don’t involve paid subscribers or ads.
Twitch normally doesn’t disclose how much their best-paid streamers earn on the platform, but a leaked document showed some insight. It stated that the highest-paid channel, Critical Role, earned more than $9.6 million between August 2019 and October 2021. And that only includes bits, subscriptions and ads!
While this may sound very exciting, the majority of people streaming on Twitch don’t make nearly that much.
How much do Twitch streamers make per sub?
Paid Twitch subscriptions are one of the biggest earners for streamers. They earn 50% per subscription, while Twitch itself keeps the other 50%.
Keep in mind that there are different subscription tiers, starting at £3.99/month and going up to £19.99/month. Each subscription tier comes with different perks for the viewer. You can also get a discount for paying for multiple months in advance, bringing down the price by 10% – 15%.
However, you are only able to start offering subscriptions on your live stream once you become a Twitch Affiliate or Partner.
Twitch Affiliate vs Partner – what’s the difference?
To start monetizing your channel through Twitch’s own tools, you need to become a Twitch Affiliate or Twitch Partner. To join, your channel has to meet certain requirements (see below). Both of them allow you to start earning money through ads, bits and subscriptions, but there are some differences.
The key difference between the two is that Partner gives you more benefits and features. This includes more custom emotes for subscribers, animated badges and priority support. Twitch Partners can also benefit from extra promotions on Twitch’s own Partner Spotlight, Partner Panels and more.
Twitch Affiliate vs Partner requirements
To qualify for Twitch Affiliate or Partner, you need to meet the following requirements:
|Days of streaming in last 30 days||7||12|
|Hours of streaming in last 30 days||8||25|
On your creator dashboard, you can track your progress towards both the Affiliate and Partner programmes. Once you qualify for Affiliate, Twitch will get in touch with you. Things are slightly different for Partner, however. Once you meet the criteria, you’ll have to manually apply to join.
If your application gets rejected, you can always reapply in the future.
How to make money on Twitch
Here are 11 ways to start making money on Twitch:
Once you’re a Twitch Affiliate or Partner, you’re able to accept bits on your channel. This is Twitch’s virtual currency – it can be bought by viewers and sent to their favourite streamers to support them.
To send bits to a streamer, viewers can ‘cheer’ in the chat. This essentially means you’re donating your bits to them along with a message. Streamers often have notifications set up so they can give a shout-out to the viewer who donated.
There’s also the option to add leaderboards to your channel, to show who donated the most bits. Plus, there are Twitch badges to earn and animated emotions to use in the chat when donating bits.
How much are bits on Twitch?
A donated bit is worth $0.01 – this is how much the streamer earns per gifted bit. They are a bit more expensive to buy as a viewer, as Twitch also takes a small cut. However, you can get a small discount when buying them in bulk.
Along with the ability to accept bits, the Affiliate and Partner programmes allow you to start gaining paying subscribers – another great way to make money on Twitch.
If people like watching your live streams, they can choose to subscribe to your channel for a monthly fee. In return, they’ll get some perks. These can include subscriber badges, access to custom emotes and the ability to watch the stream ad-free.
There are three different tiers, each with extra perks (usually extra custom emotes, but it depends on the streamer):
- Tier 1 – £3.99/month
- Tier 2 – £7.99/month
- Tier 3 – £19.99/month.
As well as paying to become a subscriber themselves, people can also gift subs to other viewers. You can gift subscriptions to specific individuals or to the community (which will then award the subscriptions to random active viewers).
And since Twitch is owned by Amazon, everybody with an active Amazon Prime account can get a free subscription for one channel of their choosing every month.
Ads run on any stream on Twitch, but you can only earn money from it if you’re an Affiliate or Partner. These ads are shown to viewers during the live stream, except if they’re paid subscribers to the channel.
As a Twitch Affiliate or Partner, you can decide when and how long the mid-roll advertisements are on for. However, it’s best not to overload your stream with ads to build a lasting community – especially with so many other ways to make money on Twitch.
We’ve already mentioned donating bits as a way to earn money on Twitch. However, if you don’t qualify for Twitch Affiliate or Partner yet, you can still accept other donations. You can do this by adding a PayPal donation button to your channel description.
