Game streaming has gone from being a hobby done to blow off steam after work to entertain a few friends to a legitimate career option. As with any job, you start from the ground level and work your way up, gaining viewers/subscribers and a better footing in the industry as you go. Whether you can make a living out of it will depend on your income, whether you can maintain a regular following and schedule, your outgoings and the generosity of your subscribers and potential sponsors.
There are plenty of successful game streamers out there who have found their niche and ran with it. The three most popular – and thus the most successful – as of 2020 are Richard “Ninja” Bevins with 12.08 million followers, Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek with 4.75 million followers and Ali “TSM_Myth” Kabbani with 4.47 million followers. All three engage in brand collaborations on their channels and stream regularly on Twitch.
Live Game Streaming Q&A
How can I be successful at streaming?
Generally the formula for becoming successful at streaming is, in itself, fairly simple. Select a game and a streaming platform, gain followers, monetize your subscribers and ad revenue and repeat the process until you reach a follower count and income level that you personally consider to be successful. That said, it does involve a lot of hard work and no small amount of trial and error.
Which game is best for streaming?
At present, the most popular game that is streamed is Fortnite, a free to play Battle Royale style game. That said, if you are looking to stream long-term, go for something that you genuinely enjoy playing rather than what is popular. Something that you enjoy makes it a lot easier to keep your motivation up when establishing a steady schedule.
Is game streaming a good career?
Just like any other career, it has upsides and downsides. It does offer you the chance to monetize something that you may already do on a smaller scale while allowing you to play the game you enjoy. That said, it involves an awareness of marketing, posting and streaming steadily and putting the effort in.
How do you make money streaming?
Money from streaming comes primarily from affiliation programs like Twitch Affiliate – where you get money every time someone clicks a particular link that you advertise – and ad revenue, although the percentage of money that you earn from said revenue will vary depending on your particular agreement. Money can also come from gifts from your followers and brand sponsorship, although the latter is more likely to be in the form of items to wear or speak about while streaming.
How do I attract viewers to my stream?
The best place to start when it comes to viewers is your friends. From there you can expand out to acquaintances, friends of friends and then strangers as word of mouth about your streaming spreads!
How much money does a streamer make?
‘How long is a piece of string?’ is, while responding to a question with a question, also the best response. How much money a streamer makes depends on a lot of factors including how many regular followers they have, how generous their followers are and whether they are an affiliate or partner for brands or any streaming services.
How do I start streaming?
To start streaming, decide on what game you are going to play. Some even play a handful and rotate between them, making the stream as much about them as a player as it is about the game itself. To use Twitch as an example, you need to download and install the app if streaming from your smartphone
How much does Ninja make a year?
As of June 2020, Ninja’s earnings through game streaming is estimated to be $20 million USD. While there is bound to be some variation year on year, this is just in reference to streaming and related avenues of income.
How many viewers do you need to earn a living on Twitch?
When it comes to earning a living on Twitch, you need to start small. The minimum suggested number of consistent followers to get your foot in the door in this regard is 500. To become a Twitch Affiliate, you sign up. For every person that clicks a link that you promote, you earn a commission. As a Twitch Partner, you need to meet a strict criteria such as meeting a minimum number of hours, meeting the minimum average viewers per stream and streaming for at least 12 out of the 30 days that determine the decision. Your income will depend on how generous your viewers are in terms of donations, how many links or ads they click and if you are sponsored by a brand. There is no single answer to this as there are a lot of variables. On top of that, earning a living differs from person to person!
How much do streamers with 1,000 viewers make?
Twitch pays streamers for every 1,000 viewers. What is paid per 1,000 views can range from $2 to $10. If you manage to become an Affiliate, you earn 50% of every subscription thereafter. Depending on how many followers you manage to net, this can become quite a little money-earner!
Which game streaming service is best?
Game streaming services are the link between the hardware you are using to play the game and the software you are using to broadcast it. In terms of what is the best, this is tricky to answer. Out of the services available, Shadow has the least amount of limitations and it gives you the ability to stream just about anything so long as you can install it on your PC.
Should I use OBS for game streaming?
For reference, OBS refers to Open Broadcaster Software, an open-source item of software used for streaming. While there is something of a learning curve, it places a lot of the control in your hands. That said, to some degree, what you are using to stream does mean that OBS may not be available – for example, if you are streaming via your mobile. If you can use it and you have comfortably got to grips with it, go ahead and use it! But there are other options out there for you to take for a test drive.
