Over the last decade, many gamers have been able to earn a liveable wage by live-streaming their gameplay. Each year, the estimated number of gamers and streamers continues to grow, giving people from all walks of life the opportunity to earn doing something they love.
Several broadcasting platforms have a way for your viewers to tip you through an on-platform currency (ie. Twitch uses Bits and Facebook Gaming uses Stars). They also have membership programs where viewers can subscribe to your channel in exchange for channel benefits (use of exclusive emotes, etc). You can also earn through crowd-funding such as donations through third-party services.
Most broadcasters who are serious about earning a livable wage work with sponsors. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a “top streamer” in order to find sponsorships. Many companies are willing to work with smaller channels who are working hard to provide valuable content or have active communities. A great first step is to follow the Twitch streamer guides by StreamScheme to learn how to brand your channel and set up your equipment.
The amount you can earn live-streaming is directly related to your influence value. How do you build that value? Through proper branding, adequate equipment and software, and entertaining content. Streamers who have made a name for themselves have found a way to blend these elements together and promote themselves.
Your branding should be designed with your target demographic in mind. You know your personality and what you want to stream. Who would be attracted to your content? What would draw them to it? If you want to broadcast horror games, using a pink unicorn as your logo’s symbol wouldn’t be ideal (unless you can incorporate a dark element to it). Your brand includes your stream name, your logo, one or two base colors, and your personality. In time, you will be able to tweak certain elements of it to better align with your audience.
In addition to a personal computer, professional streamers use webcams (or video cameras), microphones, and specialized equipment. As the industry has grown, manufacturers have designed products that are specifically designed with streamers in mind. An example would be Elgato’s Stream Deck which can be customized with many scenes, sounds, or multi-key functions that can be activated with a touch of a button. Streamers can also stream from some consoles by using a capture card. While you don’t need specialized items to start streaming, it is a good idea to upgrade your setup as you generate earnings. This will show your community that you are dedicated to giving them good content.
Once you’ve got your equipment in place, you need to choose a downloading software. While there are paid options, there are many quality programs available for free. Add extensions and widgets to that software to add special effects to your broadcasts, moderate your chat, and allow your viewers to interact with you. Some of these apps have a learning curve, but there are many online tutorials available to help you learn.
When you have everything set up and in place, it’s time for you to stream. Keep things entertaining by chatting with your viewers, co-streaming with other broadcasters, and staying active playing your game. You can also play with your fans periodically to build Twitch viewers.
Promote your stream through social media and building a strong community hub. It can be difficult to start out without the support of a small following, but as you build it, more will come.