I’m an avid video game enthusiast, which today is the majority of the live streaming viewers on websites such as Twitch.tv. While some people may not have heard of the website or have any idea what it is about, to give an idea on how big this platform is, Twitch.tv is the #31 on the list of websites with the most traffic. Amazon bought Twitch in 2014 for $970 million which can give an insight into how useful this website is as a standalone platform and how being integrated with Amazon makes it legit.
Twitch initially started as Justin.tv, a site made for one man, Justin Kan, to live stream his life to the world, much in the same way other vloggers have done. Live streaming was a catalyst for those interested in vloggers lives, taking away the video element and going right to live streaming to see what their favorite online celebrities are doing, when they are doing it and gave a chance to interact with live streamers while they are showing their life to the world.
The reason Twitch streamers are able to make a living doing this is purely because of donations and subscriptions by their fans and viewers. Anyone is free to donate (obviously) to who they enjoy watching to show their support, but Twitch has an integrated subscription system in which you can subscribe to donate $5 a month to a streamer which gives you access to certain icons, similar to emoji’s, to use in their chat and depending on the streamer, a personal thanks for subscribing or resubscribing for concurrent months. To put this in perspective, the top-earning Twitch streamer, Ninja (who was famous for streaming the game Fortnite with Drake, Travis Scott and the Steeler’s wide receiver, JuJu Smith-Schuster), said on a CNN interview that he earns around $350,000 per month from Twitch.
And yes, there is a constant scrolling chat, which is how streamers are able to communicate with their viewers, even if the speed at which the chat scrolls from comments is beyond the speed anyone would ever be able to imagine with hundreds of people commenting every minute.
One last thing before we jump into this list, Twitch is mainly for gamers to stream themselves playing whatever game you might be interested. For me this includes games such as Overwatch, League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Red Dead Redemption 2, Minecraft, StarCraft II, Runescape and many more. However, one of my favorite categories on the site (each game is listed as its own category) is the Just Chatting section, which streamers select if they are not playing a game and just want to interact with chat or have no specific way of choosing what they are streaming, which takes me to the first person on the list.
#1 Jakenbake – twitch.tv/JakenbakeLive
Jakenbake, also known as just Jake, is a streamer who has been streaming for a little over a year and has a very interesting approach to what he views as entertaining to his audience which is why he is my number one choice.
After he went to college, Jake went to China to learn to speak Chinese and for the cultural experience. He saw that opportunity and experience as incredibly valuable to see different perspectives and sides of the world that he saw enough reason to do it again, so he went to Japan to learn Japanese.
One of his first day’s in Japan, Jake started live streaming what he was doing in the city of Tokyo if for whatever reason, people would be interested in what he was doing. To his surprise, he blew up pretty fast and now when he streams, his average viewership is anywhere from 6,000 to 13,000 viewers depending on what he is doing at the time.
Jake is the king of the Just Chatting section because everyone loves to watch for his awkward encounters with his fans that watch live and try and find him, or for his attendance at conventions many of us wish we would be able to go to if it weren’t for work and classes. Jake gives the experience of walking around Tokyo, trying different foods and meeting with new people all while we sit at our desks and hide our computer screens so our bosses and co-workers walking by don’t see that we are not even close to starting that excel sheet we were assigned 5 hours prior.
#2 Kitboga – twitch.tv/kitboga
Kitboga, typically referred to as Kit, does what I would consider one of the most interesting streams on all of Twitch, and he is known for it. While his viewership definitely deserves to be higher (he averages about 1,500-3,000 viewers), everyone is aware of his unique spin on live streaming.
Kit has a special frustration with all of the scams coming from India calling our grandparents with dementia telling them the IRS has a warrant for their arrest unless we give them $5,000 (sadly, this happens a lot) and his mission is to expose the techniques and lies these scammers use.
Kit goes live and immediately starts calling the numbers he has listed or reported to him by viewers of fake call centers that have a script in front of them to try and pry money from you as fast as possible before you realize it.
One of the things that make his stream especially entertaining to watch is his use of audio technology and voice changers. Kit has characters based off what the audience loves, their favorite being Edna, an old lady voice which Kit and his voice changer pull off perfectly and this allows him to waste as much time as possible as we all know what it is like to have conversations with the elderly over the phone. It’s frustrating and that’s the point. What fun would the stream be if he didn’t actually get to the scammers and make them explode over the phone when 2 hours have passed, and Edna still hasn’t figured out how to access her bank account online.
#3 Destiny – twitch.tv/destiny
Destiny, the first on this list to actually play games, has been streaming his gameplay for many many years, way before Twitch was ever created. His fanbase followed him to Twitch, but he continues to grow and averages around 4,000-7,000 viewers.
Destiny, being the introverted personality that he is, not only plays games for his viewers (he used to be one of the best StarCraft II players in the world), but he also holds debates on his stream. Destiny challenges those with obscure views to come on to his stream and debate their ideas to Destiny, only for him to dissect their argument so hard you can almost hear them sweating through their microphones.