8 Game Streaming Tips to Start and Grow Your Channel
1. Carefully choose your platform and learn everything about it
Don’t get surprised by unfamiliar features or common bugs
Whether you opt to stream via your PC or your mobile as the two most popular examples, learn everything there is to know and then some about what you are using. This also extends to the streaming service you are using. Take the time to learn about bugs as well. Nothing is more off-putting to a potential subscriber than someone stopping and starting with the stream because they have encountered something unfamiliar and are looking up how to fix it mid-transmission. Choose a platform that works for you, whether it is Twitch, Facebook Live or Youtube. Cross-posting is also something to consider if you want to reach as many new followers as possible. Thankfully, cross-posting is getting increasingly easier in this day and age. Regardless of what hardware, software and streaming service you decide to use, do your homework. Look for threads specifically on common – and even less common – problems and learn how to solve them.
2. Choose a game to specialize in
Pick a game that you genuinely enjoy versus what is popular for the long-term
Whether it is streaming a fighting game like Fortnite to try and get higher up the rankings, letting people watch the fight you get into alongside your friends in Planetside 2 or bringing people into the relaxing sandbox of Minecraft as they watch you create, find your niche. Another avenue that I’ve seen people increasingly do is streaming both the game that they are playing and themselves at the same time – viewing their reactions allows you to jump at the scary moments, laugh at the jokes and watch at the edge of your seat right alongside them. Finding an avenue that you genuinely enjoy and want to keep doing while streaming is important as nothing is more dangerous to your goal of becoming a successful streamer than losing motivation. You should be eagerly planning your next stream and marketing as you go instead of looking at your phone or PC with dread.
3. Find your angle and be unique
Carve yourself out a niche based on a unique selling point
Some people like game-related statistics. Some people like certain games because they look pretty. Some people will be trying to get as high as possible in the game rankings and stay there. Others will find a game with a storyline and take you on a journey with every stream. When it comes to streaming, depending on the game that you pick, there may well be hundreds of people already streaming the same thing. Find a niche. I’ve seen a Facebook advertisement with someone who uses a nifty program to turn himself into an anthropomorphic wolf to stream – it adds a unique quirk to what is otherwise game streaming like any other in basic principle.
4. Keep talking during the livestream
No awkward silences!
Nothing makes for a more awkward stream than a streamer who is silent. Whether you are welcoming people to the stream, commenting on what is going on in the game or even making smalltalk, speaking is better than saying nothing at all. People aren’t watching you stream to just watch the game. If they really wanted to do that, they could download and play the game themselves. Streaming offers a level of individual interactivity and a human connection that genuinely makes a difference. This actually closely relates to the next tip.
5. Interact with your followers, thank new subscribers and provide incentives for them to return
Give people a reason to come back and watch you stream again
Closely related to the previous tip of talking during your livestream, interacting with your followers will genuinely make them feel valued. A streamer friend of mine used to offer the ability to request a song per donation to the stream. Thanking new subscribers and providing incentives for them to return is a surefire way to keep people coming back. For streamers with a higher volume of footfall who’ve got to the point of brand sponsorship, you could even run giveaways. That way you’ve got happy followers watching you for the chance to win a prize and your sponsor happy at their name being relayed to everyone present.
6. Involve Other Streamers or Channels
Other gamers are not the enemy!
Do you know someone who plays the same game as you, maybe on the opposing side or even on the same team? Bring them into your stream! Showing people the interactive possibilities that you can engage in via streaming may even aspire them to give streaming a go themselves. As with your own stream, it is best to give this a private trial run first so then you can be completely sure that you’ve got all of the creases ironed out before making it public.
7. Compelling title and visuals
Find a theme and rock it!
If there is one thing that makes marketing easier, it is having visuals associated with your stream that are eye-catching. Think of a color combination and see how you can apply it to different aspects of your stream. Things to consider whether you can customize them or not include any captions that display while you are streaming, the interface you use to stream that your viewers can see and any thumbnails or photographs used to advertise your stream. You ideally need to brand your stream and thus, to an extent, yourself.
8. Maintain a steady schedule
Don’t flip-flop if you want to keep regular followers
Whether it is every day for a couple of hours after work, every alternate day or even weekly, find a schedule that works around your commitments and stick to it the best that you can. It is preferred if you can maintain it. Chopping and changing when your schedule is every single time you stream isn’t very appealing, particularly to long-term viewers who may only have a limited time in which they can view your stream.
When it comes to being successful at game streaming, it takes no small amount of persistence and luck. Don’t go into it expecting to be popular in weeks. Go in it for the long haul and, by following the tips and suggestions in this article, you will begin to see results. Best of luck in your gaming adventures!