If your mother and father told you that you were wasting your time playing all those video games growing up- you may actually get the last laugh. The live streaming scene has erupted in recent years, and is showing no signs of slowing down. Thanks to popular online streaming platforms, such as Twitch.tv, as well as the rising popularity in online gaming, it has become easier than ever to make a living (and then some) off of playing video games.
The easiest and quickest way to get started getting paid to play video games, is through Live Streaming. Twitch.tv is by far the biggest and most popular platform for online streaming. Twitch.tv is owned by Amazon and according to Stream Hatchet stats quoted in the Hollywood Reporter, hours watched on Twitch in Q1 2020 topped 3 billion hours for the first time since launch. In addition to Twitch.tv, some streamers prefer to use other avenues to stream such as YouTube & Facebook, although neither come close to the popularity and reach of Twitch.
Streamers typically make money through live streaming by donations and stream subscriptions. Donations are voluntarily donated by the stream viewers, and can vary in amount based on the donators generosity. Subscribing to a channel on Twitch is a great way to provide support to the streamer, while accessing channel-specific perks like emotes or badges. The subscription service is billed monthly, and starts at $4.99 and has a tiered structure upwards. Twitch keeps half of the subscription fee, but the streamer keeps 100% of the donations made from the viewers. In addition to donations and stream subscriptions, many of the biggest streamers now get endorsement deals to promote products or services, similar to athletes.
But it’s no longer just gamers that can utilize the Twitch platform. Musicians, athletes, comedians and various other streamers have also found their way to Twitch live streaming as well. From Timbaland and T-Pain, to Alex Caruso and JR Smith, there is no shortage of celebrity on the platform. As live events were cancelled across the world in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, millions of people turned to live streaming shows to stay entertained via virtual concerts, DJ sessions, and other live events. It’s no surprise that celebrities and other professionals gravitated to the platform to maintain their livelihood during the pandemic.
And the future of live streaming only looks brighter. Twitch viewership grew a whopping 100% Y.O.Y for the month of January, from 941 million hours watched in 2020, to over 2 billion in January 2021. There is no question that a world altering global pandemic that kept millions of people sheltered inside likely assisted with these numbers. But when entertainers like Twitch streamer, and former professional Overwatch player, Félix Lengyel (aka xQcCow) are pulling in nearly $2 million dollars a year while playing video games…that’s enough to make mom and dad take a second thought about grounding you from your video games for bad grades.