Think about it. You’re at home, sniping out monsters with your friends on your console, generally having a great time. But then, you accidentally glance at your watch and see that you have to turn in for the night if you want to make it on time to work tomorrow. If only you could make a living out of playing games, that would be the ultimate dream. The thing is, you actually can. Scroll down to find out how!
The Numbers Tell It All
Gamers around the world have been making serious cash from streaming their game sessions through various platforms such as YouTube, Mixer, and Twitch. Viewership of streaming sites has risen dramatically throughout the past years, and along with it are streamers raking in thousands to millions of earnings. According to Gaming Scan, Twitch’s total hours watched per month rose from a mere 55 million in September 2012 to a whopping 916 million in July 2019 while its top 10 richest streamers garnered a total of $70 million USD.
Major Player of the Game
Forbes’ most successful streamer of 2019 is Tyler “Ninja” Blevins who has earned $17 million for the sum of all his efforts. Ninja has been considered a pro gamer since 2009 playing Halo 3 and had subsequently traveled all over the United States for these competitions. During his time competing, Ninja had already begun streaming his games and making gaming videos in general. What started out as a following of 28 thousand had turned into millions of followers on various social media platforms as he streamed daily from his home.
Twitch’s premium subscribers pay $5 for benefits such as exclusive badges, emotes, and ad-free streaming however only half of this amount goes straight to the streamer. In an interview with Forbes, Ninja discussed that he earns upwards of $500,000 per month from streaming. Of course, this alone did not make the sum of money he holds today. He also earns from Twitch donations, YouTube ad revenues, and brand sponsorships. Some of the most notable is his partnerships with Uber Eats, Adidas, where an apparel deal was signed, and Red Bull, who had provided him with a state-of-the-art studio in his basement.
Nonetheless, what’s most ingenious is how Blevins had moved from Twitch to Microsoft’s own platform, Mixer. Using his massive followers as leverage, he was able to seal a $20-30 million deal by streaming exclusively for Mixer for the next three years. His influence in the gaming space has undeniably reached new heights as his online presence is enough to entice game publishers such as Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard to pay him just to play their games.
So How Do You Start?
The first and foremost thing you need to have if you want to earn through gaming is passion. Playing games as a work aspect is definitely exciting but all the recording, editing, choosing which platforms to be on, considering how to best reach your audience and maintain them, will surely take its toll. Without love for the whole process of streaming, every other part aside from the actual act of playing will be excruciating.
Second, you must anticipate which gaming trends will hit next. Which game is gaining a steady increase in its popularity, and subsequently, its number of players? Riding on the growth of a game is much easier compared to the barriers of entry of an already popular game with established streamers. You have to be able to position yourself as a pioneer and expert in at least a few fields.
The equipment you need is by far the easiest on the list. Most established streamers have set up a studio of sorts in their home and you can do the same too as a beginner. Aside from the console of your choice, you would also need to purchase a high-quality camera, headset, microphone, and a gaming chair. Pick a presentable area of your home or set up a fitting background, and you can already start recording.
It goes without saying that this entire process takes time especially now that the market has become more competitive, but don’t lose hope just yet because Blevins actually took 10 years to get to the point where he is now. He spends around 12 hours playing daily to hone his gaming, and he really takes the time to think about his next steps career-wise. Starting out, he juggled gaming with his studies, his full-time job, sports, and as with all things, patience and persistence are key.
Lastly, it takes a certain personality to be likable on camera and an insane amount of dedication to really succeed. Let your love for the game shine through your streams and let your passion show through the way you play.