A platform which allowed people to live stream while they played video games was released in June 2011, giving birth to the Twitch phenomenon.
To this date the most ever users to visit a stream came in March, 2018, when 628,000 users joined Tyler “Ninja” Blevins on his channel after rapper Drake promoted it over his social media channels.
The famous rapper paired up with Ninja for a couple of games of Fortnite and just to get the internet buzzing a little more they filled out their team with rapper Travis Scott and NFL rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster.
The squad ended up with some victories under their belts and it was the beginning of a trend.
Celebrities are no strangers to the eSports scene. Rick Fox, former NBA player, owns one of the most popular League of Legends teams. Shaquille O’Neal and Alex Rodriguez own an Overwatch team. Following this trend it was only a matter of time before they joined popular streamers.
In an interview, Blevins admitted he earns around $500k every month and he basically just plays Fortnite on Twitch twice a day. Each stream lasts around four hours and often features special guests. Ninja also teams up with other streamers who are also benefiting from his popularity.
Ninja is the most successful but not the only streamer to play video games for a living, however becoming popular on Twitch is not easy. There are hundreds of streamers that are trying to make it and the streamers must invest time and resources to increase the quality of their content. It is a full time job because they should also keep active social accounts to help get new viewers.
This new wave of online personalities have different ways to earn money. Once they become partners on the platform, they receive a kick each time someone subscribes to their channel. Streamers can also get donations from the audience. There have been notorious donations. For example, Drake pledged to donate $5,000 to Ninja if he won a game. Popular streamers often get endorsement from different companies. A streamer can be sponsored by an esports organization, a technology brand and a game developer. They often promote the brands but most of their income derives from the subscribers.
Ninja has around 120,000 viewers every time he is online with no other streamer comparing to this success. As a comparison the most popular League of Legend streamer only gets around 60,000 viewers.
The key to Ninja’s success is his personality. He is a relaxed guy that enjoys the game and engaging with the audience. Ninja also invites other popular streamers to play with him, a technique used to help each other.
Streaming video games is an attractive career path but not everyone can make it on this environment. The gaming community tends to be “toxic”.
Even famous people can feel the wrath of the Twitch community, just ask Logan Paul, the controversial Youtuber, who tried to get into the Twitch game, but instead received two hours of insults from passionate fans.