3 Ways To Monetize Your Gaming Habit
The rapidly expanding game industry is providing more and more opportunities for independent content creators
The video game industry is projected to generate 159.3 billion dollars in 2020 alone. With an average growth rate of 9.3% year over year, these numbers will continue to increase with time.
Now obviously a large part of this number is attributed to hardware, software, and accessory purchases, but there are multiple sub-industries that provide opportunities for casual, non-professional gamers to make money. Here are a few prominent examples.
1. Live Streaming
Live streaming involves recording video content and then broadcasting it for viewers to engage with. Instead of first being recorded and stored, the video content is recorded and broadcasted in real-time, hence the term live streaming.
In 2019, the global live game streaming market produced over $5 billion in revenue. This year, with the coronavirus pandemic locking everyone indoors, the market grew 45 PERCENT between March and April. Those numbers are staggering and indicate room for opportunity.
There are currently three dominant platforms that are being used by streamers both new and old. Twitch, Facebook Gaming, and YouTube Gaming. Although they all have a share of the live streaming market, the distribution is far from even. Twitch has over 70 percent of the market share, YouTube gaming has just over 20 percent, while Facebook gaming and other less known platforms make up the remaining 10 percent.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t try starting a channel on one of the smaller platforms, but keep in mind that the viewer base, and essentially your market, is substantially larger on Twitch.
How Do You Monetize?
There are multiple ways to monetize your stream. So let’s do a brief breakdown of the primary methods:
Subscriptions: Once you have qualified, your streaming platform will give you the ability to take channel subscriptions from viewers. If people decide they enjoy your content, they can subscribe to support the channel and gain access to exclusive content at the streamer’s discretion. Keep in mind that the stream platform will often take a percentage of these subscription earnings.
Donations: A donation feature can be added to your stream at any point. This allows viewers to donate money directly to you, deposited into your PayPal or other supported payment service account. These donations go directly to the streamer, no percentage taken by the platform. This is a more direct way of supporting your favorite content creators.
AD Revenue: Established streamers can run advertisements on their stream and receive a portion of the revenue for every 1000 views on a particular ad. Therefore, a stream that exposes thousands of viewers to a given advertisement can generate a healthy payout.
Keep in mind, creating a live streaming channel that can provide substantial earnings is ANYTHING BUT easy. The key to becoming successful and creating a steady income, in my opinion, is to leave the money out of it. Focus on developing a community that welcomes everyone, does not allow negativity (racism, bullying etc..), and fosters positive relationships. Your content and your community should be of paramount importance.
Organic viewers who find your channel through search results and external sources are ideal, but in the beginning, be sure to have friends and family tune in to boost your viewer count. This will help seed your stream higher than others who are sitting on 1 or 2 viewers, and increase your chances for exposure to new audiences.
2. Monetize Your Skills
Since the dawn of e-sports and professional gaming, there have been various platforms and services that provide opportunities for casual gamers to make money.
There are a whole slew of companies who have created platforms for players to bet on themselves, against each other, or gamble on the outcomes of live tournaments. I could list a bunch but instead I wanted to highlight the one that I use, called G LOOT.
G LOOT is a platform that does exactly what I mentioned, provides a place for gamers of any skill level to test their luck and potentially win money. I started about 2 months ago and currently have a wallet balance of over $200.
One quick note, this platform mainly supports shooter style games for their wagering because the “kills and deaths” structure of these games provides a clear cut system for the competitions to follow.
G LOOT has an extension that users will download, and once installed will run in the background, analyze game data, record stats, and feed those stats into the wagering system that pays out winners.
I started by doing small buy-in challenges with the $20 dollars I deposited. For example, my first ever bet was a versus challenge (myself versus another randomly assigned player). The wager was $1 with a $2 payout. The rules were simple, whoever finishes their next match with more kills, wins the $2 payout. In the event of a tie, whoever has more kill assists takes the pot.
AND I WON. I had earned my first dollar leveraging my skills. It wasn’t much but it was something!
I looked further into the challenges and potential earnings. I will do a quick breakdown for you:
Versus Challenges: You versus one other player, whoever racks up more kills takes the pot.
Solo Challenges: Challenge yourself. It is just you and the stat sheet.
Sprint Challenges: 2 hour sprint challenges. Open to all.
These sprint challenges are where the bigger payouts live. They include the biggest rewards, but are also the most competitive and populated, and therefore the hardest to win.
For anyone who needs more time to hone their skills before putting money down on these challenges, there is daily and weekly prize pools that do not require any entry fee. Simply by signing up for the platform and downloading the G LOOT stat tracking extension, you will automatically be entered in the daily and weekly kill races. You will be stacked up against other active users on your specific game, with prize pools that pay out the top 150 kill leaders.
1st Place — $32
2nd Place — $20
3rd Place — $12
4th to 15th — $4.50
16th to 45th — $3.50
46th to 90th — $2.50
91st to 150th — $1.30
1st Place — $12
2nd Place — $8
3rd Place — $5
4th to 15th — $1.50
16th to 45th — $1.30
46th to 90th — $1.00
91st to 150th — $0.50
Although there is potential for some lucrative wins, this method is by no means a steady source of income.
Definitely worth a shot if you’re spending time playing video games anyways! I have a great time doing this, and I actually stream my gambling endeavors on Twitch (www.twitch.tv/scr1bbzz).
3. YouTube Channel
Creating a gaming-focused YouTube channel is something that I have contemplated many times. There are a few primary monetization methods:
Channel memberships: Channel members pay recurring monthly fees to gain access to perks created by the channel owner
Ad Revenue: As a YouTube partner, you will receive a percentage of ad revenue for static display and overlay ads, as well as video ads on your channel.
Merchandise: Fans of your channel can purchase your merchandise or branded showcase merchandise you choose to promote.
Although it is a quite saturated space, there are various strategies you can implement to set your channel apart and gain a following.
Find your niche: It is very important to be able to offer something specific to your audience. Your niche should be something you are an expert in, or have experience speaking to.
For example: Fortnite shotgun expert — All things shotguns (new shotguns, updates, best kills, guides etc..)
As we all know nothing lasts forever, and YouTube channel creators must always be ready to pivot when the industry calls for it.
Titles/Thumbnails: The YouTube creator industry is cutthroat, everyone wants clicks, everyone is hungry for views and subscribers. As a result, your video MUST be able to capture and intrigue viewers scrolling by at 100 miles an hour. Be sure to create an eye-catching thumbnail and a video title that makes people want to watch your video. Definitely avoid click bait titles and thumbnails, these have become greatly frowned upon and will not help build your channel’s credibility.
Consistency/Community: This one is self-explanatory, consistency breeds success. Stay consistent with your content, at every stage of the journey. Your viewers want what you provide, so stay active, create a content schedule, and keep providing reasons for your viewers to become subscribers. If you’ve found a pain or pleasure point that is giving you visibility, MILK THAT SH*T. Games don’t last forever, people move on to new things, so when your commodity is hot, take advantage of it! On the other side of things, money should definitely not be your only motive. Strive to create a community of subscribers and viewers who truly enjoy you and your channel, while doing your best to provide content that is positive and inclusive.
Building multiple streams of income is something I strongly advocate. Regardless of what it is (barring illegal activities), I support each and every one of you in your endeavors.
With that being said, I want to emphasize the fact that money isn’t everything. Enjoy what you do, and always keep your audience in mind.
Consider these tips, and take your gaming habit from a hobby to an income!
I’ll see you on the battlefield.