But even if you do accept bits already, a PayPal donation button is still a great way to earn some extra money. It means you’ll get the full 100% of what people donate (instead of Twitch taking a cut like with bits).
While viewers won’t get the donation badge in the chat, like with bits, you can still set up leaderboards for PayPal donations and give them a shout-out during your live streams.
Many Twitch streamers make money by taking advantage of affiliate marketing. Essentially, this means posting links to products or services, and if someone makes a purchase through these links, you earn a commission.
The types of products and services you can promote depend on your content. For example, as a video game streamer, you can promote the equipment you use to play games.
You can check out our full guide to affiliate marketing to learn the ins and outs.
Once you start growing your audience, brands could take notice. And you don’t need millions of followers or viewers for this. If the brand aligns with your content and your viewers are engaged, this could work out very well.
Sponsorships can be approached in various ways. For example, you could mention products, add a brand logo to the stream or link to the brand in your description. Alternatively, if the brand has an affiliate programme, you can combine affiliate marketing with sponsorships to increase your income.
If your community on Twitch grows, you can eventually even create your own merchandise. Especially since Twitch is such a community-driven platform, loyal fans are often keen to feel involved.
You can use your logo for merch. Or, if you have an inside joke with your community, this often works well too.
Don’t see this as a quick cash grab though! Make sure the products are of good quality and are things you would also be happy to purchase. You don’t want to disappoint the people who support your streams.
Starting a Patreon page does take some extra work, but it’s a great way to diversify your income from Twitch.
This is especially a great option if you’re not part of the Affiliate or Partner programme yet, as you’ll still be able to start growing a paying subscriber base.
On Patreon, you can offer platform-exclusive content, share extra tips and tricks or give people access to Patreon-exclusive discord channels (if your community has a discord!).
Youtube ad revenue
Creating additional content on other platforms can help you increase your Twitch income even further. There are multiple ways to do this, but repurposing your Twitch streams and making them into YouTube videos is a great option.
For example, you can make a streaming highlights compilation. Or, you can create tutorials for the video games you stream. Not only can you earn YouTube ad revenue from it, but you may be able to reach a new audience who will join your stream in the future.
We have another guide on how to make money on YouTube for some extra tips.
If all these hours of streaming have turned you into a pro at a certain video game, you could consider joining a tournament. While the big events are usually held for esports professionals, there are lots of smaller tournaments keen to have streamers enter.
Depending on the game, you can do this as an individual or a team (with other streamers, for example).
Broadcasting a tournament makes for some great content for your community. You may even gain some new fans if you do well.
Gifts from viewers
There are some great plugins you can use on your channel where viewers can gift you physical items. While this isn’t exactly earning money from Twitch, it can save you money.
With Throne, for example, you can create an Amazon Wishlist. Viewers can then decide to buy a gift for you from this list.
If you’d rather get free food, check out Treat Streams – supporters can order you a takeaway on this app.
Both services keep your personal information confidential, so you don’t have to worry about any of your viewers finding out your address.
How to stream on Twitch
There’s no one right way to stream on Twitch, and it also depends on what type of content you’re planning to put out there. And luckily, you don’t need a lot to start streaming.
This is what you need to set up a Twitch stream:
- Twitch account – You can get a Twitch account for free and start setting up your channel within minutes
- Laptop/PC – While you can stream from your gaming console or a phone, having a laptop or PC helps to improve the quality of your stream
- Camera – This can be the webcam on your laptop when you start, but it’s also possible to connect a more professional camera to your computer
- Microphone – Chatting with your viewers is essential for keeping them engaged, so make sure you have a microphone set up for your stream
- Streaming software – With free software like OBS or Twitch Studios, you can start broadcasting directly to Twitch.
Once your channel starts to grow, you could improve some of your gear to create better content. But when you’re just starting out, focus on creating streams that are fun to watch.
Setting up a schedule can help, so people know when they can tune in. And, most importantly, be your engaging self!
Would you rather watch streams than make them? Check out how to make money from watching videos.