How many times growing up did your parents or someone else tell you to stop playing games and start focusing on what’s important – you know, mathematics, writing essays, putting in time and effort towards developing skills for your future career?
Well, the joke’s on them, the age of gaming has finally come and now it’s easier than ever to have a lucrative career within this industry.
Does this mean you have to dedicate thousands of hours to mastering a single game in the hopes of entering extremely competitive eSports tournaments and winning some prize money? Hardly.
A new generation of gaming professionals has risen, and they’re not competing in tournaments, they’re not competing against each other, or even leaving their bedrooms: they’re streaming live for everyone’s entertainment and making a killing at the same time. The best part? You can do it too.
What is streaming?
Does it have to do with rivers and raging currents?
No, streaming is the process of playing a video game live on the internet while viewers watch and comment, much the same as people would watch a live game of football or cricket. It’s facilitated through specialised sites such as Twitch (and to a lesser extent YouTube), and allows streamers and fans alike to communicate with each other in real time. It’s the ultimate symbiotic relationship, combining vlogging and gaming. Streamers get to play games they love all day and viewers to get to watch their favourite gamers in action.
How do streamers make money?
This is an understandable question to ask – after all, how could playing video games online possibly result in a sustainable monthly income?
The answer is that there are two main ways of making money by streaming video games online. If you stream via Twitch, then you’re able to receive money by acquiring subscribers – viewers who pay a monthly membership to Twitch, a percentage of which goes to the streamer – the higher the number of subscribers, the more money the streamer receives.
The second way is through donations. These can be received directly via Twitch or through a PayPal account – in this case the gamer can create a website specifically for their streaming through a provider such as 1&1, and embed a donation button to direct payments through PayPal. This way, they can avoid paying any commission. There’s also Patreon. This account allows fans to support streamers and other creators by donating a monthly sum of money which allows them to cover costs and carry on creating content – in this case, to be able to carry on streaming.
What will you need?
Sounds good so far right? Well, not just anyone can stream. You’ll need a number of things before you can start making money.
To start with, you’re going to need a decent computer that can handle the latest games with latest graphics. Next, you’ll need a camera and a microphone to record yourself while you stream – interacting with viewers is one of the main components of streaming. And lastly, you’ll need a bubbling personality and at least some gaming acumen, but these can be gained through practice.
Being at least proficient at the game you expect to stream is a given – no one wants to watch an amateur and some of the highest paid streamers are those who have mastered their games of choice.