So you want to become a streamer as a fulltime job. Live the dream of playing video games while others watch, as if you're some kind of hero ready to make the best play of the century. It's entirely possible, but unlikely, that your streaming career will take off, just based on simple statistics alone. 

Let's take monetization. To monetize you have to become a partner, unless you accept only donations. To become a partner, you need 500+ viewers on your stream for awhile. Like, regularly. When you boot your stream up, those 500+ viewers need to hop in. To give you some suggestion of how many viewers are on Twitch at any given time, right now only 141 channels have more than 500 viewers and of those 141 channels, several are for LCS and game developers who often don't monetize their channels. 

I'd say 20 are for professional tournament outlets, probably another 10 are for casting shows of those professional tournaments, and the remaining is mostly non-English channels mixed with English channels. So, at any given time, I'd estimate there are only about 50 channels total that are just dudes and gals playing games and streaming. 

These numbers aren't hard statistics, but let's just say that on average, there is a lot of people watching Twitch, but not very many to bring you to the partner level. Getting to that 500 crucial number when Twitch first started as much easier than it is now. 

Now you need people to watch your stream. This is critical. You have to act - you have to perform - you have to entertain. Most streams feature someone who is talking non-stop, actually, if not most of the time, it's a group of three that are talking non-stop. If you're a poor actor, you have to be relevant. Relevance is determined by if you are or are not a pro-gamer for instance. Do you have a million Twitter followers to join into your stream at your whim? No? Well, you need an audience. 

So, to recap, in order to profit off of Twitch you need an audience, a considerably sized audience, that is consistent and wants to check in on your channel every time you stream (at least 3 times a week). That audience, in order to gain it, requires you to be popular already or capable of grinding from the absolute bottom with charm, wit, and some friendships in order to streamers who have already made it to push people into your channel. 

In other words, unless you're ready to dedicate your life to streaming, learn an entirely new set of skills, and focus on playing video games for the amusement of others you are not going to make it anywhere on Twitch. You'll have a couple of viewers who watch your channel and dip out to go watch someone that is already running something they're subscribed to. 

That isn't to say there can't be a rags to riches story on Twitch anymore and I don't want to discourage anyone, but I think some realistic expectations have to be set. I know a lot of friends who ranted about how they were going to become big on Twitch and after a few months of streaming, they decided to throw in the towel and be consumers rather than producers, which great - Twitch only works with both watchers and content producers (with far more people watching than producing). 

If you want to start a career in Twitch, I suggest doing some considerable research. Read a little bit on acting and improv, you'll need to keep an audience entertained while you're streaming, especially if what you're streaming isn't super high-level pro-gameplay. When you do start streaming, try to make friends with others in the community who are just starting and send viewers between each other. 

Most of all, play games that aren't already being played by 1,000s of others. People crave variety and are very loyal to streams that play their specific games (yes there is a huge audience for Farm Simulator 14). Try to play games that others will find interesting and unique and focus on great content. 

Like I said, if the goal is to make it a career, you have to take it seriously. You can't just stream yourself playing a video game and expect to make it big instantly. You have to learn, hone your skills, and dedicate the time to it. This isn't a bad thing, but it's not like it was before. 

That's all I have to say today! Have fun and be safe in Azeroth.

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Last Updated: Mar 15, 2016

About The Author

Xerin 1
Get in the bush with David "Xerin" Piner as he leverages his spectacular insanity to ask the serious questions such as is Master Yi and Illidan the same person? What's for dinner? What are ways to elevate your gaming experience? David's column, Respawn, is updated near daily with some of the coolest things you'll read online, while David tackles ways to improve the game experience across the board with various hype guides to cool games.