Do you like the idea of playing video games and getting paid for it? If so, you might be interested in reading this article as you’ll find out more about how to make money on Twitch.tv, and how you could get started with earning some extra cash whilst having fun.
What is Twitch?
In short, Twitch is an online platform where the users can stream videos of the games they are playing. It’s basically an entertainment website that connects people who loves playing video games to people who wants to be entertained by watching these streamers play video games on tv. One of the reasons this platform is so popular is because the viewers gets the chance to interact with the streamers and the other viewers, by using the chat room on the streamers channels. All comments made can be seen by all the viewers of the channel.
One of the key elements in growing an audience on Twitch, is to be good at interacting with your viewers, while you’re playing. If you’re entertaining to watch, and good at interacting, you’ve got every chance to make an online income from streaming on Twitch.
Twitch has over 15 million active users every day, all playing or watching other people play video games. In other means, if you have an interesting personality and are comfortable being in front of the camera and / or talk in front of an audience, there’s a lot of potential for you to get a lot of viewers, if you decide to start a Twitch channel.
What You’ll Need
There’s a couple of things that is necessary for you to have, in order of getting started with streaming:
- A Good Computer / Mac (or console) – You’ll most likely be streaming from a computer, although you could also stream from a console. If you want to stream from your computer, Twitch recommends that you have at least an Intel Core i5-4670 processor (or an AMD equivalent), 8GigaBytes of RAM and Windows 7 or newer installed. It is also possible to stream using a Mac.
- A Good Internet Connection – Your internet does not have to be lightning fast, but it does need to be decent. Your internet connection should be fast enough to broadcast your video at 720p or more.
- A Twitch Account – You can visit twitch.tv and join for free. After joining, you could start to add a description, custom avatar and a banner so that viewers could learn a little about you.
- Broadcasting Software – The broadcasting software is an important tool to have in your kit, because it allows you to show your gameplay to the world. The most commonly used streaming software is OBS (Open Broadcasting Software), which is completely free to use. Regardless what software you use, setting up a stream basically consists of the same basic steps which is: Picking your sources (computer monitor, webcam or gameplay feed), lay out how it’ll appear for the viewer, sync up your Twitch account and start to go live. Check out the video below, if you’d like to learn more about how to set up your OBS streaming in the best possible quality.
- Microphone and Camera – Although you could get by, using a gaming headset, I would recommend you to get a dedicated microphone so that the viewers can hear you clearly. You’ll also need a webcam if you don’t have one already, if you’re comfortable showing your face to the viewers. Letting them see your face while you’re streaming will allow them to get a better connection with you, which means they’ll be more likely to stay on your channel and watch you and possibly follow you for future streams.
Streaming from a console is also a possibility. If you have a PS4 or an Xbox One, you could start streaming directly from your console, without any extra software or other devices than the free Twitch app for Xbox One. On the PS4, you could just choose to go live right from the system’s Share menu. For other consoles, you’ll have to have a capture card that can record your console gameplay to your pc. Streaming from a console won’t let you customize your stream the way you would from a computer or Mac, but it could still be a good option to use. If you need a good TV to connect to your console, you should check out this article on what to look for when buying a new TV, and also their helpful guide with reviews of the best 4K TVs under $1000.
How to Build an Audience
Building an audience on any platform, isn’t done overnight. You need to put in a lot of work to be able to grow an audience and to start making money on Twitch.
Here’s a few important steps you should consider following in order to get people over to your Twitch-channel:
- Learn how the live streams work – First of all, you should create a free account, and take a look at some of the popular channels on Twitch, just to see firsthand what other people are doing in their streams in order to be more popular. Watch how the streamers interact in the chat system, and pay attention to how the streamers are interacting with the viewers
- Find your niche – This could be a specific game, genre or maybe even a gimmick or something that makes your stream unique. You don’t have to be a pro gamer to be successful on Twitch. What’s most important is to be outgoing, entertaining and engaging. When the viewers see people having fun they’ll be more inclined to stick around on your channel and have fun too.
- Visit other streamers channels and interact with them and their viewers – This is a good way to connect with other streamers and viewers of their channel. This could also lead to a “hosted stream”, which means that the streamer you’re interacting with will allow you to play a game with them, and where they’ll announce your stream to their viewers. This will gain you sudden viewers, which later can be converted to followers who will be back to your channel over time. You could also contact the more popular streamers and see if they are willing to take payments in order to host you on their stream.
- Set a regular streaming schedule – Be consistent. Let fans know when to tune in to watch your streams.
