Remember the days when the only people who’d see you play were the ones sitting next to you, perhaps also grasping a controller as you raced around a pixelated track together or sent your 2d character across the screen to fight a fearsome blob-like foe? Money generated by the video games industry has risen exponentially since the introduction of the first games systems back in 1972, and the New York Times reported that in 2018, total video games industry revenue was $43.8 billion – certainly a significant figure! So how can you continue to enjoy your favorite games and gain a slice of the money in this impressive pot too?
Getting started with streaming
What used to be merely a hobby has now grown into a worthy career for many gaming enthusiasts – and why not? Playing video games is big business, with millions of people tuning in to watch their favorite gamers talk through their travels on a regular basis. It’s not just about what you do in a game, but how you explain it to your viewers – the entertainment you offer them, and useful tips and information for them to try out when they play the game themselves.
Think about what your future fans are looking for. Give honorable mentions to people who interact regularly with your channel, be creative, and use memorable and unusual phrases that people will come to associate with you and your presenting style – you may be awkward and geeky, but if so, own it! Let your fans know what your end goal is too – do you want to invest in new games, equipment or features for your channel that’ll improve their experience, and can they be a part of helping that to happen for you?
The stuff you’ll need to get started
It may seem obvious, but the very first thing you’ll need is a Twitch account. Choose your channel identity carefully, get it set up, and then invite everyone you know in real life to follow you – don’t forget to follow and friend them too. The more people tune in and share your content, the more fans, and consequently more money, you’ll be able to get.
Next, make sure you’ve installed broadcasting software, and that you have the hardware to help show your viewers your own reactions, as well as what you’re getting up to in your game. A decent webcam that allows you to present video capture alongside gameplay is a great idea to make you more ‘real’, and you can team it with a good quality microphone to ensure crystal clear sound quality as you talk people through your actions and ideas.
Get your hands on the cash
So how does this all translate into making money? Well, firstly, you can ask for donations. Set up a link using one of the donation services on offer, and place a virtual donation box somewhere that is easy for fans to find it if they choose to donate, but no too intrusive for those who haven’t made a decision about donating – or not – yet. Your funds will wing their way to you from whichever donation service you’ve opted for, with the hope being that the more fans you gain, the more money will come rolling in (although sadly not in a supercar, or carried aloft by orcs).
If you get to the point that you have at least 500 viewers per stream, or you’ve amassed more than 100,000 YouTube subscribers (yes, set up an account on there too!) then congratulations – you qualify to become a Twitch partner. This means that you can include a subscribe button on your channel, asking people to pay a monthly fee in exchange for certain features only offered to those who contribute. You can also participate in advertising, which will be managed by Twitch and paid out to you each time you accrue at least $100.
The road to Twitch stardom isn’t always an easy one – but with many people getting into streaming simply through an appreciation of games, the effort is worth it, allowing you to make money doing something you love. If you’re enthusiastic about what you play, and willing to share that enthusiasm with others, then streaming on Twitch could be a perfect opportunity to generate some cash to invest in even more gaming in the future.
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