Love for video games can be not only a hobby but also a source of income. Here’s how streaming can help you monetize your passion for shooters, strategy games, and other game genres.
Who are streamers, and where do they live?
In the broadest sense, streaming is the conduct of live broadcasts on the Internet. Moreover, anything can be broadcast, whether it be a business conference, the process of preparing a dish, unpacking purchases, playing video games. And viewers can see the streamer thanks to the picture-in-picture mode. Thus, the word “streamer” applies to the authors of any such broadcasts. But most often, it means gamers who play online games live, complementing the process with their comments and jokes.
Each streamer has his own channel, where he conducts video broadcasts. Viewers can send messages to him during these broadcasts: they will appear in a separate window next to the video.
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Streamers have a lot of platforms for such self-expression. For example, video hosting YouTube has a separate channel for broadcasts – YouTube Live. You can also stream on some social networks, for example, on the Facebook Live and VK Live platforms, and the Twitch and Mixer services intended for this. A little over a year ago, the domestic platform WASD.TV appeared. So far, the competition here is not as high as on other services, so each streamer has a real chance to promote their account and start earning.
How do streamers earn
There would not be thousands of streamers in the world if this activity did not bring material benefits. And the revenues of the most popular streamers are impressive. For example, Tyler Ninja Blevins, who is not yet 30 years old, streamed Fortnite games last year and brought in $17 million.
Naturally, at the start, the streamer may not have any earnings at all, and even after the first thousand subscribers, the income will be purely symbolic. But the main thing is to start. For those who like to tell and show how they go through World of Tanks, Fortnite, the next “Witcher,” or do whatever, there are at least four ways to monetize their passion.
These are voluntary donations that grateful viewers send to the account indicated in the profile. Often streamers collect donations for a specific goal. This can be, for example, buying more powerful equipment or paid options in games. The size of these “thanks” depends solely on the generosity of the audience. And they, in turn, care about the quality of the stream and the streamer’s personality.
Streamer viewers who purchase a paid subscription receive additional features in exchange. For example, watching broadcasts without ads. To enable this option, you need to fulfill several platform requirements – and be sure that there are those willing to pay, for example, on WASD. To connect a paid subscription, you need to reach level 10 and create a set of stickers for subscribers.
Streaming platform affiliate program
These are third-party ad impressions during broadcasts. This option is not available to all streamers. Platforms can offer it upon reaching a certain number of subscribers and other parameters. So, to join the YouTube affiliate program, you need to have at least 1,000 subscribers and at least 4,000 hours of viewing in the last 12 months. For every thousand ad views, you can earn an average of about $3.
These are all kinds of integrations of interesting brands, from specifying a sponsor in the channel description and a small banner in the corner of the screen to telling about his product right during the broadcast. The problem is that making such ads non-annoying is a special art, not available to everyone.
There may be other ways to make money, depending on the platform—for example, WASD.TV has a League of Streamers – a competition in which even 14-year-old gamers can compete for the prize fund, which this season amounted to 6,000,000 rubles. The league consists of several events, and to win them. You need to attract as many viewers as possible to your broadcasts, who will watch the streams for at least a certain time. Such competitions are held several times a year. If you join WASD, TV now, you will be able to claim victory in the next League.
How to start streaming
Passing games is perhaps the most profitable direction in streaming. And if the stories of high-paying streamers inspire you, you love to play, and you are ready to show it – go for it. The first thing to do is create a channel on one of the platforms and find a secluded place to stream, where no one will distract you. Ideally – a separate room, and when you become a venerable streamer with an audience of thousands, you will have to acquire a separate studio.
For broadcasting, you need special software. In it, you will adjust the sound and picture parameters and choose the streaming platform. There are many video recording and streaming solutions, the most famous of Xsplit Broadcaster and Open Broadcaster Software. The first one is relatively easy to understand, but access to all its functions is paid. The second is free but more complicated. Fortunately, there are detailed tutorials on how to set it up.
A certain technical base will be required, and here everything is limited only by financial capabilities. The most economical option is a computer that can “pull” both the game and the broadcast, a webcam, and a microphone or headphones with a headset.
When you get involved and understand that you want to develop in this direction and improve the quality of broadcasts, you can buy additional equipment:
- The second computer is actually for broadcasting (and the first is for passing the game).
- A capture card is a device for connecting two computers.
- Professional microphone with stand – for clearer sound.
- Lights – to keep your skin from getting an earthy tint in the video. This often happens due to the light from conventional chandeliers. An inexpensive LED lamp is also suitable. The direction and intensity of light can be adjusted.
What you need to make money on the stream
In the early days, hardware will certainly not be critical to the success of your channel. The main thing that attracts subscribers, and after them sponsors, is the uniqueness of the stream and your ability to turn the game’s passage into a process that is interesting to watch.
It is not necessary to have top-end hardware. The main thing is desire and time. Work on yourself, learn to communicate and do a show. In general, I believe that the key to success is the human factor. This must always be remembered.
Although the human factor seems to be a rather abstract concept, a few specific recommendations can be made.
Interact with the viewer
Streams would not be so popular if the audience were only interested in the process of passing the game. It is unnecessary to play masterfully if you do not claim to win the cyber tournament.
The viewer is interested in the broadcast itself’s content and how the streamer behaves in the frame. And people also come to the channel for witty comments and answers to questions. A good streamer not only plays but also manages to read messages from the chat and respond to them.
Choose your niche carefully.
Hundreds of thousands of people play conditional Dota 2 today. It makes no sense to start just another channel about this game. You will be lost against competitors’ background or not – if you are sure that you can turn each of your streams into an exciting show thanks to emotions and appropriate jokes. Still, it might make sense to start with less popular games like The Sims 4 or Overwatch.
You can make your streams informative. For example, if you play a relatively old game, tell in parallel some interesting facts about it that the public may not remember.
Work on your speech
If you burst or stutter slightly, it doesn’t matter. You can even make it your own highlight. It is much worse if you take too long pauses, cut off speech in mid-sentence, or overuse parasitic words. The streaming plan can be salvation not to get lost in the process and not forget something important.
Record your test stream. This can be done, for example, in the Open Broadcaster Software program. Except for you, no one will see it, and you will be able to look from the outside how it looks and sounds.
If you go on air once a month, you will quickly get lost among other newcomers. If you have a main job, you won’t be able to stream daily, but you should try at least a couple of times a week. If possible, stream on a schedule, and announce new broadcasts on your social networks.
Set up receiving donations
Last but not least. Some platforms have built-in donation systems where the viewer buys the site’s internal currency and donates to the streamer. Such gifts are immediately displayed in the chat window.
There are also third-party donation services such as Donation Alerts and Streamlabs, which work for a small commission.
Be patient: donations depend on the mood of the audience, and in the first months, they may not be available at all.
Adapted and translated by The Cop Cart Staff
Sources: Life hacker