- Use social media to promote your Twitch broadcasts – Show your social media accounts on the side of your twitch stream, and let the audience know where they can find you online. Share info about your broadcasts on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc. To help you gain more exposure it would be a good idea to post videos from your stream on Youtube. This could help you find more people that are interested in the games you are streaming.
- Have your own website – This is a really important part that could potentially lead to you making a lot more money from streaming. By having your own website, you can promote the games you’re playing, the hardware you’re using, and much more. Any items that you use or review could potentially earn you a lot of money in monthly commissions if you add affiliate links to your site. Check out my article about how to become a paid blogger, if you want to know more about how to set up blog/site and how you could monetize it.
As you can see, your networking skills is probably more important than your gaming skills. Once you’ve gained viewers, you need to interact with them and keep them entertained. By doing so you’ll get them to tune back in, stream after stream.
Ways to Make Money on Twitch.tv
Once you start growing your audience, you’ll also start growing your potential to earn money. There are a few ways you can earn money from while streaming video games:
People on Twitch usually likes to support their own. One of the ways they do this is by donating money to their favourite streamers. In order of taking donations, you need to add a “donate” button to your site. If you decide to allow donations, you should use a service like Patreon instead of PayPal, as there is a lot of “trolls” that look for channels that allow donations through PayPal, and then request their money back, leaving you with the return charge fees.
Affiliate / Brand Partnerships
You can create affiliate links for the products you’re using in your stream by signing up for affiliate account at places such as Amazon, Gearbest or Best Buy, just to name a few. Every time someone buys a product using your link, you’ll receive a commission. Basically, all you need to do is to create a list (with your links included) that reads something like “my gaming gear” or something similar to that, and then you could start earning a commission on a regular basis. (Not to be confused with the Twitch affiliate or partner program)
To be able to show ads to your viewers and make a little money for doing so, you’ll need to be a Twitch Partner (more on that later). Once you’ve been accepted into the program, you can begin showing ads in your stream, and receive $2 per 1000 views of the add. It’s not a lot, but still a way to get paid on Twitch.
Once you’ve gained a lot of followers, you can also apply to be sponsored by companies that have products that you use in your stream. Be aware that it could take years to reach this level, and many will never reach it all, regardless of their efforts.
Have Your Own Website
I know I’ve already mentioned this before, but I’ll repeat it again, as this could potentially lead to you making a lot more money from streaming. If you have a dedicated audience, you could even set up an online store and start to sell your own merchandise.
How to Earn Money as a Twitch Affiliate
To become a Twitch Affiliate, you have to meet a specific set of criteria. For an invite to the affiliate program, you must meet these 4 requirements:
- Stream for at least 8 hours in the last 30 days
- Stream on at least 7 unique days in the last 30 days
- Reach an average of 3 viewers per stream
- Grow your audience to at least 50 followers
Once you’ve met these requirements, you’ll get additional opportunities to earn money on twitch:
- Subscriptions – You’ll receive a cut of each subscription, when someone decides to subscribe
- Cheering – Another way for viewers to support the streamers is via virtual cheers, or “bits”, which is a currency Twitch use on their site. 1 bit = 1 US cent. Viewers buy bits (price starts at $1.40 for 100 virtual cheers/bits) and then start handing them out to their favourite streamers, who receives 1 cent for every cheer/bit used in their chat. It doesn’t sound too much, but it could add up fast if you start getting hundreds of these cheers every few minutes.
- Revenue from game sales – Viewers can buy the game you are playing, and in-game add-ons for that game, directly from your channel, using a “buy now” button, which automatically appears when you play a game sold in the Twitch store. You’ll receive a 5% of any purchase that originated from your channel.
How to Earn Money as a Twitch Partner
Partner status is the highest level you can achieve as a Twitch streamer, and is quite difficult to reach as 99% of all the active streamers have not gained entry, according to Twitch. Unlike Twitch Affiliates, where you’ll automatically get invited to join the program, you’ll have to apply to become a Twitch Partner.
The criteria set for becoming partners are more diffuse than for becoming affiliates. You need to stream at least three times per week, and have an established and growing audience and chat. There isn’t any number where you’ll go from being an affiliate to a partner. Partners earns the same way as affiliates and the general users do, and they also receive an ad revenue share, generated from their channel. You’ve also got a lot better chance to get endorsement and sponsorship deals when you’re a Twitch Partner.
The image below shows a side by side comparison of the affiliate program vs the partner program.
Game Over or Game On?
Now, if you still feel this is something that you’d like to try, I’d say go for it. As you can see above, there are quite a few ways you can monetize your Twitch stream. You should remember that it takes time to build an audience, and you have to put in some work to get there. You probably won’t be able to quit your day job by doing this. However, if you enjoy playing video games, it’s possible to leverage it into some side income.