Meet the people making a living live-streaming their niche hobbies, travel adventures, and everyday lives on Twitch
Screenshot / Business Insider
Twitch - a subsidiary of Amazon - has become synonymous with the boom in video game livestreaming. Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, the most popular "Fortnite" player in the world makes Twitch his virtual home, as do eSports heavyweights like the Overwatch League and Tencent.
However, there's a growing community of streamers on Twitch who don't post gaming content at all: They broadcast their real lives, including their weekends spent painting landscapes, their amateur comedy, and their budding skills as musicians.
Twitch has been making moves to embrace this kind of content, dubbed IRL streaming (internet slang for "in real life).
IRL has become a catch-all term for any kind of streaming that isn't gaming. But it's led the site to become home to an expanding population of artists, comedians, podcasters, musicians, athletes, cooks and social media influencers, all looking to make a living through live-streaming - right alongside Twitch's usual blend of "Fortnite" and other games.
Here's what it's like to live-stream professionally:
Today, Twitch has roughly 2.2 million unique monthly broadcasters competing for the attention of the site's 15 million daily users.
Because Twitch was created with gamers in mind, it can be difficult for creatives like thaButtress to stand out against the many hundreds or thousands of video game streams going on at any given moment.
Plus, non-gaming streamers sometimes get a bad rap among the Twitch community, says so-called "Twitchhiker" Trevor Daneliuk.
As Daneliuk and thaButtress demonstrate, the breadth of content available on the platform is only widening. Luckily, Twitch recently announced a new step to help accommodate this growing market.
In addition, Twitch will be adding ten new categories, including "Food & Drink," "Hobbies & Crafts," "Science & Technology," and "Just Chatting."
Twitch is hoping that these changes will facilitate user discovery of new streamers, which many say can be a massive challenge in such an overly crowded website.
These creators are in search of the highest levels of Twitch fame — which often comes with the perk of a sizable payday.
However, even with the infrastructure to support them in place, non-gaming streamers say that they can struggle to be taken seriously on Twitch, as the service continues to be known primarily as a place for gamers.
As Twitch's viewership has continued to balloon in size, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram have all launched live-streaming platforms in the last three years, and several other copycat sites have cropped up, all trying to get a piece of the live-streaming pie.
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