The highest-paid channel on Twitch is said to have made nearly $10 million in the last 24 months - and it doesn't even stream video games

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The highest-paid channel on Twitch is said to have made nearly $10 million in the last 24 months - and it doesn't even stream video games
A crew of Critical Role streamers. Twitch
  • Amazon's Twitch was hacked, which resulted in a major data breach.
  • A list of the highest-paid channels and how much they were paid was included in the hack.
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On October 6, Amazon-owned video game streaming service Twitch was hacked, and the hackers released a massive trove of internal data - including revenue numbers for its most popular channels.

In the last 24 months, the highest-paid channel on Twitch earned nearly $10 million from the Amazon-owned company, the leak revealed.

That doesn't include what the channel's owners earned from the popular YouTube channel they operate, which cuts versions of Twitch content for YouTube users, and before any advertising partnerships or other forms of revenue (merchandise, donations, etc.).

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The channel, Critical Role, is operated by a self-described "bunch of nerdy-ass voice actors" who stream everything from elaborate "Dungeons & Dragons" campaigns to talk shows they produce to lo-fi DJ sets.

There's a good chance that, even if you're a big Twitch user, you've never heard of Critical Role. Its operators haven't streamed video games in years.

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Unlike the vast majority of Twitch streamers, Critical Role primarily features lengthy streams of the classic role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons.

Moreover, the lengthy D&D campaigns that Critical Role produces feature professional voice actors who are quite capable of playing roles - a unique advantage that Critical Role has over other role-playing Twitch streamers.

"What all of us bring is our ability to imagine," Critical Role member Laura Bailey told Polygon in 2016. "I know that sounds kind of lame but as a voice actor that's what you're doing all the time - creating these huge scenarios in your head so it makes sense that you're making these zany voices in a tiny booth all by yourself."

Rather than a single person owning and operating the channel, Critical Role operates more like a traditional media operation: There are creative staff, production staff, marketing staff, and more. The group's team page lists over 30 employees.

Critical Role is among a group of 100 popular Twitch streaming channels whose revenue data appears to have been part of the massive Twitch data hack. Twitch confirmed the hack on Wednesday afternoon and lightly detailed how it occurred, but the company has yet to detail what data was taken in the security breach.

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The list is full of big name streamers, like Félix "xQc" Lengyel and Imane "Pokimane" Anys, the vast majority of which are said to have earned over $1 million in Twitch revenue across the last 24 months.

"It's unfortunate this leak happened," Evolved Talent Agency CEO and xQc's agent Ryan Morrison told Insider. "But we operate under the understanding that once something is sent, entered, or shared online, it will eventually be leaked."

The people claiming responsibility for the breach said in a 4chan post that the point of the hack was to "foster more disruption and competition in the online video streaming space" because Twitch's community is "a disgusting toxic cesspool."

Twitch confirmed the data breach in a statement sent to Insider which was also posted on Twitter.

"We can confirm a breach has taken place," the statement said. "Our teams are working with urgency to understand the extent of this. We will update the community as soon as additional information is available. Thank you for bearing with us."

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Representatives for Critical Role didn't respond to repeated requests for comment.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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