If you’re anything like me, by this point in the year you’ve stopped paying mind to the day on the calendar and have fully embraced the Groundhog Day lifestyle.
For me, and for many others it seems, this has been a rife opportunity to go through a backlog of things you’ve always meant to enjoy. Maybe during this time you’ve picked up a new hobby, possibly inspired by our article from a few months ago about some fun titles to get you interested in video games. You're not alone. In fact, a third of all Americans have been playing more games.
Did you know there’s a way to make a little extra money by playing video games?
Believe it or not, people are making careers out of playing video games and broadcasting themselves as they play. Popular streaming sites like Twitch, which exclusively hosts streaming, and YouTube, which offers streaming services, have given people the opportunity to become full-time streamers who can make anything up to $5,000 a month by streaming 40 hours a week.
This all might sound like it’s too good to be true, and there is some merit to that. Luck plays an important role in becoming popular. But if the prospect of trying something new and making a money on the side excites you, though, keep on reading.
Here are a couple things to keep in mind as you venture into streaming: be sure you have the proper hardware, utilize both YouTube and Twitch, and remain consistent.
1. Good Hardware
Streaming is relatively easy if you have the right equipment. A quality microphone, PC setup, and internet connection are the most important things to invest in. A strong gaming PC, with enough CPU and RAM to handle high-intensity gameplay and live uploading of video is preferred. (Plus, a gaming PC is good for more than just gaming. Click here to read why.) Strong internet connection is obvious; no one wants to watch a stream and have it lag in the middle because the internet is slow. Finding a quality microphone is an excellent idea, as well, as people will probably be watching your stream more for your personality and less for the game you're playing. Also, a webcam is optional but preferred.
When you’re deciding whether to start streaming on YouTube or Twitch (or another streaming service not listed), don’t think of it like using one or the other; think of it as utilizing both. Several big-name streamers record archives of streams and upload them onto YouTube for people who couldn’t make the live broadcast. Others take their streams and cut them into shorter, more digestible videos for YouTube. This takes some additional video editing skills, but gives you the extra benefit of reaching a larger audience of people who don’t use Twitch, but regularly watch YouTube. Plus, it’s another skill you can add to your toolbelt.
With both sites, becoming a Partner of the website will allow ads to roll on your videos, earning you more money. Become a YouTube Partner is pretty straightforward: you need to have more than 4,000 watch hours in the past year, more than 1,000 subscribers, and an AdSense account. In order to become a Twitch Partner, there are a couple more requirements. You need at least 500 total minutes broadcasting and at least 7 unique broadcast days in the last month, at least 3 concurrent viewers or more over the last 30 days, and 50+ Followers.
While these requirements makes your goal feel a little more complicated, retaining one key element will help you become a Partner in no time.
What is that element, you ask?
Consistency is the name of the game. Treat it like any other job: having a set schedule where you stream makes it easier for people to schedule to tune in. Even if you’re streaming for fun, keeping a regular schedule will help you grow your fanbase. People can tune in regularly, tell their friends, who can watch regularly, who can tell their friends to watch regularly, and so on.
Alongside this, streamers play each and every type of game out there. Competitive shooters, visual novels, driving simulators, and everything in between-- feel free to stream any game you love to play, but remain consistent in the majority of games you play.
These are just a couple tips, but hopefully these help give you a better reference point in how to get started. Keep in mind that it can take months, years even, of dedication in order to grow a decent following. But it can happen!
What’s most important is for you to be doing something that you are passionate about. If you’re doing that, you can never go wrong; people will pick up on how passionate you are and will want to come back to watch you again and again.