Did you know you can make money playing video games? I’m not talking about gold pieces, rupees, or credits – I’m talking about real, American dollars.
I’m not referring to being a game tester, nor am I talking about playing in tournaments either (though eSports is a rapidly growing industry and for some a legitimate career path). Did you know that League of Legends tournaments sell out the Staples Center in LA (where the Lakers play)? And that the X-Games just featured a Halo 5 tournament that was broadcasted on ESPN? It’s true.
What I’m talking about is something much more simple – all you need is a video game, a camera, and a chat room. This is the new frontier for gamers everywhere: Live Streaming. A live feed of a video game is pure entertainment. When you add a camera, microphone, and a face into the mix, you start forming real relationships. Throw in a chatroom, and now you have the makings of a community. It’s the perfect recipe for a business, or even beyond that, a brand.
So how? Why?! It’s all about the power of video, my friends. At Wistia we know a lot about that. We use video for everything we do – from onboarding, to our help pages, to internal communication and personal connections with our customers. In the “information age” where folks often lament the supremacy of text and email over face-to-face interaction, video is great for preserving interpersonal relationships online. Twitch.tv is a perfect example of this, where adding a camera or “face cam” makes you far more likely to be successful as a broadcaster. It helps you build a community and start your own online enterprise without even leaving your house (Or boat, if you happen to be the immensely popular Trick2g, who regularly broadcasts to tens of thousands of viewers. He started with just a game feed and microphone – no camera). These new age broadcasters aren’t all scraping by either – many of the top streamers can make six-figures.
The power of connection drives the majority of revenue for popular streamers. The clearest example of this are donations. Usually done through a Paypal button, donations trigger an alert that displays your username, contribution, and a personal message on the broadcast itself. On top of that, the broadcaster will give a personal shout-out to the donator on stream. What is the value of that, you might ask? Recognition – not just of their contributions, but of a relationship with the broadcaster. For a big stream, it’s not unheard of to have one or more patrons who spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars in donation money. That sounds like insanity, and to many it is. But there’s no denying that it’s downright impressive.
As fun as this may sound, there’s a reason more people aren’t just leaving the office behind and streaming full-time – it’s hard work. Building an audience doesn’t happen just because you want it to, and many of these streamers work 8, 12, or even 14 hour days, sometimes 6 or 7 days a week. I’ve heard a number of streamers say that consistency is everything, and missing a few days or even a week can cause a major drop in subscriber revenue (which also means no donations!). But for those who seek a new way of making a living, this definitely has the potential to be a dream job.
I’ll end this with a quick PSA from my personal favorite streamer, Ducksauce: