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There are 2.5 billion people across the globe that enjoy playing video games. That is quite a few people sharing in the same hobby!
Now, if only you could make money by sharing your favorite hobby with the world. The great news is now you actually can make money off of playing those addicting games.
It does take a bit of creativity, hard work, and perseverance to be successful at monetizing your love of video games.
How Do You Get Started?
In recent years, there are far more opportunities to make money playing video games than you might imagine. Usually, the biggest question is where to start. We would recommend dabbling in the concept of streaming your video gameplay as an excellent option.
So grab your most comfortable gaming chair, sit back and relax while we go over the top 12 ways to make money by streaming your favorite video games.
1. Start a YouTube Channel
On YouTube, you can connect with a community and have an opportunity to make money while doing what you love. Creators around the world have shared their voices on YouTube, and many have turned their passions into earnings. With a dedicated audience that loves tuning in to your channel, you can explore various ways to generate revenue, including from ads and other sources.
YouTube has mainly been known for videos being created and uploaded to your channel. Viewers can subscribe to your channel to be notified of your new content. Having more viewers and longer watching time will aid in monetizing your YouTube channel.
2. Join a Streaming Service like Twitch
Twitch is a streaming platform where millions of people come together live every day to chat, interact, and make their entertainment together. Twitch is a subsidiary of Amazon and serves as the leading video live streaming service.
Mainly, the service is for streaming video games, whether live or broadcasting previously recorded games. You will also want to consider looking into the best options for the equipment needed, as that will be an additional expense to get started.
Facebook is another streaming service that is on the rise and is pairing up with Microsoft. The previous Microsoft platform is Mixer, which stood out from the rest by providing an exceptional level of interactivity for viewers, but it is shutting down. Mixer was ideal for use with Xbox and Windows 10 due to its compatibility with Microsoft. Streamers are hopeful the Facebook conversion will provide positive results for the streaming platform.
There’s less competition among small streamers on Facebook, so your ability to stand out, and build an engaged community is significantly easier. This is a great new alternative streaming option to consider instead of Twitch or YouTube.
3. Getting Donations or Tips from Fans
This is a very straightforward way to make money on streaming services. Asking for donations is quite common and is usually a way also to improve your streams and stream gear.
Many streamers upload exclusive content that is only available for these donating patrons.
You can come up with unique rewards for accepting donations, such as getting access to things like your private group chat, movie nights, and Q&A sessions. Recognition, merchandise, and such are also common rewards.
You can implement a tier system, in which a donating patron gets more access the more they donate. You can also choose to get monthly donations or a one-time fundraising event instead.
The important part here is the concept of adding value to your stream and then reminding them of the perks. You are not directly asking for donations on stream, but instead offering perks to supporters.
This is also another great way to grow your loyal audience and make them feel that they are a part of your stream!
- YouTube’s main tipping service is Super Chat. Viewers can use tips to pin messages in your channel’s chat window, making them more noticeable. YouTube also lets users buy chat animations called Super Stickers, and you get a cut of each purchase.
- Twitch allows viewers to “cheer” using Bits, the platform’s virtual good. If you’re a Twitch affiliate or a partner, you get around a cent for every Bit a viewer uses when cheering. The viewers get to write a message that appears together with a special kind of emote, a Cheermote.
- Facebook’s tipping service revolves around Stars, a type of virtual good viewers can buy and send to you, giving you a cent per Star. You need to be a part of Facebook’s Level Up program to enable Stars. Facebook also supports charitable fundraising donations for a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) organizations.
- Mixer had a system where viewers accrue Sparks by watching streams and spend them on Skills – animation and gifs. Getting enough Skills would get you a payout. Viewers could also buy Embers and trade them for more impressive Skills, which gave you more significant payouts. It is unknown if this will cross over into the Facebook streaming platform.
4. Regular Viewer Payments
Receiving the occasional tip from viewers is always a fantastic feeling. However, getting a regular payment, of course, would be ideal. These regular payments usually net you a couple of dollars each, but if you can get enough of them, they sure can add up.
You usually need to meet specific requirements for enabling this kind of support, as platforms keep it for members of their content creator programs. The platforms that have not achieved it yet will probably role out this feature in the future, as it’s proving to be a popular way to make money streaming.
- YouTube has a channel membership program that allows users to join channels with monthly payments. To open your channel to this opportunity, you need to be in the YouTube Partner Program and meet additional eligibility requirements.
- Twitch has a paid subscription program that lets you earn from paid subscriptions if you’re an Affiliate or Partner. Your viewers get one subscription for free through Twitch Prime, or they can pay for them using PayPal, Amazon Pay, or credit cards.
- Facebook Gaming has a subscription program in the works. This may change with the new integration from Microsoft.
If the platform you use allows it, you should make content that is available just to your subscribers. This is an excellent way to give your most loyal viewers a little bit more for their support.
Also, remember to shout out to the people who subscribed, and maybe even give them a mention on their subscription anniversary.
5. Revenue from Ads
Why not use ads to fund your live streaming? Advertising dollars are already used to power half the internet, including Google services and Facebook. If you join the right streaming platform or social network, you can also start earning the advertising money.
You will need to join the right streaming platform, though, because not all of them offer ads. In fact, some are decidedly anti-ads, such as DLive. Others have not yet included a third-party advertising service.
If ads are what you want to make money from, these are the platforms to join:
- YouTube offers pre-roll and mid-roll ads, as well as display and overlay ads.
- Facebook Live offers mid-roll ads if you meet the viewership number criteria.
- Twitch offers in-stream ads, as well as display and native ad opportunities.
