By Alec Moylan
November 8, 2018
Live streaming was still in its infancy when Twitch launched in 2011. Today, Twitch touts 15 million daily users and upwards of 140 million per month. That’s what kids call “a glow up,” but what’s fueling this rapid growth?
Best known as a game streaming service, Twitch owes its success to its massive, dedicated gaming community. Of this community, certain personalities have built massive followings and have played a big role in shaping a relatively young industry.
Twitch would not be what it is without its best creators, so I’ve created a list of the top seven most influential streamers to have ever graced the platform. Enjoy!
Syndicate (Tom Cassle), is a British streamer and YouTuber who is a true OG of the streaming game. Known for playing Minecraft, Black Ops III, and CS:GO, Syndicate has become one of Twitch’s longest-standing and most successful channels since joining the site back in 2012.
Incredibly, Syndicate was the first streamer on the site to reach a million followers! Since then, many others have crossed the threshold, but you have to give credit to the man who set the stage for many of the biggest streamers today.
Syndicate’s success hasn’t been without its hiccups. He’s had multiple encounters with the Federal Trade Commission as a result of not disclosing his paid promotions. His missteps were a major lesson on the importance of transparency as well as the the legal ramifications of breaking tricky consumer protection laws. Nevertheless, Syndicate remains one of the most popular and influential streamers on Twitch.
There’s a stereotype out there that female streamers are just eye candy with no real gaming expertise. XMinks may be eye candy, but she’s also the real deal.
XMinks (Chelsea Sandy), is known as one of the best Call of Duty players in Australia, competing at events like the Call of Duty World Championships and Gamescom.
She is very outspoken about the unequal treatment of women in the industry on both her channel and in news media. She addresses stigmas, opens up discussions, and even offers advice on how to deal with harassment. XMinks sets a great example for female gamers, and the attention she brings to some of the industry’s biggest issues makes her one of the most influential streamers on Twitch.
Shroud (Michael Grzesiek) rose to Twitch stardom as a professional CS:GO player for Cloud9. Twitch streamers are labeled entertainers, but shroud gained a loyal following as one of the most accomplished competitive gamers on the platform.
Shroud garners an average of 25,000 viewers per stream, but those number might skyrocket to around 7 million during special tournaments. His gameplay is awe-inspiring. Some consider shroud the Michael Jordan of FPS games.
At 23, shroud retired from professional gaming to pursue the more lucrative venture of streaming full time. From the top level of esports to Twitch superstar, he’s shown how esports success can translate to streaming success.
Kaceytron (Kasey Caviness) uses sexuality and controversy to gain notoriety. Kaceytron’s bravado and crude sense of humor have made her an infamous Twitch streamer.
You can’t knock her for exploiting what works. She accepted the negative labels. Kaceytron doesn’t care what people think, and that’s made her one of the most fun streamers to watch.
Kaceytron is living proof that there is no such thing as bad publicity. Whether you love her or hate her, her authenticity is what inspires others and makes her one of the most influential streamers on Twitch.
ESPN called him “a WWE character in the competitive gaming world” and who could blame them? The guy sports an enormous mustache uses catchphrases and calls himself “an international video game superstar.” DrDisRespectLIVE (Guy Beahm), is more than just a channel, it’s a character. This unique persona has helped make Beahm a top 10 streamer and one of the most recognizable figures on Twitch.
The popularity of DrDisRespect goes much deeper than Beahm’s boisterous persona. His unique background as a level designer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare gives viewers in-depth knowledge and insight not available on most other channels. In spite of his daily shenanigans, he is one of the most respected gamers on the platform.
DrDisRespect’s eccentric personality, similar to Ric Flair in wrestling, is great entertainment. As Twitch becomes bigger and bigger, who says more don’t adopt a persona as a way to stand out?
KittyPlays, aka Kristen Michaela, is a Canadian streamer who has amassed close to a million followers by playing games like PUBG, Fortnite, and CS:GO. She’s as close to it gets to being universally liked, which can be attributed to the upbeat, relaxed environment she promotes on her channel.
In many peoples’ eyes, KittyPlays is the ideal example of what a streamer should be. She is constantly spreading good vibes as well as finding ways to help the gaming community. A major way she does is this is through TeamKitty a twitch networking & mentorship team Kristen founded aiming to create a network of female creators focused on spreading positivity in their many projects. Her team has over 60 members with a following on Twitch of over 3 million.
Kristen and her team are actively trying to make the streaming world a better place. If that isn’t an influential streamer, I don’t know what is.
I mean you had to see this coming. The man has a laundry list of accomplishments including twice breaking the record for most concurrent views on a single steam, becoming the first and only streamer to reach 10 million followers, and becoming the first gamer to be featured on the cover of ESPN The Magazine. He’s in a different stratosphere of fame, a level many thought impossible.
Ninja is undoubtedly the most influential streamer of all time. He’s opened people’s eyes and made them aware of the potential of Twitch and streaming as an art form. When Ninja went mainstream, so did Twitch.
What make’s Ninja the most influential streamer of all time isn’t the records he’s broken or publicity he’s received – it’s the aftermath of his fame. Becoming mainstream is the hardest part. Once people are aware, things tend to grow exponentially. Ninja is the first to reach his level of fame, but he will not be the last. His rise will sustain Twitch and streaming for a long, long time.