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How to become a successful Twitch streamer

Ever wondered how you can make it big as a Twitcher streamer? We've partnered up with successful streamer and gamer, Knightenator, to give expert advice.

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Founded in 2011, Twitch is the world’s largest video streaming platform. It boasts approximately 140 million monthly users and around 15 million daily users. The platform is best known for being the most popular live streaming platform for video gaming content, hosting around 91% of all gaming streaming content and beating out competitors YouTube and Facebook.

In this article, we explore how gamers have taken their online hobby and turned it into a career, by partnering with successful streamer and gamer, Knightenator, to give expert advice.

The rise in popularity of platforms like Twitch and TikTok has seen many young Millennials and Gen-Zers switch their dream careers from movie- and pop-stars to full-time content creators. After all, who wouldn’t want to earn lots of money by playing their favourite video game?

Since the start of the pandemic, the app has seen an 88% increase in new streamers. Twitch went from 5.8 million creators in March 2020 to 9.35 million creators in April 2021. Live streaming is what makes the app unique and creators more relatable. With unscripted content that often lasts for several hours, filled with fan interactions and live reactions, it’s not hard to see why so many tune in to watch their favourite streamers play the latest video games.

Image of KnightenatorKnightenator

[Image credit: Mavreel]

Uswitch has partnered with popular Twitch streamer Knightenator to launch a Twitch School that teaches you how you can turn your video gaming hobby into a career.

Knight has been a successful streamer for over 5 years, and she first discovered her love for video games when she stumbled across RuneScape on MiniClip.com. Since then she has amassed over 50,000 followers on Twitch and can be found streaming mainly Runescape six days a week to her loyal followers.

Knightenator’s top tips to become a successful video game streamer

1. Watch a lot of streamers 

What better way to learn how to become a successful streamer than watching the pros do it themselves? Take the aspects that you like from your favourite streamers and incorporate them into your own channel. Whether that’s a name for your followers, a catchphrase or your on-screen persona, you can craft your own style to attract more viewers and followers.

2. Experiment with your content

When you’re first starting out on Twitch, you can take this opportunity to really experiment with your content.

Whether it’s changing up what game you play, what time you go live or different streaming styles (such as being funny or educational, or both!), take the time to build your brand and learn as you go.

3. Have a memorable screen name

Make sure your username is memorable. Ideally, it shouldn’t be too long, not have too many numbers in and not be a hard word to spell. You’ll want your screen name to be really punchy and memorable, so people can find you easily online.

4. Create social media channels

After you’ve chosen your screen name, make sure it’s the same across all social media platforms. Making your Twitch account is the first step in becoming a streamer, but using social media is vital in promoting your channel, building your brand and connecting with your audience.

5. Use social media to market yourself

Make unique and interesting content to share across different social media platforms to help market yourself and bring people to your stream. Becoming a streamer is now more competitive than ever, so by using other platforms to your advantage you can stand out against your competitors.

Male esports players earn 7,235.5% more than females

Gaming chairs in a rowGaming chairs

Unfortunately, streaming and esports industries have a huge disparity in the gender of their players. Out of the top 500 esports players, only 11 of those are female.

Similar statistics can be found across Twitch, where female streamer Valkyrae placed 27th overall in the most popular streamers based on total hours watched across both male and female streamers, while the next female streamer, Pokimane, placed 98th.

Many female streamers and esports players often face prejudice, including degrading remarks and viewers downplaying their skills. Research has shown that it has led to some women opting for non-gendered or a male identity when playing games online to avoid harassment.

Despite almost half of video gamers being female (45%), women are still in the early stages of success in esports. This inequality can also be seen in the amount female gamers are paid in comparison to their male counterparts. We found that male esport players earned a staggering 7235.5% more than females in the same industry. Male gamers can earn $745,017 from esports, whereas women earn an estimated $10,156.

A survey from PayPal revealed how viewers use PayPal on Twitch and found that 34% of recipients spend more than $50 on streamers in the last three months. However, when it comes to donating to their favourite streamer, 43% of female streamers reveal that they aren’t paid for the content they create, with 38% of men reporting the same. When you take into consideration that 65% of users on Twitch are male, this further demonstrates the gender gap on the platform.

Which countries are most interested in becoming streamers?

In 2017 Twitch partnered with Amazon Prime, which made the platform available to customers in over 200 countries. Our study found which countries’ populations are most interested in becoming a streamer and what game they are most likely to play.

Countries most interested in becoming streamers tableCountries most interested in becoming streamers table

The USA often tops the leader board in esports and streaming rankings, so it’s no surprise that it is the country most interested in becoming streamers. Our study revealed that there were on average 16,200 monthly searches for “how to stream” and “what to stream” in the USA in August 2021.

With thousands of new games released every year, it’s the ​​first-person shooter game, Valorant, that gains the attention of Americans the most with 1,220,000 searches for the game in the last year. Valorant has made a big impression on the gaming community across the world as the firm favourite in 40 countries, including the Philippines who take the second spot on our list of countries most interested in streaming.

The Philippines received 1,300 searches for “how to stream” in the last month. In a 2021 study by Twitter Gaming Insights, the country ranked sixth in states that have tweeted about gaming most often this year so far. Esports is only going from strength to strength in the Philippines as it is home to The Nationals, an esports organization, which focuses on creating new avenues for esports competition and community development in the country.

