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Currently, Twitch has 100 million unique monthly users and 2 million streamers. By 2020, estimates predict that Twitch could be worth $20 billion, and generate $1 billion in annual revenue.
Live video streaming is becoming an increasingly popular way for consumers to enjoy gaming, TV, movies, and sports in real time. Twitch, a livestreaming video platform owned by Amazon has created a community of streamers and viewers that is centered around online video gaming.
Twitch’s success depends on its streamers — influencers who produce content and attract the large audience the platform regularly accommodates. Here are the top 10 streamers on Twitch and see what makes these influencers so popular.
26-year-old Tyler Blevins, who goes by the online alias of Ninja, runs Twitch’s most followed channel with over 4 million followers making over $500K per month from livestreaming Fortnite, an online action game. As a former competitive Halo gamer, Blevins is no stranger to professional gaming but recently decided to step away from esports to focus on streaming.
In addition to a $6 million yearly paycheck, Ninja is enjoying some other perks that have come with his streaming success. In March 2018, rap artist Drake joined the top Twitch influencer for a livestreamed lesson on Fortnite. Their stream gained a record-breaking 635,429 concurrent Twitch spectators, surpassing Summit1g’s previous record by almost a quarter million viewers.
Jaryd Lazar, the gamer behind the Twitch channel Summit1g, is also an expert Fortnite player on his way to reaching 3 million followers on the platform. From January to March 2018, Lazar was the most followed Twitch influencer until Ninja surpassed him with his quick rise to success.
Lazar proves that video games aren’t just for kids. While he now spends most of his time streaming, the 30-year-old retired from playing professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive after earning spots on competitive gaming teams as well as sponsorships from companies like Monster Energy and Audio-Technica.
Michael Grzesiek, the Canadian eSports player also known as shroud, enjoyed success with a number of eSports teams before deciding to step down from competing to stream full time on Twitch. Throughout his career, shroud has won a number of achievements, including several first and second place finishes in competitions. Most recently, he played with the eSports team Cloud9, and he remains a substitute for the team while he focuses on his Twitch streaming.
His Twitch channel has 2.7 million followers and features several gaming streams — his favorite games to play are Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and Fortnite: Battle Royale. Streaming allows Grzesiek to not only showcase his gaming skills, but also engage audiences with his humorous commentary.
The action video games Fortnite, Minecraft, and Call of Duty are trademarks of Tom Cassell’s Twitch channel Syndicate. The English gamer was the first person to reach one million Twitch followers and is also an extremely popular YouTuber. His YouTube gaming channel of the same name has nearly 10 million subscribers and his daily vlog channel Life of Tom has an impressive 2.5 million.
Cassell is also an active entrepreneur. He is the vice president of the gambling website CSGOLotto.com and in 2014 developed his own clothing line, SyndicateOriginal. He has also been the subject of more than one controversy. In 2013, Microsoft paid him and other YouTubers $30,000 to promote games made for its newly released Xbox One, which Cassell failed to disclose. He received similar backlash in 2016 when he and a business partner promoted CSGO Lotto without disclosing their joint ownership.
Surely “cutie pie” isn’t the first description that comes to mind when looking at 26-year-old retired League of Legends professional gamer Michael Santana. Santana maintains 2.2 million Twitch followers and 1.5 million YouTube subscribers. His rapturous fans know him by his online alias “Imaqtpie.”
Santana’s illustrious gaming career formed the foundation of his online success and today, gaming continues to serve as his main form of income. His management company has said that he earns $2 million per year as an influencer. In addition to his skillful gameplay, followers enjoy his funny personality and unique taste in music; Rolling Stone reports that his gaming soundtrack features mostly rap and hip-hop.
Like many of the above mentioned Twitch Streamers, Rabia Yazbek has made a name for himself through Fornite livestreams. His channel Nightblue3 is also home to consistently entertaining commentary and League of Legends live play.
The 24-year-old Michigan-based gamer also maintains a popular YouTube channel with nearly 2.5 million subscribers. His ability to monetize his online presence is notable; during a single stream, he raised nearly $30,000 for the humanitarian organization Save the Children.
Unlike other popular Twitch streamers, Saqib Zahid has chosen to remain relatively anonymous. During livestreams, he remains faceless and doesn’t use a webcam. His mysterious persona hasn’t stopped him from accruing an impressive audience of two million followers and more than 232 million total video views on his LIRIK channel.
Zahid is well known for participating in competitions like the Showdown Tournament. Though he was born in Germany he now resides in Boston, MA where he streams full-time. His fans enjoy his streams because of the diversity of games he plays, ranging from extreme sports online-multiplayer game Steep to open world survival game DayZ.
Few other livestream personalities are as recognizable as DrDisRespectLive. His authoritative mustache and mirror-lens sunglasses star in every video and an ESPN journalist accurately described him as “a WWE character in the competitive gaming world.” “The Doc,” as he’s known to fans, goes by the name Guy Beahm in everyday life.
Two million tune into Beahm’s channel to watch streams of games like Fortnite, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and League of Legends. His ability to forge authentic connections with fans has resulted in sponsorships with Razor, Turtle Beach, and Discord, among others.
For the past ten years, Chance Morris has been streaming his World of Warcraft games under the alias Sodapoppin. He started streaming as a 13-year-old in 2008 and continues to enjoy online success into his early twenties. Though he plays a variety of video games, unique to the other streamers on our list, he is especially well known for streaming video of him playing online blackjack. Perhaps most infamously, in 2015 he lost $5,000 in a single hand while 40,000 people watched live.
Morris gambles thousands of dollars a day, enticing viewers with suspenseful, edge of your seat content. When not playing blackjack he entertains with gaming content more traditional to the platform.
In the League of Legends community, Tyler Steincamp — aka Loltyler1 — was once known as the “most toxic player in North America.” His tough guy personality and over-the-top enthusiasm have attracted 1.5 million followers. On the flip side, his aggressive attitude has resulted in him getting temporarily banned by Riot Games, the creator of League of Legends.
A football-player-turned-gamer, Steincamp amuses his followers with his antics on a regular basis. Oftentimes, his fans even encourage him to troll others online. Game moderators are frustrated to see him earning popularity and money from his bad behavior, but his fans can’t seem to get enough.
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