Rounding it up
The internet has helped create industries and jobs never seen before, such as gaming streaming.
As a side hustle, game streaming can be used to build up savings, afford living expenses, or put extra money away for retirement.
Earnings from game streaming vary and depend on many factors, including how much time you spend streaming and how many followers you have.
The advent and proliferation of the internet has led to the invention of brand new industries, allowing people to make money in previously unheard of ways. That includes –which may have seemed impossible just a few years ago– the ability to make money online playing video games. If that sounds like a dream come true, read on to learn more about making money as a game streamer.
What is a game streamer?
Game streamers broadcast themselves playing video games online. They’re similar to Youtubers and other streamers but, the difference is, game streamers broadcast themselves to their audiences live.
There are multiple platforms for game streaming, with the most popular being Twitch, Youtube, and Facebook. Like a Youtuber, game streamers can accrue subscribers on their channel, which increases their visibility and, ultimately, their potential earnings. The various streaming platforms have pros and cons, but whatever platform a gamer chooses becomes key to their earning potential.
Game streaming is like theatre. It’s a form of entertainment that encourages game streamers to assume personas that entertain their viewers, with a lot of room to improvise.
What do I need to become a gamer?
It’s easy to think of game streaming as kid’s play, but it’s actually a complex and highly technical enterprise that requires a high level of technical literacy. As with theater, the people involved in the technical aspects of game streaming are just as instrumental as those creating a set.
Being a game streamer is not just about playing games (though, that is a large part of it), but it also involves ensuring that certain pieces of technical equipment work together. This includes broadcast software, lighting, and multiple other pieces of hardware, such as a microphone, gaming system, and personal computer.
It’s possible to stream games on just a console if you have an Xbox or PS5. This is the quick and easy route to streaming, though the output quality isn’t as high as using a laptop or PC. The positive, though, is that there’s a smaller financial investment involved, due to the simpler technological requirements.
The internet has many resources to help guide you to what equipment is required for game streaming: you’ll need a relatively high-speed processor and a video capture card if you connect your console to your laptop or PC. To complete your setup, a microphone is also required. Even though a simple USB mic that plugs into your PC or laptop would work just fine, an X Connector, Lock Connector, Rubber Boot Mic (XLR Mic) is the “gold standard” for producing the best quality sound.
Game streaming: hobby, side hustle, or full-time job?
Turning a hobby into a side-hustle or even a full-time job might seem like a pipe dream. However, a lot of people, particularly since the start of the COVID pandemic, are making this dream a reality. Whether baking, jewelry-making, or mask-sewing, people are adapting to the precarious labour market by turning their pastimes into enterprises. And game streaming is one possible way to monetize a fun hobby.
From hobby to side hustle
A side hustle can help boost your income in uncertain times and speed up your rate of savings. Better yet, if the side hustle is something you’re passionate about, it can be an enjoyable way to spend your time while also making money. If you already stream games as a pastime, it may be worth considering turning this hobby into a side gig. Maybe, one day, it can become a full-time job that you actually enjoy!
To establish game streaming as a side-hustle, you need to approach the hustle with more discipline and strategy than if it were simply a hobby. You need to define your goals and your limitations. This includes how much money you’re willing to invest in your gaming setup.
Ask yourself: how much time and money are you able or willing to devote to game streaming as your side-hustle? Keeping this in mind will help you establish discipline and strategy in turning your hobby into a side-hustle.
Though many business pursuits fail, there’s always the chance that you will turn your side-gig into a full-time job. If you eventually find yourself in a financial position to quit your day job, you can go all-in by simply devoting more time to game streaming. This would require at least some level of financial independence, including substantial retirement savings, minimal living expenses, and little to no debt. Assuming you have enough savings to retire, game streaming may be able to provide you with enough income for your everyday expenses. If you don’t have enough to retire and are looking to replace your regular income, you’ll have a lot more pressure to make money.
How much can game streamers make?
Like a lot of side-gigs, the amount of money game streamers make varies. The general rule of thumb for most fun jobs out there is that earnings are limitless in theory but, in reality, many participants don’t earn much at all.
Taking Twitch as an example, a streamer earning $3,000 to $5,000 a month is considered “expert level.” A small percentage of gamers make substantially more, up to hundreds of thousands a year, however, a more realistic goal for someone who game streams as a side gig or hobby is $1,500 per month or less.
It takes strategy and discipline to turn an enjoyable hobby into a side gig or possibly a full-time gig. In order to begin making money as a game streamer, there are a few things you have to have in order: you need the appropriate equipment, time, and dedication. Once you have your setup, choose a platform where you want to stream.
Example: how to make money on Twitch
Twitch is one of the most popular platforms for streaming. To start making money on Twitch, you need to first become a Twitch affiliate by meeting specific criteria. This requires having at least 50 followers, at least 500 minutes of monthly broadcast time, at least seven broadcast days, and an average of at least three concurrent viewers. Once you meet the criteria for being a Twitch affiliate, you can start making money when viewers pay to subscribe to your channel, by earning donations for your streaming, and even making commission off of games you help sell.
After establishing yourself as a Twitch affiliate, the goal is to become a Twitch partner. Just like becoming a Twitch affiliate, there are multiple criteria you need to meet in order to qualify as a Twitch partner. Those criteria are more rigorous but becoming a Twitch partner is key to helping you make substantial money on the platform. To become a Twitch partner, you’ll need at least 25 hours of broadcast per month, 12 separate broadcast days, and a minimum of 75 concurrent viewers at any given time.
Twitch is just one platform for game streaming. And, while there are others, it’s one of the best known. Though gamers and Youtubers are not one and the same, many game streamers choose to upload their streams to YouTube for additional revenue via that platform.
So, how much can the top streamers make? Richard Tyler Blevins, better known by his streaming handle – Ninja, is one of the most well-known gamers, and has reportedly made $500,000 in one month of streaming. He’s also played with celebrities, such as Drake. With this as a reference point, the sky's the limit as far as how much you can earn as a game streamer.
To become a gamer or not?
The internet has changed the world in more ways than one. It has also changed our economy. While some professions struggled to survive, some new ones have sprouted up. Game streaming is one such “modern” occupation. Gaming is already inherently competitive but like most occupations with minimal barriers to entry, playing the game not only to win but also to earn can be demanding.
But if you love gaming, why not try to make money at it? It’s possible that your effort to monetize your passion may yield only minimal earnings or no earnings at all, and thus remain your hobby. However, it is possible that your hobby might evolve into a lucrative side gig that’ll help you pad your slush fund and save extra for retirement. It could even evolve into a full-time job.
And who knows? You might be the next Twitch Ninja and get the opportunity to play live with Drake!
Yekaterina Galanova enjoys writing about personal finance, as well as aesthetic topics, though she is open to discovering new niches. She enjoys reading, traveling and beautiful landscapes.