Game streaming is an example of how a hobby can become a profession and a source of income. So, who are streamers?
Simply put, these are content makers who become powerful gaming and esports influencers by playing video games and communicating with their audience. While streaming is similar to TV broadcasts, spectators have broadened options to choose what type of content they want to consume. This diversity of tastes and preferences helps every streamer find their niche. According to Findstack, the live-streaming industry is believed to have reached $70 billion in 2021. Over half of the content in the entire industry is live game streaming and esports events. However, most game streamers aren’t regular paid employees. So, where does their income come from?
How do gamers get paid while live-streaming?
All brands advertise online, and this is natural because a young and solvent audience lives in the digital world. They are attracted by the variety of content that they can watch anytime. Therefore, bloggers, streamers, and other content makers can be the vehicle for a brand’s communication. By inserting a minute of advertising once an hour, most streamers take a short break to rest and at the same time get ad revenue.
Unlike advertising, fan donations are available even for small streamers with a loyal audience. Viewers can support your channel with a few dollars at any time. In addition to contributions, users can subscribe and pay monthly. Fans usually get some additional benefits for subscribing, for example, being mentioned in live streams, access to exclusive emotes, and much more. Most often, live streams are free to watch, so you should think about the content and video quality first so that fans want to support you.
For game streamers who know the interests of their community well, using affiliate links is the easiest way to monetize their channel. During the gaming session, it’s enough to say a few words about a product and leave an affiliate link. With each sale, the streamer gets their cut. This is one of the most convenient ways to get started in the gaming and esports industries for retailers. Indeed, the company only pays for successful sales and gets information about which streamer is more influential.
Sponsorship is one of the most profitable activities for a streamer. At the same time, it’s one of the most challenging ways to monetize a broadcast. Sponsors are interested in popular streamers with an engaged community. But even so, many streamers may not meet sponsors’ expectations. So if you as a content creator are looking for a sponsor, you have to understand that it’s an entire process that largely depends on you.
Meet the personalities who have learned to monetize their content.
Richard Tyler “Ninja” Blevins has amassed quite the fan base (24 million followers on YouTube and over 16 million on Twitch) by regularly playing games like Fortnite, League of Legends, and other free-to-play titles. Running gaming streams since the 2010s, Blevins played H1Z1 and PUBG: Battlegrounds. To just scratch the surface, his net worth was about $10 million in 2019. However, for those who feel the call of easy money, an important note: the profits haven’t started falling into Ninja’s lap in a moment, but are due to consistent and hard work. Now, his video game sessions often feature in the YouTube Gaming section as the most popular broadcasts.
Many streamers are former or current esports players. And basically, the popularity of their broadcasts depends on their professional career.
Artour “Arteezy” Babaev performs as part of esports organization Evil Geniuses. Together with Arteezy, Evil Geniuses took second place in two Dota 2 Majors of 2021 — the ONE Esports Singapore Major 2021 and WePlay AniMajor. Artour’s Twitch channel is followed by about 700,000 people. In addition to his masterful skills, the streamer also amuses fans with jokes and shares his musical taste. Although Arteezy rarely appears on Twitch, as a famous person, he earned $67,000 from 2019 to 2021 via his Twitch channel.
If you’re into Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, then you’ve probably heard about Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev. Besides a professional esports career, s1mple plays a popular game live just for fun. While he doesn’t stream every day, he provides long game sessions. Thanks to his top-notch skills, nice music, and relaxing atmosphere, even these rare streams are popular and collect donations of various sizes. According to Get On Stream, the player earns $15,000 a month streaming on Twitch.
Top streaming services
Twitch has been around since 2007, although it went by the name of Justin.TV at the time. In 2014, Amazon bought the service, making it unstoppable. Now, Twitch is one of the most popular streaming platforms among gamers.
The streaming platform attracts 30 million visitors daily that watch broadcasts by 7 million unique creators. Top influencers have large followings, while less famous streamers can run a live stream one or two people or even no viewers at all for a long time. In any case, Twitch offers all the monetization features that were described above.
Twitch is known for its gaming streams, but you can find political debates, musical performances, and other streamers’ initiatives here. Viewers can watch broadcasts on computers or via a mobile app.
YouTube Gaming is Twitch’s main competitor, although it lags behind in many ways. However, the streaming wars are in full swing, and many Twitch streamers are switching to YouTube Gaming. Twitch streamer Ludwig Ahgren has been making content exclusively on YouTube since November 2021. As you know, he was one of the highest-paid Twitch’s content makers.
In the Q3 of 2021, YouTube Gaming content generated 1.31 billion hours watched across a total of over 547,000 unique streaming channels. The main difference between Twitch and YouTube is that initially, both platforms were developed for different purposes. If Twitch was created as a live-streaming platform, which then introduced the option to upload videos, YouTube initially allowed you to post a high-definition video, and after a while, it provided users with the opportunity to stream online.
Facebook Gaming is a less popular platform but has its advantages. For example, the competition on the site is weaker, and therefore it is easier for novice streamers to break into the tops.
The video hub accumulates live and prerecorded gaming videos to display them on a single page. Besides, the platform allows creating tournaments and competing with other players. This and many other features make Facebook Gaming a unique, all-in-one service.
At the same time, Facebook provides all the ways for monetization like other platforms. You can insert ads or set up subscription prices. Nevertheless, any streamer has to meet service criteria to start earning money.
In addition, there are other services where you can create content. Learn more about these live-streaming apps here.
What do you need to start video game live-streaming?
Whether you want to stream on PC, Xbox One, or play on a mobile device, the basics for any streamer are the same:
Broadcasting software and hardware
Before creating video content, make sure you have everything you need to stream. The computer, video camera, capture card, headset, and any other stream technology don’t have to be outrageously expensive, but they should guarantee you crystal clear sound, high-definition video source, top-notch broadcast quality.
Naturally, it’s better to choose the game you are an expert in. Keep in mind that the most famous disciplines already have their own leaders, and it’s tough to lure their audience away. However, mobile games are gaining momentum on streaming platforms. If you like to play from mobile devices, you can become the next famous streamer. If you decide on an esports discipline, you can participate in online esports tournaments. In general, find what you like to do and show everyone what you can do.
It’s high time to drop some bitter truth. Just playing well is not enough, or rather, it would be enough if you wanted to become an esports player and hone your skills every day. Otherwise, if you’re a streamer, then you need your trademark traits. Take the strain off with jokes, respond to your fans’ comments, and develop your own unique approach. For example, look at the streams that collect tens of thousands of followers and compare them with those watched by a couple of people. You may be able to spot differences that help some succeed.
Voice and appearance
Video game live-streaming is first and foremost about you. Spectators come not only to look at streams but also at you. So if you say something — do it clearly and intelligibly. The visual part is about your channel as a whole. Take care of the consistent design and logo to stand out among other streamers. In a nutshell, look decent so that people want to return to you again and again.
With so much content being created every day, it’s all but impossible to find your video by accident. Therefore, you need to promote your content through social media platforms. Tell about your game schedule on Twitter, upload a small piece of gameplay to Instagram, feel free to share the news with your friends — maybe they will be your first viewers.
Success doesn’t come overnight or fall into your lap just like that. But if you spend hours daily playing games and easily capture attention, then maybe being a streamer is your calling.
Release game videos every day, keep improving the quality, change scenes to make sessions look better, systematically get rid of shortcomings, and listen to the viewers’ recommendations. In this way, your game streaming activity has a high chance of achieving some popularity.
Choose a category
Subscribe to our newsletter
Receive updates on recent articles from our blog straight to your inbox each month.