Gaming has seen one of the largest and most rapid revolutions over the past decade. In 2009 the video game industry generated $19.7 billion in revenue. Nine years later the video game industry generated $119.6 billion in revenue. That is an incredible 504% increase in revenue in just a nine year period. For less than a decade, that is quite the rapid increase! It is important to understand how we got to this point because this growth did not come out of nowhere.
The video game industry can attribute a large part of its success to the mobile gaming industry. Believe it or not, mobile gaming holds a large portion of the video game market. In 2018 mobile gaming accounted for 47% of the global gaming market generating over $63.2 billion. This rise in mobile gaming can be attributed to the increase in technology and the accessibility of smartphones. Think about it, how many people do you know that do not own a smartphone? As technology gets better it becomes cheaper to access better gear.
Technology is rapidly getting better and more powerful and those who create this tech are only getting better at it by finding and creating ways to lower the cost making it more accessible to the public. With the rise in gaming more people began to play them and the social stigma of gaming went away. As this was happening we saw the eSports industry take off.
eSports is defined as competitive tournaments of video games. These tournaments today draw in a large number of viewers and spectators. Of course these tournaments became popular because just like physical sports such as football people want to watch the best of the best play. That is where streaming comes into play. Streaming platforms such as Twitch, Mixer, and even YouTube took off from this. With this move toward streaming, people began to realize money could be made from live streaming video games.
Twitch in 2019 on average brings in more than 15 million daily active users. These viewers combined to watch more than 355 billion minutes of live streams. That is an incredible 246,527,778 days of people watching other people play video games. Now that we know how vast the live streaming industry is lets take a look at the most popular streamers and personalities and how they make their money. Special thanks to Florian Olivo for the cover image.
It was reported in early 2019 that Tyler “Ninja” Blevins was earning a mind boggling $500,000 a month from his live streaming. When Ninja was on Twitch he had more than 160,000 paid subscribers and nearly 13 million followers. These paid subscribers pay $5 a month to Twitch and in return the streamer gets about $2.50 for each paid subscription. That means that Ninja made about $400,000 just from Twitch subscriptions alone. Combined this with his YouTube channel where he has another 22 million subscribers which pays differently than Twitch he had more than 35 million viewers on his content channels. However Ninja brings in even more money through his partnerships and deals. Ninja is partnered with many different companies, but the most notable include Samsung, Red Bull, Uber Eats, and Adidas.
In August of 2019 Ninja made the announcement that he would be moving his streams exclusively to Microsoft’s streaming platform called Mixer. With this move to Mixer he signed an undisclosed contract. Experts say that this contract could be as high as $100 million for his Mixer move. We may never know how much Ninja got paid for this transition, but we can assume that it is a very large number in the millions. Mixer has since announced it is shutting down and moving to Facebook gaming, leaving Ninja to have to make some big decisions.
I love my community and what we built together on Mixer. I have some decisions to make and will be thinking about you all as I make them.
— Ninja (@Ninja) June 22, 2020
To further capitalize on his fame Ninja launched a website where you can buy his merchandise. From hoodies, t-shirts, and posters you can be decked out in his gear. There are no reports on how much Ninja makes from his merchandise and clothing.
Michael Grzesiek better known by his in game name “Shroud” is a former Counter Strike Global Offensive player. Shroud is not as well known to the general public as Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, but has amassed a very dedicated and large following in the gaming world. The last estimate from sources stated that Shroud was worth nearly $3 million as of 2018. In October 2019, he signed a deal with Mixer. With Mixer shutting down, Shroud now has to make a new decision about where to stream.
I appreciate the Mixer community and everything I’ve been able to do on the platform. I love you guys and am figuring out my next steps. 💙
— Michael Grzesiek (@shroud) June 22, 2020
When Shroud was streaming on Twitch he averaged nearly 650,000 views per day. These viewers watch ads over the course of the stream and with these ads come revenue. From these advertisements come money and it is estimated that Shroud made $1,200+ per day or $440,000 per year from these advertisements alone.
Most streamers who play competitive video games like Shroud on Counter Strike are signed to a team. Shroud is part of the gaming team Cloud 9. These teams are partnered with sponsors like HTC, Logitech, and many more gaming and tech companies. With these sponsors come even more money.
Like most large streamers, Shroud also has merchandise that he sells. On his merchandise store you can find apparel such as t-shirts hoodies, pants, sunglasses, and hats.
Tfue is one of the most interesting and fast-rising streamers on Twitch. Before the Fortnite World Cup which took place this past summer Turner “Tfue” Tenney was the highest earning Fortnite player and one the highest earning eSports players of all time. Earning more than $500,000 from tournaments alone he quickly established himself in the streaming world. His current earnings total over $600k from gaming tournaments alone. (source)
You may have seen Tfue’s name in the news recently due to his legal battle with his former team Faze Clan. This dispute was over his contract which he signed very early in his Fortnite career. Tfue claimed that he was getting a majority of his streaming revenue taken away by the team and that his contract was “illegal.” Tfue was ultimately released by Faze Clan, but the lawsuits are far from over.
Currently on Twitch, Tfue has more than 7.2 million followers making him the second most followed streamer behind Ninja. With over 20,000 active subscribers on Twitch, it is very likely that he is one of the highest earning on the platform currently since Ninja and Shroud’s departures. In January 2019, his paid subscribers peaked at over 50,000!
