Play For a Paycheck

Forget everything your mom told you and go hook up a gaming console – there’s money to be made.

There have always been people who consider themselves full-time gamers, but now they can actually play for a paycheck. Streaming yourself playing video games has curiously become an incredibly lucrative business. A lot of the success in the streaming industry can be attributed to a platform called Twitch. is a live streaming website that allows users to watch other people play video games – really captivating content. Started in June 2011, Twitch has shed its reputation of being a site where a handful of basement dwellers watch each other play games all day and has become a nearly billion-dollar company with some serious backing. Amazon acquired Twitch in 2014 for a ridiculous $970 million; allowing for plenty of money to streamers.

Twitch has a partnership program where they essentially sponsor successful streams and give them the option to monetize content by setting up a subscription service. But the path to becoming a partner is not an easy one. Unlike YouTubers, Twitch streamers must keep the content coming at an on-air telethon’s pace, and it can get comical at times. Some streamers feel they need to do whatever it takes to keep their viewership up; whether it’s dancing, singing, ducking under their desk and pretending their chair is playing the game – whatever it takes.

You might be wondering how much someone playing video games all day can actually make, and the answer is surprisingly infuriating. Twitch partners usually get a 50/50 split of the subscription revenue – which is $2.50 per subscription. Twitch doesn’t release how many subscriptions a streamer has, but they do post followers; the top 25 streamers host no less than 1.3 million followers. According to known streamer Jeffrey Shih, a good streamer can easily make six figures year.

Tyler Blevins, more commonly known on Twitch and YouTube as “ninja,” makes a living playing Fortnite – one of the biggest games of the year boasting a record of 3.4 million concurrent players in February. Blevins made news this month by enlisting rap star Drake to play alongside him online. The tag team smashed the previous Twitch viewing record of 338,000 viewers having 635,000 viewers at its peak. The gaming session brought new viewers to ninja’s already popular channel that has over 100,000 subscribers.

Let’s do some math: with a 50/50 subscription revenue split, Blevins makes $2.50 per subscriber, with 100,000 subscribers, that’s $250,000…a month and $3 million a year…just in subscription revenue. If that doesn’t make you want to run to your local GameStop and boot up a webcam, I don’t know what will.