Rounding it up
You can make a nice chunk of change on Twitch but you’ll have to build an audience without much revenue to get started.
Facebook Gaming and YouTube Gaming are the two main rivals to Twitch and both offer similar options.
There are a number of other platforms out there but are they worth it?
Find out everything you need to know about streaming on platofrms other than Twitch.
Streaming your video game action is all the rage right now. People are watching others play video games and, in many cases, paying for the pleasure. In fact, as of 2021, the video game streaming industry is worth $2.1 billion and is on track to be valued at $3.5 billion by 2025. People watch video game streaming services like Twitch for a lot of different reasons and there are a lot of people doing it.
Twitch, however, is crowded. Content creators are churning out new videos every day and it can be difficult to break in without some luck and a healthy expenditure on equipment. So is there a way to get yourself paid for playing video games on other platforms? Sure is. Read one to learn more.
What can I make on Twitch?
Before we get into the alternatives, let's take a look at what you could (theoretically) be making on Twitch. With more than 15 million daily active users and 355 billion minutes of content watched, there’s lots of eyeballs to go around.
If you’re reading this article, you’re likely not yet a pro video game streamer and are just looking to get going. Making money on Twitch as a novice can be hard work but it can also pay off considerably. The first, and main way, for novice streamers to make money on Twitch is via the donation button. If you’re creating content that people like, they’ll be more likely to donate to you. Simply adding this button will allow them to send some cash your way.
Secondly, you can look into brand sponsorships. Video game brands and video game makers themselves often partner with streamers to help get their products in front of people who will buy them. You can place referral links on your profile that will allow you to get a small kickback if a viewer clicks on and buys a product via your link. Sponsors won’t come to you so it’s best to do some legwork and find products you can market. Keep in mind, you’ll likely have to buy them upfront and you’ll need an existing audience to draw attention from sponsors.
One of the other main ways streamers make money on Twitch is via their affiliate program. Here, viewers can subscribe to your channel at the $4.99, $9.99, or $24.99 a month level and you receive a cut of the cost. There are some requirements for joining, however:
A minimum of 500 total minutes broadcasted
A minimum of seven different broadcast days
An average of three concurrent viewers or more
At least 50 followers
Finally, viewers can purchase virtual cheers, called Bits on Twitch, that can be put into the chat. Each one is worth about a penny, which the streamers receive directly.
The professional streamers, those making thousands or millions of dollars a year, are also Twitch partners. Partners get a cut of the ad revenue their pages produce and are more likely to get sponsored or endorsed by brands.
As you can see, it can be tough to make any meaningful money on Twitch. In fact, there are some things you need to think about if that’s your goal. However, you may have slightly better luck on some of the other platforms in the space.
Other than Twitch, there are a number of different streaming sites available to you. They all have pros and cons and each has a different niche. Checking out a few will help you decide where you should spend your videogame time.
One of only two true competitors to Twitch at the moment, Facebook Gaming, received a nice boost when Microsoft’s streaming service, called Mixer, folded and agreed to redirect visitors to its service. Launched in 2018, boasting more than 230 million monthly users, Facebook Gaming streamers can enjoy similar features to those found on Twitch.
Facebook Gaming has one stand-out going for it, too: it won’t be taking any cut of subscription revenue until 2023. This can make a huge difference if you’re a fledgling streamer. Subscriptions start at $4.99 a month and can be set from there. It’s important to note that streamers will get 100% of the subscription revenue made on the web but only 70% made on mobile devices. This covers the 30% taken by the app stores.
In order to be eligible, streamers must meet certain requirements such as having 10,000 followers or over 250 “return viewers” and either 50,000 post engagements or 180,000 watch minutes within 60 days. Stars, similar to Twitch’s Bits, can be purchased and awarded by viewers and are similarly valued at about a penny.
The other rival to Twitch is YouTube Gaming, which operates substantially similar to it and Facebook Gaming. Advertisements, subscriptions, and sponsorships are all available, as is Super Chat, YouTube’s version of Bits or Stars. Subscriptions are only enabled for streamers that meet fairly strict requirements and streamers get 70% of the revenue:
A minimum of 1,000 subscribers
At least 4,000 hours of total watch time within the last year
At least 18 years old
Have an AdSense account
No community guideline strikes
Content must adhere to YouTube’s various policies
These requirements can make the barrier to entry quite high for new streamers. Still, YouTube is a known brand with plenty of eyeballs.
There are some other platforms apart from Twitch and the two main competitors above. They are, however, a tier down in their revenue generation, sheer size, and the number of eyeballs. Simply put, Twitch, Facebook, and YouTube have the market fairly well cornered. Still, getting started on a small platform can be helpful as you build an audience.
DLive has about 5 million active users and offers similar features as the more popular platforms. The interesting take here is that payments are made in the company’s cryptocurrency, the Lino, which is worth just over a penny. Streamers can potentially make money by simply holding the currency and gaining interest.
Vimeo is a video-sharing site that does much of its business hosting videos. You can offer subscriptions and sponsorships via Vimeo and it's an ideal platform if you have content you’d like to share that is evergreen and you don’t want to rely on Google, Amazon, or Facebook revenue share.
One other alternative is DailyMotion, which offers similar revenue opportunities via ads and sponsorships. The big advantage here is that DM allows you to stream your content to a variety of different outlets simultaneously.
All the platforms above pay you for your gaming but what about paying yourself back? KOHO makes that easier with the Gamer card. You can get up to 5% cash back on video game purchases and 2% back on food and dining. Why not get rewarded for the hard work you’re putting into streaming, right?
So it can be done!
It can! Twitch isn’t the only fish in the streaming sea. Understand, however, that streaming successfully requires a fairly large commitment to hardware and more than just a passing attempt at showmanship. The streamers that are successful got that way because they put on an entertaining show in addition to playing their games.
Dan is a runner and writer living in the Washington, D.C. area, where he currently works for a financial services trade association as the Communications Director.