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If you had told someone back in the early 2000s that you were going to play games for a living, they would have probably laughed in your face. Today, things have changed greatly in this regard as there are many different ways in which one can play video games and make serious money from doing it.

Professional e-Sports players are just some of the people who make good money from playing games, but a whole new breed of gamers has also emerged in recent years, and they often make even more money than e-Sports players.

Video game streaming has picked up massive pace recently, with hundreds of streamers on platforms like Twitch and YouTube Gaming making this their primary occupation. The top 10 biggest Twitch streamers now make tens of thousands of dollars per month according to Ken Johnson from Evolutionofsports.com and this is just one of the ways they monetize their online presence.

We tried to find out just how Twitch streamers make their money, how much they can possibly make and whether or not this is a sustainable way to make a living in 2020.

How Do They Make Money?

If you are a novice to the concept of streaming, you may be wondering how exactly someone who is streaming video games would be making money. After all, they are just sitting there and playing a video game, so why exactly would anyone pay them to do this.

The fact is that there are two major income streams for streamers. A part of their income comes from satisfied customers who enjoy watching the stream. Some of these will pay a fixed subscription per month, which may give them access to additional streams or even just fun things like exclusive stickers to use in the chat box. Subscriptions exist mostly as a way for viewers to support their favorite streamers. The other way viewers can support streamers is through donations, which are done in the bit currency, which has a value similar to a cent. A 500 bit donation will give the streamer a $5 donation.

Regardless of whether people want to subscribe or donate, streamers with a high viewership will always have an income stream, as they will be earning from advertisements. Streamers are usually paid per 1.000 ad views, with ads usually showing up before or after a stream, and options also existing to play a 30 second ad at any random time.

Can Serious Money be made?

Most skeptics would expect Twitch streamers to be making a small income from their massive viewership, as they are “not really doing anything”. However, this could not be further from the truth and to be completely realistic, Twitch streaming is as much of a job as any other form of entertainment.

Going into actual numbers, we found that there are many different streamers who are making tens of thousands of dollars every month from their subscriptions alone. Every subscription costs the user $4.99 and at least half of that goes to the actual streamer. This may seem as a small amount, but considering that streamers like DisguisedToast have thousands of subscribers who pay this fee monthly, you can easily do the math and figure out that he is making some serious cash.

Of course, subscriptions are not the only way streamers make money and there is usually more cash in donations and ad money than subscriptions themselves. If you add these numbers to the tens of thousands that are already made from subscriptions, you could be talking a million dollars a year for some of the top streamers.

In fact, according to a Reuters report from 2019, Tyler “Ninja” Belvins actually got paid $1.000.000 in cold hard cash by EA Sports simply to play their game Apex Legends on his stream. That a million dollars in direct advertisement fee, with anything extra he made just being a cherry on the top.

Of course, streamers are not at liberty to discuss their actual numbers, but we don’t need to know them to understand that some of these guys could be living a millionaire lifestyle provided by nothing else than playing the games they enjoy and doing some fun commentary along the way.