Recent years have seen the gaming industry balloon in popularity, attracting swathes of new fans and consumers, both old and young, across all major platforms and consoles. In tandem with this growing audience is a burgeoning streaming industry that allows gamers to share their passion for video games, socialize with like-minded people and, if they’re lucky, build enough of a following to make a career out of it.
Individuals that are not familiar with the gaming industry may be wondering, what exactly does streaming mean? Simply put, the definition of streaming is, “transmitting the screen view of a video game being played along with a video of the player to an online audience”. Furthermore, ‘streaming’ can be separated into ‘live streaming’ & ‘video on demand’ (VOD) – with Twitch being the dominant player in ‘live streaming,’ and Youtube the leader in VOD.
While to someone outside of the gaming space, the idea of watching another person play video games may seem somewhat baffling, the top streamers and creators attract millions of subscribers and rack up hundreds of millions of views on Twitch, the most popular live streaming platform. In addition to subscription fees, which are divided equally between streamers and Twitch directly, popular streamers with a large following are afforded plenty of opportunities to make money through sponsorships, brand campaigns, advertising, and affiliate links.
With a cost of living crisis putting a squeeze on people’s finances all around the world, and the surge in popularity of stay-at-home activities such as video games over the last several years, streaming has never been more relevant as a way of turning your passions and hobbies into an additional income stream.
As Tipalti is trusted by leading gaming companies, like Twitch, Roblox, Riot Games, Activision Blizzard, EA Sports, etc. to facilitate global mass payments, which ensures all their streamers, developers and creators are paid efficiently and on time, we wanted to find out who the biggest streamers out there are, and how much they could earn from sponsored content.
Video Game Streamers With the Most Valuable Online Presence
We looked at the most popular streamers, as of May 2023, and calculated their potential earnings per video on four separate social platforms; Twitch, YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram.
We’ve combined the streamers’ potential earnings on each site into one figure to reveal what they could earn with a single post across all platforms. Here are the top 20 Twitch streamers who could earn the most per sponsorship.
1. AuronPlay. Combined Sponsored Post Value: $92,376
The streamer with the most valuable online presence is AuronPlay, otherwise known as Raúl Álvarez Genes, who could earn over $92,000 in sponsorship fees from a single post across the four major social platforms in our study.
The 34-year-old Spanish internet sensation is one the most prominent gaming influencers in 2023 and has a huge Twitch following of 15.2 million fans.
2. El Rubius. Combined Sponsored Post Value: $89,903
El Rubius is the streamer with the second most valuable online presence, with a single sponsored post across Twitch, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube estimated to be worth around $89,900. El Rubius, whose real name is Rubén Doblas Gundersen, is a Norwegian-Spanish online creator who is popular for gaming and comedy content across his multiple channels.
3. GeorgeNotFound. Combined Sponsored Post Value: $62,144
GeorgeNotFound is the streamer with the third most valuable online presence, with potential earnings of $62,144 for a sponsored post on the four major social platforms. Real name George Henry Davidson, this young British YouTuber and Twitch streamer’s popularity exploded in 2020 and 2021. His Minecraft videos and interactions with other popular streamers, such as Dream, bring in the viewers en-masse.
Video Game Streamers Earning the Most on Twitch
1. xQc. Potential Earnings per Video: $16,088
The streamer who could earn the most from a single sponsored video on Twitch is xQc, a former professional Overwatch player who played for the competitive eSports team Dallas Fuel as well as Team Canada. xQc, whose real name is Félix Lengyel, claims he quit competitive Overwatch after simply becoming “bored with the game” and has since gone on to build an incredibly successful career as a streamer while enjoying a much wider variety of video games.
2. Kai Cenat. Potential Earnings per Video: $15,961
Kai Cenat is the streamer with the second most valuable Twitch presence, with a single sponsored post being worth almost $16,000, just a fraction less than xQc. The 21-year-old from New York City has amassed a following of 11.8 million subscribers on Twitch and has successfully boosted his viewership with multiple celebrity guests including rappers Lil Baby and 21 Savage.
