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Millionaire Twitch streamers react to their leaked earnings

According to the leaked data, 81 streamers have earned over $1 million each through Twitch since late 2019.
Enlarge / According to the leaked knowledge, 81 streamers have earned over $1 million every by Twitch since late 2019.

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Usually on Twitch, the rallying cry “Let’s get top five, baby!” refers to a online game leaderboard. Now, within the wake of a cataclysmic knowledge breach, the gaming world is targeted on a brand new leaderboard: one which ranks streamers in response to how a lot cash they make from Twitch.

A circus of controversy washed over the Internet Wednesday after an nameless 4chan consumer leaked 125 GB of knowledge from the streaming platform, which included payout info for over 10,000 Twitch streamers. Twitch confirmed the breach later that day, saying {that a} server configuration change had allowed a “malicious third party” to entry the info. The income knowledge, which spanned subscriptions, donations, and adverts from August 2019 to October 2021, instantly went viral on 4chan, Twitter, Reddit, and different social media. (Several streamers have acknowledged that the data is usually correct, though the Twitch funds don’t signify their solely earnings supply.) And whereas streamers are understandably involved about potential privateness dangers related to the info breach, many have additionally been meme-ing on the cash and, as all the time, creating wealth on the memes.

“NUMBA 6 BEGS FOR PRIMES,” high streamer Ludwig Ahgren titled his livestream Wednesday, referring to Twitch’s Prime subscriptions. Twenty-four thousand viewers tuned in. Scrolling by an internet site that organized the payout info right into a leaderboard, Ahgren typed in numerous streamers’ usernames to search out what they made. (The web site has since been taken down.) At one level, Ahgren known as one other streamer, Matthew “Mizkif” Rinaudo, to proceed the gossip fest. “Number six!” Rinaudo yelled in a greeting to Ahgren. “You have to scroll to see my number. That’s embarrassing.”

“I’d never want to hide how much I make, so I’m down to make a meme out of it,” Ahgren tells WIRED. “I’ve had a meme for a while: bigger number, better person. That’s kind of how it feels when you’re a content creator, directly correlating your value as a human to how big you are, how much money you make.” (Ludwig confirmed that he did earn about $3.3 million by Twitch subscriptions, Twitch Bits, and adverts from late 2019 to October 2021.)

All day Wednesday, streamers and their followers referred to their favourite gaming celebrities by their numbers on the now-defunct Twitch earnings leaderboard. On widespread Twitch gossip subreddit r/LivestreamFail, posts piled up with titles like “#6 talks to #23,” “#137’s worst nightmare” and even “#6, #188, #264, #280, #269, #343, #414, #550, #1049 and #1905 team up to beat up #28.”

Part of the impetus to meme got here merely from streamers’ gargantuan payouts. According to the leaked knowledge, the highest 81 streamers every earned over $1 million by Twitch since late 2019. The high 5 earned greater than $5 million every. While the monetary info was explosive, it’s not information that some streamers rake in tens of millions. In truth, savvy viewers would possibly have the ability to roughly calculate some streamers’ income info on their very own, no leak required. Most subscriptions for streamers with Partner standing value $5, and Twitch takes 50 p.c of these earnings. So if a Partnered streamer has 50 subscribers paying $5 a month, that streamer will earn $125 a month from subscriptions. On high of that, streamers earn cash from Bit donations (Twitch takes 30 p.c) and companion program adverts (which Twitch takes 20 to 30 p.c), in response to Alex Curry, a gaming influencer advertising strategist at Upfluence.

“This leak highlights how lucrative streaming can be, and we are only speaking of direct incomes from Twitch itself (subs plus ads plus bits),” says Curry. That’s not a complete image of streamers’ earnings, although. “To those figures, you can add brand collaborations, sponsorship, merchandising, and donations. So the top-streamer salary reality is significantly higher than this.” The precise thriller, at the least to the general public, is how a lot cash streamers make from these personal offers. And these numbers—which weren’t included within the hacker’s knowledge dump—may be large. Wednesday, in a spreadsheet, Ahgren shared that from late 2019 to October 2021, he made $3 million, 44 p.c of his earnings, from sponsors.

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