Toward the end of 2021, the ‘entirety of Twitch’ was leaked – source code, earnings, user data – everything. It was a horrific incident for the Twitch platform, and ultimately, it heavily publicised how much the top-earning streamers on the platform actually… Well, earned. It was an eye-opening situation that stood firm as one of the biggest breaches in the history of the industry, and today, people are still talking about the Big Twitch Leak of 2021.
More than 125 GB of data was released in a single file when the leak went live. There was an unimaginable amount of content to leaf through, but the thing that began circulating the most was the Twitch payout leak, which revealed the earnings of every single creator on the platform. It didn’t matter if they received one million dollars or one single dollar – that creator was named. With the records of Twitch income leaked, viewers were free to pore over the earnings of every single big name in the game.
It was embarrassing for some, but an opportunity to be smug for others.
Why Did The Twitch Leak Happen?
Why do any leaks happen? Because somebody got their hands on some data that they wanted the world to see. There are hackers and insiders that live for leaks, publishing content that they’re often the first to uncover, whether that be unreleased projects, user data, or financial information. In the infamous Twitch leak, all of the above was released in a single file, sending Twitch’s leadership team on a brutal path to recover from a devastating level of damage.
Sometimes, a platform will be hacked and it’ll have its data leaked in an attempt to stand up in protest. For some, the doubtful, dubious things that a certain platform does might not sit well, and they’ll take action in some misguided attempt at revenge. Reportedly, the user that hacked Twitch did so because they wanted to:
‘… foster more disruption and competition in the online video streaming space.’
Basically, the leaker wasn’t happy with the fact that Twitch was absolutely dominating the online streaming space, essentially monopolising it, and decided to take action. During the leak, several projects were uncovered that shook the future of Twitch and associated firms. For instance, in the mass of data, a Steam competitor that was to be created by Amazon Game Studios was uncovered.
For those learning how to become a streamer, seeing that some of the biggest streamers were genuinely earning millions of dollars may have been a rousing thought, though.
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What Was Revealed By The Twitch Payout Leak
First and foremost, the Twitch payout leak revealed the earnings of every single content creator on the platform. From the top to the bottom, every streamer had their earnings revealed for the year period running up to when the leak took place, and it was made up of everything from bits to subscriptions. Here’s a quick breakdown of the top ten channels named on the list:
- CriticalRole – $9,626,712.16
- xQcOW – $8,454,427.17
- summit1g – $5,847,541.17
- Tfue – $5,295,582.44
- NICKMERCS – $5,096,642.12
- ludwig – $3,290,777.55
- TimTheTatman – $3,290,133.32
- Altoar – $3,053,839.94
- auronplay – $3,053,341.54
- LIRIK – $2,984,653.7
It’s worth stressing that CriticalRole, at the top of the list, isn’t actually a ‘streamer’, but a group of creators and actors that come together to play celebrity sessions of Dungeons and Dragons. In second place sits xQc, arguably the most popular streamer on the platform who still today sits at the top of the table. He’s massively energetic, dynamic, and at times controversial, and he still manages to pull in record numbers during every stream.
There have been some departures from that list since the Twitch income leak took place, though. For instance, ludwig and TimTheTatman have both left to stream exclusively on YouTube. In eleventh place, just missing the top ten by a mere $100,000, was Dr Disrespect, who was permanently banned from Twitch months before the leak occurred. As you can agree, the Twitch leak list was substantial and it included tens of thousands of names.
If you were streaming between 2020 and 2021 and you earn even one dollar, then your name would have made the Twitch leak list.
Were There Any Surprises In The Twitch Leak List?
When the Twitch payout leak dropped, there were several surprises and facts that were seen that generated an instant discussion. For instance, some streamers that people thought dominated the platform didn’t rank that high on the Twitch leak list. For example, Pokimane, who came in at position thirty-nine on the list, was also the highest-ranked female streamer on the platform. There were thirty-eight streamers ahead of her and all of them were male.
Here are some categories that we can take away from the Twitch payout leak:
Highest-Earning Call of Duty Streamer:At the time of the leak, NICKMERCS was neck-deep in the world of Call of Duty, and in fifth place on the list with more than $5 million earned, he scoops this accolade.
Highest-Earning Fortnite Streamer:The Twitch leak revealed that Tfue was the highest-earning Fortnite streamer, netting more than $5.2 million while streaming the popular battle royale game.
Highest-Earning Escape From Tarkov Streamer:It seems like quite a niche title to make the list, but Pestily (27th place) and LVNDMARK (30th place) both picked up a considerable amount of money while streaming the popular PvPvE game through 2021. They made a combined total of almost $4 million.
Highest-Earning Non-Gaming Streamer:Ibai ranked in 18th place when the Twitch leak dropped, earning $2.3 million as a streamer almost exclusively focusing on Just Chatting and casual content – not gaming. It could be argued that xQc could snatch this accolade, but at the time, he was heavily involved with GTA RP.
While the Twitch leak was undoubtedly an issue for Twitch, it did provide viewers with a key insight into the financial performance of some of the biggest streamers in the world. If you’re trying to figure out how to become a Twitch streamer, you could do worse than to watch some of these creators to find a little inspiration.
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The Full Twitch Income Leak List
The gross payouts of the top 100 highest-paid Twitch streamers from August 2019 until October 2021: pic.twitter.com/3Lj9pb2aBl
— KnowSomething (@KnowS0mething) October 6, 2021
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