So, you want to make money playing video games? Well, I have good and bad news for you. The bad news is, it’s harder than it looks and the good news is, you don’t have to be a pro gamer.
However much money you will make and however long it takes, will entirely depend on you and your commitment.
But if you are consistent and patient, you might join the ranks of those top earners in the industry! One of the most astonishing examples is Ninja, who grew an insane following and was estimated to earn around $500,000 PER MONTH, after streaming for just 5 years!
Now don’t let this discourage you. With the techniques you’ll learn here, you will “only” need 1000 loyal followers to make a decent living.
In this article you will learn:
- Ways to make money playing video games
- The tools and platforms to use
- Best practices to start growing an audience
Ways to start making money playing video games
There are probably more ways however, I will only go into detail for 8 of them.
The first way you can monetize your gaming live stream, is through donations. People watching you can donate any amount they want to have their name pop up on your stream and leave a message. This is a good way to interact with them live and make them feel more connected.
- Affiliate sales
You can earn commissions on affiliate sales when you recommend products to buy on your channel!
Many surfers want to buy a Channel Island surfboard because that’s what pros ride. By the same logic, many people watching you play will want to buy the same hardware you have, because they associate it with your stream’s quality.So you can go on Amazon Affiliate, choose your country, set up an account and put the links to buy your mouse, keyboard, screen, etc. on your Twitch channel.
Other ways to make money once you’ve grown
- Twitch subscriptions
When you grow on Twitch, you can apply to either become an Affiliate or a Partner. This allows you to unlock new revenue streams such as subscriptions. You can invite your followers to subscribe to your channel for $4.99 per month and you get to keep half of it ($2.50). You can learn more about how to become an affiliate here and a partner here.
Similar to donations, Bits is a virtual currency on Twitch that is ultimately translated into real money. People watching you play can “cheer” to unlock custom emotes and support your stream. You need to either be an affiliate or a partner to be able to receive Bits. Each Bit represents $0.01 (people usually send 500 or 1000).
To be eligible to earn money from ads on Twitch, you need to become a Partner (see above for requirements).
When you begin to grow and have a substantial audience, you might get contacted by companies that want to sponsor your videos in exchange for advertisement or a product review.
While it can be tempting to say yes to everything at the beginning, I would recommend only working with companies you truly like and believe in. That way you will be able to genuine and keep your content relevant and interesting.
You can develop your brand even further by selling some goodies to your followers. They can be t-shirts, hoodies, toys or anything with your name on it. If you don’t know where to start to make your own merch and sell it, you can learn it here.
- Brand partnership
Last but not least, if you become super famous, some brand might even want to put your name on their new products.
You will need a few tools in order to implement the core of your gaming income.
- First, you need a platform where your viewers can watch you.
Twitch is the go-to choice when it comes to live streaming video games. In addition to your broadcast, the platform provides a live chat, payment systems, and a community system.
However, this also means that Twitch is very saturated and you will be competing with tens of thousands of other streamers.
The good news is, there is a service that allows you to stream simultaneously to up to 30 different platforms for free! You can use Restream to reach more people in less competitive places like YouTube Gaming, Mixer or Smashcast. Here is a video that shows you how to use this service.
- Second, you need a tool to edit what you want to stream and actually broadcast it live.
For this, you can either use OBS Studio or the newly released Streamlabs OBS (or SLOBS).
They are both entirely free and SLOBS is based on OBS’s code so they are very similar. The main differences are that SLOBS has a better interface, includes more features than OBS, and uses less resources from your computer.
I personally prefer SLOBS and I believe it has more potential in terms of future evolutions.
You can get OBS here and SLOBS here.
- Then, you need to be able to receive payments from your viewers.
The most used tool for this is Streamlabs‘s donation tool. It is entirely free to use and it allows your viewers to send you a message that will appear on your stream.
You will need to login with your Twitch account. Then link Streamlabs to your Paypal account to receive payments.
Now that all three are set, you are ready to go live and make your personality shine!
I suggest you try and stream a few times without promoting your channel at all to make sure everything is working as expected. Then, when all is up and running, it will be time to grow your audience!
How to get more people to watch you
Can you tell I like lists? Well, here’s another one for you!
Here are some simple, yet critical things to do to grow and retain your audience:
- Keep talking. Unless you’re the Michael Jordan of your game, your viewers will get bored watching a random guy or girl play with 0 comments and a braindead face.
- Engage with your audience when prompted. When someone talks to you, reply to them. It’s as simple as that.
If you ignore your viewers’ messages, they won’t feel connected to you and will then leave to watch someone else play.
- Have a webcam. Once again, it is all about engagement and connecting with your viewers. They will be more likely to follow you and keep watching you, if they can see your face.
- Have a clear schedule. You become like a TV series, if you don’t stream at the same time every week or day then people won’t know when to expect you and will stop watching.
- Use other social media to announce you’re going live. Try to build a following on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. and let people know when you are about to go live.
These are just some of the ways that will help you grow and hopefully make money playing video games. If you want to learn more and go deeper into the details, here is a bonus section with a few resources you can start to learn from!
Gaming Careers – A YouTube channel to learn everything from how to set up OBS/SLOBS, to making your mic sound better and how to grow your audience.
Emergence – More or less like Gaming Careers but more focused on Twitch and in a written format.
You can also learn by watching pro streamers and see how they set up their profile and live stream!
I hope you found this helpful! If you have any question feel free to let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to find a good answer.