3. AuronPlay. Potential Earnings per Video: $15,001
AuronPlay, or Raúl Álvarez Genes, has the third highest earning potential on Twitch, with a single sponsored video worth approximately $15,000. Álvarez produces a mix of comedy and gaming content, with a particular focus on Grand Theft Auto V, as well as other popular games like Minecraft and Rust.
Video Game Streamers Earning the Most on YouTube
1. GeorgeNotFound. Potential Earnings per Video: $44,299
The streamer with the highest potential earnings on YouTube is GeorgeNotFound, who could be making up to $44,300 per sponsored video. With 10.4 million subscribers on the platform, GeorgeNotFound is one of the most influential British streamers who posts on YouTube, giving his channel tremendous value to sponsors and advertisers.
2. AuronPlay. Potential Earnings per Video: $25,828
Raúl Álvarez Genes, popularly known as AuronPlay, is the streamer with the most valuable YouTube presence, worth over $25,800 per sponsored video. As one of the most influential streamers on Twitch, dominating the Spanish online gaming space, Álvarez has found equal success on YouTube with 10.4 million subscribers to his channel.
3. El Rubius. Potential Earnings per Video: $25,495
Rubén Doblas Gundersen, known professionally as El Rubius, is the third most successful streamer on YouTube with potential earnings of almost $25,500 per sponsored video. Much of Gundersen’s content includes gameplays, sketches, vlogs, and montages revolving around video games, often made with humor and sarcasm which comes to life when delivered with El Rubius’ signature flare.
The Streamers Earning the Most on TikTok
1. Nikolarn. Potential Earnings per Post: $12,690
The streamer with the most lucrative TikTok presence is Nikolarn, real name Nikola Aničić, a retired Serbian professional Apex Legends player who used to compete for Team Singularity. Nikolarn creates a lot of gaming content covering games such as Counter-Strike, Apex Legends, and Valorant, while also being a prominent crypto enthusiast. A single sponsored post on Nikolarn’s TikTok could have a value of $12,690.
2. Ibai. Potential Earnings per Post: $12,675
Ibai Llanos Garatea, commonly known simply as Ibai, is a 28-year-old Spanish internet personality from Bilbao. Ibai is an ex-content creator for G2 Esports, is co-owner of esports team KOI, and regularly streams video games such as League of Legends on Twitch, as well as streaming sports commentary and “Just Chatting” videos. With 16 million followers on TikTok, a single sponsored post from his account could be worth $12,675, just a fraction less than Nikolarn.
3. TommyInnit. Potential Earnings per Post: $9,635
British streamer and social media sensation TommyInnit has the third most valuable TikTok presence in our study, with a single post from his account potentially worth $9,635. Real name Thomas Simons, TommyInnit is one of the youngest streamers to feature in this report at just 19 years of age, though this has by no means hampered his success as a prominent TikTok star, with 12 million followers on the platform.
Video Game Streamers Earning the Most on Instagram
1. AuronPlay. Potential Earnings per Post: $49,956
Making yet another appearance is AuronPlay, whose Instagram is the most valuable in our study with potential earnings of almost $50,000 per post. With 18.8 million followers on the platform, the majority of posts offer a more personal window into the streamer’s life than his content on YouTube and Twitch, which has a greater focus on gaming and entertainment.
2. El Rubius. Potential Earnings per Post: $46,984
Another repeat appearance is El Rubius, who has the second most valuable Instagram presence with a sponsored post being worth as much as $47,000. Like AuronPlay, El Rubius uses his Instagram account as more of a personal blog in which he shares moments from his day-to-day life with his 17.7 million followers.
3. Ninja. Potential Earnings per Post: $32,731
The streamer with the third most valuable Instagram account is Ninja, real name Richard Tyler Blevins, with a single sponsored post on the account worth over $32,700. Ninja is arguably one of the most famous streamers out there, producing content for a range of videogames including Halo 3, Apex Legends, and Fortnite.
Most Popular Games to Stream [mid-2023]
Every year, more and more video game enthusiasts try their hand at creating their own streaming channels, either as a simple hobby or with the intent of building a career out of it. However, becoming a successful streamer is a lot of hard work, requiring dedication, understanding of what people want to watch, and a bit of luck
With this in mind, we wanted to analyze the streaming landscape of mid-2023 to see which video games are the most popularly streamed on Twitch. This snapshot of the top video games for streaming will continue to change as new games are released and the player base of established titles fluctuates.