Benjamin Lupo appeared to gain success overnight after playing Fortnite with the aforementioned Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, but he has been streaming for some time. His story, like many others, involves years of dedication, daily streams, and passionate involvement in the gaming community. Not to mention thousands of hours live, sharing tips and funny content for his fans.
He is better known by his streaming name DrLupo. DrLupo has made a name for himself in the gaming world by playing professionally for Rogue Gaming, a professional esports organization. He streams games like Fortnite, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Escape from Tarkov, and Destiny frequently. DrLupo can also be seen commentating on Fortnite tournaments where he is a “play by play” announcer and caster for these tournaments.
DrLupo on Twitch has nearly 4 million followers frequently averaging 5-10k concurrent viewers during his streams. It is estimated that he earns about $1.9 million yearly from his streaming and partnerships.
DrLupo uses his fame and influence to help others. Most notably in June of 2019 he raised over $1 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital by hosting a stream dedicated to raising money for the cause. He partnered with other streamers and celebrities, had fun challenges and bonuses for donators, and educated people on what this was all for. Watch the full story below.
Timothy John Bater aka TimtheTatman is known for his fun and lively Twitch streams. You will often find TimtheTatman dominating Fortnite lobbies with DrLupo and Ninja, but he streams a variety of games that include World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and the latest Call of Duty.
TimtheTatman has an estimated net-worth of over $4 million. This net worth comes from his partnerships with brands such as Monster Energy, Razer. and Audio-Technica to name a few. On Twitch he has over 35,000 subscribers that nets him about $1.8 million yearly and to go along with this he has another 1.75 million subscribers on his YouTube channel.
TimtheTatman also actively gives back to the community in creative ways. Tim’s done multiple charity streams raising money for various charities. Sometimes he supports individuals too! In one of his streams he made a deal with an aspiring streamer he randomly matched up with. The deal was that if he and Brady, the boy he was matched with, won the game he would get Brady a new computer. Check out the video below to see how it turns out.
DrDisRespect who’s real name is Guy Beahm is another large streamer who makes a lot of money from streaming. Guy is known best for playing Call of Duty Black Ops 4, but has made a name for himself in other games such as League of Legends, Fortnite, and Player Unknown Battlegrounds.
On Twitch DrDisRespect has amassed a whopping 3,723,212 followers. These followers have combined to amass 144,943,140 views total on his Twitch channel.
Visiting his Twitch channel you will find him in character wearing a jet black mullet wig, sunglasses, and a tactical military vest. He can be easily recognized by his mustache, that would put Burt Reynold’s mustache to shame, that he refers to as “Slick Daddy” or the “The Poisonous Ethiopian Caterpillar.”
Imane Anys better known to her Twitch viewers as Pokimane has made a splash in the streaming world. As of October of 2019 Pokimane has become the most popular woman on Twitch. According to Social Blade, Pokimane has the 12th most followed channel on Twitch.
Pokimane has 3,499,563 followers with more than 80 million total channel views on her Twitch account. You will often find her playing League of Legends, Fortnite or Just Chatting. On her YouTube channel Pokimane has more than 4 million subscribers and has amassed more than 325 million total views on her uploaded videos. With these numbers she has earned more than millions in revenue.
Pokimane gained her fame after competing in Fortnite’s Pro-Am tournament in 2018. Pokimane has a very laid back personality and is often found interacting with her viewers. She also has a great sense of humor and is often joking around on her stream.
Pokishop is Pokimane’s merch and lifestyle brand where she sells hoodies, tees, and sweatpants. Like many other streamers and influencers, Pokimane has supplemented her income with a very lucrative merchandising business.
TSM Daequan is part of a gaming organization called “Team Solo Mid” or “TSM” for short. Daequan gained his fame from playing Fortnite and was one of Fortnite’s earliest stars. Winning and frankly dominating many of the early Fortnite tournaments. He is a Fortnite content creator first, but has an extensive gaming history of playing games like “Destiny” and “GunZ the Duel.”
You can catch Daequan on his streams playing games and cracking jokes with his viewers. You will often hear him freestyle rapping to beats and yelling some of his famous catch phrases. “Gimme them toes” and “oooga booga” are some of his catchphrases you will hear him yelling on stream.
Currently on Twitch, Daequan has 3.7 million followers plus another 5.2 million subscribers on YouTube. These numbers add up to make him one of the highest paid streamers in 2019.
Jaryd “Summit1g” Lazar is a known in the gaming community as one of the best first person shooter players in the world. Summit1g plays a lot of games from World of Warcraft to Grand Theft Auto V to Sea of Thieves.
On Twitch, Summit1g has the 8th highest follower count with nearly 4 million total followers and over 300 million total views on his streams. Summit is also another one of the most subscribed streamers on Twitch with over 20,000 active subscribers.
SypherPK is a longtime gamer who has seen success first on YouTube and more recently on Twitch. SypherPK began his streaming and content creation career on the popular game “Runescape.” Like many of the other streamers on this list SypherPK gained his fame from Fortnite.
You will often find SypherPK on his streams playing Fortnite as a high level. He is not a professional Fortnite player, but rather a very talented Fortnite content creator. He is part of the Luminosity Gaming team in which “Ninja” is also a part of. Currently on Twitch, SypherPK has about 2.6 million followers on the streaming platform.
One of the most popular aspects of his streams are his “Educational Commentaries.” In these commentaries SypherPK helps his audience understand the game of Fortnite more by offering in depth tutorials and guides.