Using Twitch as a Gamecaster

Twitch is the largest site exclusively dedicated to gamecasting and esports (this is a title that now stands completely uncontested after the closure of Own3d in 2013). While relatively new to the scene (it was founded in 2011), Twitch, which started as a subsidiary of Justin.tv, offers one of the easiest means by which gamecasters can make money streaming video gameplay. While it exclusively streams gameplay, Twitch offers a wide array of gaming options options from eSports to dating simulators. With approximately 23,500,000 unique monthly visitors (as of July 2013) specifically interested in watching gameplay, Twitch offers a steady source of viewers and has an easy-to-use and well-developed monetization system.

Twitch goes to great efforts to be versatile and easy to use. It allows content creators to directly link their Twitch account with Steam or Origin accounts accounts and is being directly incorporated into the hardware of Xbox One ot Playstation 4. Twitch also integrates with most broadcast software, though there are a few it specifically recommends. In addition to integration with third party broadcasting software, Twitch has a polished chat engine allowing broadcasters to interact with their fans.

Making Money on Twitch

To monetize using Twitch, one must enter its partner program. Of Twitch’s 600,000 broadcasters, only 3500 of them were in the partner program as of March 2013. This is due to the site’s strict requirements for joining the program. If the broadcaster is currently a Twitch user, he or she must have a regular concurrent viewership of more than 400 individuals and release at least three new streams a week. Users looking at moving to Twitch from YouTube must have an average view count of 15,000 and 100,000 subscribers to become a partner.

After becoming a partner, gamecasters will receive earnings 45 days after the end of each month if you have accumulated at least $100 in revenue (should one not reach the threshold, your balance will be rolled over into your next month). Payments may be issued through Paypal or check. Twitch recommends that broadcasters run 2-3 ads every hour to maximize revenue. The revenue share used by Twitch is variable, though the exact specifications are not detailed in official sources (some blogs have suggested that it is 50%). You may also receive some income in the form of donationations or gifts directly from your viewers as Twitch has systems in place to facilitate this.

Twitch offers steller control of ads- the broadcaster can control the deployment of ads in real time with a hotkey to prevent ads from interrupting gameplay. The platform also allows broadcasters to block certain ads from showing on their accounts (very useful if the broadcaster has a sponsorship). What’s more, Twitch allows broadcasters to control whether the ads shown are pre-roll or regular ads (pre-roll ads begin before your stream loads).