How to Make Money Streaming Video Games
Okay, so you’ve heard of famous Twitch streamers earning a pretty penny by live broadcasting themselves playing games. But did you know this is not only an option for elite gamers? Today, video game streaming is more than just a hobby – it is a fulltime job. And you too can make money streaming games.
Not only that, but it also pays well, it is easy to start streaming, and it is fun. Sound too good to be true? It is not!
Do not worry if you are not sure where to start. Whether you are a casual gamer already live streaming who wants to start making money or are a complete novice, we are here to guide you each step of the way.
- Prerequisites For Streaming
- Ways Streamers Make Money
- Available Platforms
- Best Games for Streaming
Prerequisites For Streaming
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to make money streaming games, it is essential you have the right equipment. Regardless of which platform you decide to use (more on that later) the equipment you need for streaming is pretty standard. You will need:
- Gaming device – be that a computer, laptop, or console
- Good internet connection
- Accounts on your chosen platform
- Your game of choice
Ways Streamers Make Money
Once you’ve been shopping it is time to get started. But hold on a second – how do you actually make money streaming games? There are a few ways that you can get paid to play games. Top video game streamers will use as many of these methods as possible to maximize their income.
Donations from Fans
Nearly all live streaming platforms allow viewers to make tips. This is one of the most rewarding ways to make money streaming games – someone has enjoyed watching you play so much that they felt like giving you a couple of bucks for, hey, doing what you love.
Most platforms have their own currencies which are equivalent to a certain amount of USD. You can learn more about the currencies of the top websites and their real-world values below.
If you do receive donations from your fans, always give a shoutout to the person who has tipped you. Showing your appreciation can really encourage viewers to tip you more. Who wouldn’t want a shoutout from their new favorite gamer?
On some platforms, if people really like your videos they can subscribe and give you regular payments. If you decide to set up a subscription, you should make exclusive content for your loyal followers as thanks for their support. However, be sure to keep your free content still exciting and impressive – you still want to attract new people to watch you play. Most subscriptions will only give you around $2 per person per month, but this is a regular income and soon racks up once you get a good following.
Top gamer Ninja, who set a record Twitch in 2018 with an astonishing 667,000 live views, since switched to the platform mixer where he gained 1 million subscribers in 5 days. He has now moved across to YouTube where he has 22 million subscribers.
With $2 a pop, we’ll let you do the math.
Using adverts as a form of income is no new idea. You only need to watch a few Youtube videos, read an online paper, or scroll down Facebook to see advertisements everywhere.
Many gamers use ads to help them earn money playing video games, but this is controversial and should not be your sole method of income. It can be a great way to earn a few extra bucks, but things have evolved now and viewers can download ad-blocking software to prevent them showing.
Not all platforms offer ads, and some are even anti-advertisements. Be sure to read our platform pages below if you want to use adverts to boost your funds to see which allow for ads.
Another way to get paid for gaming is by partnering with a brand. If you have a large following, brands will usually reach out to you and offer to sponsor you. Brand sponsorships can be one of several things:
- Banners and Advertisements – Unlike traditional ads, brand-sponsored ads allow you to have control over what advertisements your viewers see. Often they are displayed as banners across your video or profile instead of clips at the start or midway through your stream.
- Sponsorships – A brand will sponsor your entire channel, and you are limited to be being sponsored by only one brand.
- Sponsored Content – Specific content is sponsored, such as developers paying you to play their new game
This a mutually beneficial agreement and much less controversial than traditional advertisements. The key is to be clear when forming the deal with the brand so there is no miscommunication of what is expected either end. Successful brand partnerships can last for months or years.
Another option for earning cash playing games is through affiliate marketing. This is where you work with brands to promote specific products, and you earn a small commission every time someones make a purchase.
Partners usually give you an affiliate link and every time someone purchases something using your URL you receive a commission. Alternatively, you could be given a discount code to give to others that works in the same fashion. Usually, links and promotional codes are placed in your streaming account bio and you can mention them in your live stream too – just don’t over do it.
It is best to partner with brands that sell products you actually use yourself and that have something to do with gaming. These products will also likely appeal to the majority of your viewers, thus make you more sales. You are more likely to sell a gaming keyboard to your followers than a pair of ballet shoes.
Sometimes brands will reach out to you and offer an affiliate program, but don’t be scared to make contact yourself. If you are a beginner streamer, don’t go for the big fish straight away. Reach out to up-and-coming brands who are more likely to say yes to your offer. They receive free marketing and you get free products and a bit of money on the side.
Sell Tickets for Your Content
This one is quite self-explanatory – you can start selling virtual tickets for your live streams. This is known as pay-per-view streaming.