Newly released games such as Diablo IV and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, which have been hotly anticipated entries in already popular franchises, are bound to make waves in the streaming community. Meanwhile, future releases such as Bethesda’s Starfield, Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Mirage, and Insomniac Games’ Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, are all bound to attract scores of viewers once streamers get their hands on them.
1. Grand Theft Auto V. Streaming Score: 9.71
The top game for streaming so far in 2023 is Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto V, often shortened GTA5, which achieved an overall score of 9.71 out of 10. Released almost a decade ago in September 2013, GTA5 is one of the most successful video games ever released, with a dedicated online community who continue to engage in whacky antics in the game’s lively multiplayer.
GTA5 has built up a huge 62 million followers on Twitch and has had an average of 137,000 viewers at any one time in 2023, with peak concurrent viewers of just over 512,000. Over 36,000 streamers have played the game this year at the time of writing, with an average of 452 channels streaming it at once.
2. League of Legends. Streaming Score: 9.65
The second-best game for streaming in 2023 is League of Legends, which received an overall score of 9.65 out of 10. Developed by Riot Games and released as far back as 2009, League of Legends has become a behemoth of the gaming world, with a dominant place in streaming as well as in competitive esports tournaments.
Part of League of Legends’ popularity can be attributed to accessibility, with the game being free-to-play and the only purchasable items being purely cosmetic, offering no in-game advantage. League of Legends has 36 million followers on Twitch and has an average of approximately 156,000 viewers in 2023, with a peak of just over 914,000.
3. Valorant. Streaming Score: 9.57
The third most popular game for streaming as of mid-2023 is Valorant, a free-to-play first-person shooter which was also developed by Riot Games. Valorant was released in 2020 and has quickly become a popular hit online, and was specifically designed to be accessible to people playing their first tactical shooter, widening the potential player base.
Valorant has significantly fewer followers on Twitch than GTA5 or League of Legends at 16.7 million, though it does have a very high total number of streamers in 2023 at almost 53,000, as well as a peak of 1.18 million concurrent viewers.
Multiplayer and Free-to-Play Games Dominate the Streaming Landscape
All but one of the top 20 games for streaming in 2023 are multiplayer-focused, with Hogwarts Legacy being the only single player example.The game, set in the Harry Potter universe, was highly anticipated by fans of the franchise as it introduced an as-yet unexplored era while allowing players to explore a fully open-world Hogwarts, creating their own custom character and even attending classes in various schools of magic at the titular wizarding school.
However, despite the immense hype surrounding the game at release, as a single-player experience, it simply doesn’t have the replayability factor that multiplayer games offer, providing a constant stream of fresh content for viewers on Twitch.
Free-to-play games are also a prominent feature in the top titles on Twitch, with League of Legends, Valorant, Apex Legends, and Call of Duty: Warzone being just a few big-name examples. The rise of free-to-play games is a relatively recent phenomenon in which developers make their money purely through in-game transactions, such as cosmetic items and character skins that allow players to customize their game without gaining a tactical advantage over their opponents.
We wanted to analyze the streaming landscape in 2023, looking at the most successful streamers and the top games for streaming. We first took the top 250 most popular streamers of May 2023 according to TwitchMetrics, removing any official channels owned by games, esports teams, or other organizations.
We then used Influencer Marketing Hub’s Twitch Money Calculator to find out how much each streamer could make from sponsorships per video on the platform. We ranked the streamers by this factor and used Influencer Marketing Hub’s other money calculators for the YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram accounts of the top 100 streamers.
We then combined these figures into an overall sum, showing how much each streamer could make from a single sponsored post across all platforms, as well as breaking it down by individual platform.
In addition to this, we took the most popular games for streaming for 2023 from TwitchStats and collected their average viewers, most viewers, average channels, most channels, and total streamers so far this year. We also found each game’s number of followers on Twitch and combined all the factors into a single score to reveal the best games for streaming so far in 2023.