The easiest way to make money playing video games is to become a Twitch affiliate. Here’s what to expect and how to qualify.

  • Twitch is the most popular platform in the world for livestreaming, with more than two million active broadcasters.
  • But only a fraction of those broadcasters earn money while they stream.
  • The Twitch Affiliate Program offers a clear path to monetization for creators who want to turn their hobby into a profession.
  • Twitch has more than 150,000 channels earning money through ad revenue sharing, viewer subscriptions, and tips while they stream.
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Viewers spent more than nine billion hours watching Twitch in 2019 and more than 150,000 independent creators are making money from the Amazon-owned platform.

The top channels on Twitch generate millions in revenue and Twitch has established “affiliate” and “partner” programs to help creators make money off their broadcasts. Newcomers on Twitch can achieve affiliate status and start earning revenue within a month of starting their channel by fulfilling a basic set of criteria. 

Requirements for Twitch’s Path to Affiliate Achievement are:

  • Having at least 50 followers.
  • Streaming on seven different days during a 30-day span.
  • Averaging at least 3 concurrent viewers per stream during a 30-day span.
  • Streaming for at least 500 minutes (8 hours and 20 minutes) during a 30-day span.

Once you complete these requirements, you should be invited to the affiliate program automatically via email and a Twitch notification within a few days — if not, you should contact Twitch directly.

After accepting the invitation to the program, streamers gain access to monetization tools on their channel dashboard.

Earning money as a Twitch affiliate

Twitch affiliates can earn money through multiple revenue streams, including viewer subscriptions, ad revenue, and Twitch Bits.

Twitch viewers can pay to become a monthly subscriber to an affiliate channel. Subscriptions start at $5 per month but some Twitch channels offer $10 and $25 monthly options with extra bonuses. Affiliates can add up to five subscriber-only emotes to encourage viewers to support the channel, or restrict broadcasts so only subscribers can watch.

Affiliates earn 50% of the subscription fee, while Twitch keeps the other half. Amazon Prime subscribers get a free $5 subscription to a Twitch channel of their choice every month, but it won’t auto-renew like a standard subscription.

“I have an amazing community that supports via subscribing,” said BurkeBlack, a Twitch streamer with 272,000 followers. “That’s the single best way [to earn money]. It’s the only thing you can count on month to month and know what your income looks like.”

Twitch also extended ad revenue sharing to affiliates in November 2019, giving affiliate channels the ability to make money from pre-roll ads and commercial breaks while they stream.

Affiliates can choose whether an ad plays as soon as a viewer opens their channel, and adjust the length and frequency of commercial breaks. However, if a streamers chooses to run ads, only Twitch has control over what type of ads run during each commercial break.

Viewers can also buy Twitch Bits to pay streamers while they watch.

Affiliates and partners receive $0.01 for every Bit used on their channel. Users can buy 100 Bits for $1.40 and Twitch offers discounts for buying in bulk. Some of the most popular Twitch streamers built careers accepting donations through services like PayPal, but Bits allow Twitch users to tip streamers without leaving the platform.

“[My] biggest form of revenue from streaming comes from those in the community who tip/cheer,” said Twitch streamer CyBplaysgames, who has 150,000 followers. “Most understand the amount of effort and energy I put into streaming and know that it is not very lucrative for me yet.”

Twitch pays streamers on a monthly basis using a system called Net-15. Once an affiliate generates $100 in revenue, Twitch will issue a payment during the following month.

Qualifying for the Twitch Affiliate Program is just the first step in a streamer’s career

After becoming an affiliate, the next step in Twitch monetization is becoming a partner through the Twitch Partner Program.

Partner status affords some additional perks that affiliates don’t have, like paid sponsorship opportunities, more subscriber emotes, bounties, and a partner manager at Twitch.

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