In order to pull this off successfully, you need to already have a loyal following and create content that is worthy of people paying to see it. Your number of viewers will reduce if you put a price tag on your videos, but a dedicated audience will pay.
To sell virtual tickets, you will need a platform such as StreamTick. This is a dedicated ticket service for live streaming events which allows you to have ticketed live events on Facebook and Youtube.
Other Money-Making Methods
Aside from these ways that you can make money streaming games through a platform, becoming a successful and well-known video game streamer gives you a fanbase that opens up further opportunities.
You could release your own merchandise. This might sound like a difficult task if you don’t know what you are doing, but streaming platforms give lots of advice on how to get started. You will need to come up with a product to sell such as clothing, mugs, or even eBooks, perfect the design, and set up an online store. You can link your merch with your live streaming channel and advertise it to your large audience.
Similarly, you could also coach video games. If you are a whizz at specific games, your fans will want to learn from you so that they can get as good as you. Professional gamers charge up to $200 per hour for gaming lessons.
For other ways to make money from video games, check out our homepage.
Last but definitely not least, it comes to choosing your platform. This is a vital step in becoming a successful streamer with a sustainable income.
There are three essential factors that you need to fine-tune to make the most profit, and it is a careful balancing act. Your goals when selecting a streaming platform should be to:
- Reach a wide audience
- Minimize competition from other streamers
- Use a site which takes a low commission
While one site may give you the potential of millions of views, if there are already hundreds of thousands of famous gamers streaming live, it will be difficult to be seen. On the other hand, a site that takes a low percentage of your revenue is great, but if you are only streaming to 10 people, this won’t make you much money. It is a juggling act.
Luckily, there are several great options to choose from:
Twitch is the largest video game streaming platform worldwide with 15 million daily viewers. This is our top pick for reaching a large audience which, ultimately, should be our goal if looking to earn money by playing. However, with such a large creator population it can be difficult for beginners to get noticed.
YouTube is a great streaming platform for beginners as despite there being lots of competition, your videos are more easily found when searching. You can easily stream from mobile phones by downloading their mobile app, or alternatively they have their own subsection on the website called YouTube Gaming.
Only joining the online streaming world in 2018, Facebook’s gaming platform still has a lot of catching up to do. However, previous streaming giant Mixer has shut down and is sending its users over to the Facebook platform. With the established Facebook community already in place, we can expect to see this platform boom.
Another new kid on the block, DLive, has already gained a huge reputation. Top gamer PewPieDie with 93 million subscribers on his YouTube used to use the platform, which gave it a kick-start. He claimed to love DLive as he is “treated like a real partner.” It probably also has something to do with the platform giving 100% of its subscription revenue to its users.
Best Games for Streaming
Now you have your platform, you need to choose your game. When deciding what game to stream, you should always ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I enjoy playing this game?
- Am I good at this game?
- Why do people want to watch me play this game?
You are up against thousands of other broadcasters when streaming, so make sure that no matter what game your choose, you have something new to bring to the table that sets you apart from everyone else.
In terms of viewership, popularity, and potential growth, here are the top games for streaming and earning money.
On Twitch, Fortnite streams have an average of over 127,000 viewers and it is the second most popular game on the site at the time of writing. In 2019, over 60.9 billion viewers watched Fornite streams on YouTube Gaming.
League of Legends
League of Legends (LOL) is the second most-watched game on Twitch. Its huge popularity in eSports makes its live streams equally as popular. This is big competition, but a huge audience.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
The 2019 COD Modern Warfare game is still going strong, being the 5th most popular game on Twitch. With the Call of Duty 2020 game out soon, interest in COD streams will only go up!
Want to know how to make money playing another video game? You can find an A-Z of our gaming guides to search for other titles by clicking here.
Video game streamers make on average $3,000 to $5,000 per month. Successful streamers can earn upwards of six-figure salaries.
The top video game streamers can earn from $100k per month up to $800k per month.
The richest video game streamer is thought to be Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins. He is said to be earning somewhere between $400k – $800k per month.
Yes, you can make real money playing video games. Streaming is a popular choice and one of the easiest ways to make money from gaming.
Yes, you can make a living from streaming video games. You need to establish yourself as a gamer first and build a loyal following, but once you are well-know you could be earning up to six figures every month.
Any keen gamer can start video game streaming. All you need is the correct gaming equipment and to be decent at what you are playing so others want to watch.
To stream games, you will need a gaming device (be that a computer, laptop, or console), headset, webcam, at least one game, an account on a streaming platform, and fast internet connection.