He has been doing this for so long and has more collective knowledge on philosophy, political policy and current social standings than anyone I’ve ever met and probably will meet, even if I entered the political beat working for ABC 15 (I’m serious, imagine a quantum physics scientist level of intelligence whose that knowledgeable about political policy and the flaws of most republican supporters arguments). His channel is amazing because is very satisfying to watch when someone who believes Trump has made the United States a better place comes on and is exposed by Destiny for actually being a Republican bandwagon member who doesn’t actually know why they support Trump.
#4 Rajj Patel – twitch.tv/rajjpatel
Rajj Patel, also known as just Rajj, also known as Austin because his Indian persona is pretty see-through, is someone who had an idea for Twitch to become the game show host all across Twitch.
Rajj hosts many different game shows, most of which are dating shows, in which he brings on the ever-changing, but sometimes consistent cast of guys and girls the show loves to see appear.
I see Rajj as innovative and creative because his idea to live stream a game show style event hasn’t been done and took off giving his viewer average to be around 13,000-20,000.
Some of his shows include Twitch Tinder, in which he has four girls appear on the show and members of the audience can come on (chosen by the moderators of the channel of course because some people have no decency or consideration for the Twitch terms of service) and the guys that come on the show compete to convince the girls why they should date them.
It’s interesting to watch play, out especially when the niche platform of Twitch all knows of each other and brings on already known streamers (Jakenbaken came on the show once which I am more than pissed off I couldn’t watch live because of Spanish class).
#5 Aimbotcalvin – twitch.tv/aimbotcalvin
Aimbotcalvin, also known as just Calvin, has been the streamer I have been subscribed to longer than anyone on this list. Calvin streamers Overwatch gameplay and is one of the best in the world at the game, at least in North America.
Calvin is entertaining because again, although my favorites are most of the Just Chatting channels, I am still here for gameplay and Calvin brings that with my favorite game. His viewership is around 5,000 to 8,000 viewers.
Watching him is not just entertaining, which some people who don’t play games might question why watch when you can play, but because watching a pro, from their perspective, can teach me how to better play the game.
And because when I play the game, although I would consider myself decent, I can watch Calvin and say to myself, “Holy shit, I can’t even tell what’s he’s focusing on, he’s a god at this game.”
#6 GreekGodX – twitch.tv/greekgodx
GreekGodX, also known as just Greek, while I considered not putting him on the list, is one of the streamers that everyone knows of which is interesting because the frequency of his streams are around 5 times a year.
Greek has such a huge fan base, that he hops on to other streamers live streams in the middle of their show, just because it’s not only an honor to have him on your stream, but because the audience will love and possibly grow due to the fact that he unexpectedly announces his arrival.
He tends to do this on Rajj Patel’s show which is when the show stops because everyone is excited to see him there.
#7 Sodapoppin – twitch.tv/sodapoppin
Sodapoppin, also known as just Soda, is one of the people who has been streaming on Twitch for the longest. He isn’t the best at any game, doesn’t do anything too unique, but is just one of the famous people that the site loves because of his personality.
Soda is impressive to watch because his high production quality streams which have improved over the years have grown his viewership to be incredibly high (around 20,000-40,000 viewers).
I added Soda to the list because, although I don’t watch him too much, he is still one of the kings of Twitch. And also, because my brother got a picture with him, along with Greek, which would annoy me, but I was able to watch my brother go up and ask Soda for a picture while Soda was live streaming it at a convention center so, in a way, it was like I was there. Not really but for the sake of that picture, I’ll pretend.
#8 Shroud – twitch.tv/shroud
Shroud is the one to finish off the list because he is not only a king of Twitch but a legend of games. While it is known to many of those in the gaming world, most of the best pro gamers are Asian. Depending on the game type, however, this varies.
The best League of Legends players will always be Asian, or Asian American, just because that’s how it has always been considering their countries see gaming as an actual sport and offers scholarships to those who are good enough to be pro players.
But when it comes to FPS games (First person shooter), such as Call of Duty, with most of the skill relying on how quickly and accurately you can aim, white American’s seem to be the best for who knows whatever reason.
While I’m not trying to make this about race, it’s just interesting to witness because Shroud’s accuracy is beyond what anyone can imagine which is what makes him famous. That and when he hits an insane kill in any FPS game, his reaction is basically a solid face and while his audience will freak out at how good he is, he doesn’t seem to give it much attention.
Shroud also has easily the highest viewers of anyone on this list and typically gets around 50,000-80,000 viewers, making his competition Ninja (who I talked about above) and those who have already become millionaires on the site.
I made this list with the anticipation that I would have a hard time coming up with my favorites or for me to finally get a chance to see which channels I prefer to watch when one starts streaming at the same time as another.
While this may not have happened, it helped me to see why I prefer what I prefer and is also a good way to explain to those who may not be aware, of this growing platforms ability to take over the dying shitstorm policy infusing websites such as YouTube.
Twitch started as a game streaming site and has always been centered around that, but for the community to see it grow and take on new shapes because of its ability to make famous millionaires is more than cool. Especially when you can talk to them and interact with them all from the comfort of your bed on your phone or at a time when you just want to escape like when you are trapped inside a cubicle and get a notification that one of your favorite streamers has gone live.