To round off the top three countries most interested in streaming is the UK. The UK has played an integral part in the global esports growth story, with UK esports estimated to have grown at an annual average rate of 8.5% between 2016 and 2019.

Our study reveals that UK gamers are also keen to learn how to make it big on streaming platforms with on average 1,210 monthly searches for “how to stream” and “what to stream”. Liches is the most searched for game to stream in the UK alongside 32 countries including Germany, South Africa and Italy. 

Best games to play on Twitch to get more viewers

The hardest decision when starting your streaming career is deciding what you’re going to play. While there are no rules on playing a different game every time you stream, many streamers find success by sticking to one game that they become known for.

Our study also looked at which games would be the best to play on Twitch, based on the number of channels that currently play the game and the total hours watched to calculate the average views per channel.

Best game to stream on Twitch tableBest game to stream on Twitch table

Our research found that Super Smash Bros. Melee was the best game to play on Twitch based on the average views per channel, which is around 400 viewers. The iconic game hit consoles in 2001 and has remained a firm favourite of the gaming community for 20 years. It has kept its appeal over the years due to the fact it’s a massive crossover game featuring fan favourite Nintendo characters. The crossover fighting nature of the game hands itself perfectly for streamers who want to be loud and entertaining for their audience.

Aion takes second place on our list, based on the 37 channels we analysed that currently stream the game who have an average of 300 views per channel. Aion is a multiplayer online role-playing game, the game combines PvP and PvE in a fantasy game environment making it the perfect interactive game to entertain your viewers for hours. 

Rounding off the top three is StarCraft. StarCraft is the pinnacle of competitive gaming and can often be seen being played in competitive esports. Despite being released in 1998, this old school game is good to play on Twitch as the average views per channel are 259 viewers based on 44 channels we analysed, meaning you have a stronger chance of gaining an audience. The StarCraft franchise is what helped build Twitch into what it is today. Back in 2011, Twitch had just launched along with it StarCraft II. The platform relied on the game to help build its platform as it was the most popular casual and esport game at the time.

The most profitable esports games

While streaming might still be considered a new phenomenon, competitive esports dates back to the 1970s. Atari’s Space Invaders tournament in 1980 was one of the most popular first-recorded competitive gaming events.

Since then, the esports industry is now on track to reach $1.6bn in revenue by 2024, increasing from just $776m in 2018. Esports has now turned into a high stakes profession, with thousands coming to watch their favourite teams compete for some serious cash. So which games are the most profitable?

Most profitable esports games tableMost profitable esports games table

Taking the number one spot on our list is Dota 2. Dota 2 is considered the biggest esports game in the world, and it’s not surprising it comes out on top. In comparison to solo-playing on Twitch, esports thrives in a team environment.

Dota 2 is a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) game where you have to destroy the enemy’s Ancient before they destroy yours. Although the game might seem easy, in order to win players have to work as a team before they can destroy their opponents. Dota 2 has approximately 4,059 esports players who have won collectively a staggering $234,795,551 which equates to $57,846 per player.

Arena of Valor is a 5v5 MOBA game and it’s one of the most popular games in the world. It is an adaptation of Honor of Kings developed and published for iOS, Android and Nintendo Switch.

Despite being played on a handheld device, this game takes the second-place spot on our list and can earn you some big bucks. There are around 708 competitive Arena of Valor players who have won an estimated $37,516 each thanks to the collective winnings of $26,561,485.

Halo 5: Guardians takes the third-place spot with an estimated $30,350 winnings per player. Its Arena multiplayer mode takes into consideration Halo’s established legacy of skill-based 4-vs-4 competitive combat. There are around 233 competitive Halo 5 players who have won a total of $7,071,480 through their esports efforts.

Competitive gaming set up with monitors and cameraCompetitive gaming set up with monitors and camera

An integral part of streaming or playing esports from home is having a fast enough broadband connection for gaming. The best broadband for gaming is going to be significantly different from the best broadband for simple browsing or streaming.

While you can play online games on a minimum of 3Mbps, ​Google Stadia states that players need a minimum 10Mbps download speed for 720p gaming, and at least 35Mbps if you want to play in 4K.

Once you’ve ensured your Wi-Fi connection is fast enough, you then have to make sure you have the right setup. Gaming monitors heavily vary in price, so starting on the lower end of the price range can be a good stepping stone for a new gamer, but for more experienced gamers a curved screen or 4K monitor will take your gaming set up to the next level.

Methodology

A variety of factors were included in the Famous Twitch Teacher study. 

To determine the average earnings by gender, we used EsportStreamings to look at the difference in average earnings of the top 500 male esports gamers and the top 500 female esports gamers.

The most profitable esports games were calculated based on the average winnings per esports player (games excluded if less than 25 professional esports winners), data was collected on winnings, players and tournaments to calculate the average winnings per player.

Using Twitchtracker we determined the best games to play on Twitch, data was collected on games including; no. viewers, no. channels and hours watched, allowing for views per channel to also be calculated. The views per channel metric were then used to decide which game is the best to play on twitch

Search volume data was collected on the phrases "how to stream" and "what to stream" for all global countries. The figures for both were then added together to show which country was the most interested in becoming streamers and what game was most popular.

All data collected September 2021.

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