Advertising in live streaming is a hot topic and a regular cause of controversy. You might want to exercise as much control as you can over the advertisements displayed during your streams or on your channel. Also, remember that viewers can use ad-blocking software to prevent some ads from showing. It’s not the best idea to have ads as the sole monetization option for your live streaming.
6. Reach out for Brand Deals and Sponsors
Less controversial than regular ads, brand deals and sponsorships are another way you can engage with businesses in a mutually beneficial arrangement.
After you get a following for your stream, whether it’s on YouTube, Twitch, or elsewhere, to generate more revenue, you may begin to be contacted by potential brands and sponsors. If you have a large following on streaming platforms and you’ve made a name for yourself, brands will reach out to you with offers. If they don’t, you’ll have to do the reaching out.
To acquire sponsors, the first thing you need to do is prepare to impress them. Make sure your channel displays precisely what you envisioned. You will then want to search for brands that you like that might be interested in sponsoring you. It is also essential to consider whether or not you would use their products. This is important as you will be marketing for that brand!
Some of the ways you make money streaming through deals with brands include:
- Sponsorships, where a brand sponsors your whole streams.
- Banners and other types of advertisements you can display during your streams or on your channel or profile page on the platform.
- Sponsored content, like when a game developer pays you to play their game.
7. Affiliate Sales
A membership in an affiliate program will allow you to get a commission every time a shopper clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase. You might not even need to post a link, as sometimes everything you need is a promo or coupon code they can use when they shop at the place you’re promoting.
The way this usually works is that you place the link or the code somewhere in your stream description. You might even mention the coupon code once or twice during the stream. The link or the code is provided to you once you join the affiliate program.
The critical thing to remember is that, unless it has a deal with the partnership program, the platform isn’t profiting from your affiliate sales. So, make sure to keep your content to the point, and the products or services you recommend relevant to the content. Don’t make content only for the sake of making sales – how you make money streaming should be second to creating good content.
8. Provide Game Play Tutorials
Providing gameplay tutorials is a great way to grab new viewers and monetize gameplay. Your YouTube channel or streaming site will earn money with every person that clicks on it. Advertisers pay Google, for instance, to display ads on videos. Google, a division of Alphabet, owns YouTube.
To start, open an account at AdSense, and link it to your YouTube account. Choose whether you want video or banner ads to display.
It does take more time to make money off the concept of video game tutorials. You will want to work toward growing your audience into the thousands to make decent money off this concept.
9. Create and Sell your Merchandise
Merch is a significant revenue stream for many people who live-stream video content. The streaming platforms have recognized it, giving users plenty of advice and offering them some genuinely great tools to help boost merch sales.
Even with these tools, you’ll still have plenty of things to figure out on your own, if this is your choice of how to make money streaming—the kind of products you want to sell, for example. T-shirts, mugs, and even plush toys are a good choice. You can also sell digital products and goods, such as music or eBooks.
You’ll also have to think about the design, production, inventory, and shipping. There are a couple of ways you can do this, for example:
- Build your online store, handle production, store inventory, and ship products, all on your own.
- Get in charge of the design, but let one of the platform-approved companies take care of the rest for a cut.
- Partner with stores that let you take advantage of unique opportunities on select platforms, such as YouTube merch shelf.
Each of these solutions will offer you different profit margins and will require different levels of involvement. You can handle everything and take on both the expenses and the profits. You can outsource some of it for a cut of the profits. Either way, you can tie your merchandize business with your live stream.
10. Compete in Tournaments
While not a consistent source of money (unless you’re incredibly talented), winning game tournaments for competitive games like Call of Duty, League of Legends, Fortnite, etc. can net you some serious cash.
One of the world’s top e-sports competitive, Timothy Miller (aka “Bizzle”), earns around $322k per year participating in Fortnite tournaments.
This is probably the easiest way to make money playing video games, but also not a big earner unless you’re good at the game and consistently win.
11. Video Game/Stream Coaching
If you think that sharing your knowledge through seminars, workshops, or classes, you hold sounds too academic for your taste, how about you become someone’s mentor, a coach, or a teacher?
As long as you have the skills or the knowledge that other people might find useful, you can earn money off them, and live streaming can help.
One of the coolest ways to make money playing video games is by offering to coach on your favorite competitive game (such as League of Legends).
Video game coaches make anywhere from $20 to $200 per hour, depending on how good they are and how in-demand their services are. For example, Metaphor, a League of Legends coach, offers services for $50 to $80 per hour.
Getting started as a coach typically means gaining an audience through a platform like YouTube and offering your services to your audience.
12. Get Signed on an eSports Team.
Esports players earn an average of $1,000 to $5,000 per month or about $60,000 per year. It’s grown massively since its inception in the late ’90s and has been increasing each year exponentially.
Top games paying players include Dota 2, Counter-Strike, League of Legends, Starcraft II, and Fortnite (among others).
The best way to become a pro player is to focus on a single game, get extremely good, and use other platforms to show off your skills (like Twitch and YouTube). Many of these players are found and signed on thanks to these platforms.
However, you don’t have to be a player to make money in eSports. There are multiple other career paths, such as:
- Hosting esports events
- Coaching other online players
- Streaming and commentating on esports matches
- Acting as a referee
- Sales and marketing specialist
- Social media manager for a team or game producer
The Wrap Up
Now that you have an entire list of options to choose from go ahead and explore which ones are best for you.
Try not to forget that it will take some time and effort if you want to be able to make substantial money while playing those awesome games.
Consider trying several different outlets at once! For example, you could give both streaming and doing game tutorials a try. You could start a Twitch channel, and also use Youtube to post videos and maximize viewership.
Now all that is left to do is select which methods you feel will work best for you.