Even just a few years ago, people didn’t grow up dreaming about being gamers for a living. Most of us had to choose from the usual job options — doctor, lawyer, mechanic, business owner, etc. — with very little flexibility or room for creativity in between.
Luckily, times have changed, and many new and exciting career paths have presented themselves. For instance, if you love playing video games, why not make it a full-time gig?
The gaming career is hotter than ever, and there are tons of options out there for those who want to either develop the next hit game or play games professionally. Becoming a professional gamer may be hard work, but it’s hard work that you can put towards making money doing something you truly love. What could be better than that?
Want to learn how to turn your hobby into a full-fledged gaming career? Read on for our top tips on how to grow your gaming income.
What’s Your Angle?
There are plenty of ways to approach a gaming career, so it’s crucial that you figure out exactly what it is that you love about video games before diving in.
For example, do you love gaming and feel that you have a unique personality or angle to offer to the streaming community? You may want to try live streaming your video gameplay.
Do you like to be on the cutting edge of what’s new in the gaming work? Consider a career as a game tester.
If you have the skills, you could even start working in video game development or as a game artist (although some of these careers, like becoming an audio engineer, often require a college degree). The options are endless, and more video game jobs continue to pop up daily.
Once you hone in on exactly what it is about video games that you’re the most passionate about, you can focus on ways to turn that passion into a bonafide career.
How Can You Make a Career Out of Streaming Games?
Although there are plenty of different opportunities in the gaming career path, none are as widely known and coveted as becoming a game streamer or content creator. That’s why we’re going to focus our attention specifically on what it takes to start streaming and turn it from a fun hobby or side gig into a full career.
1. Invest in the Right Setup
Your personality is obviously a crucial part of becoming a streaming success. Still, before you can develop your brand and persona and start to build up your following, you need to have the right technology on hand to support your channel.
Here are the basic components you need to get started:
- A solid internet connection. Upgrading your internet connection, whether you have a wired connection (like ethernet) or Wi-Fi, can easily make or break your gaming career. We recommend having an internet speed of anywhere between 25 and 100 mbps.
- A strong graphics card. The higher quality your graphics card is, the more crisp, clear, and seamless your content will be. We recommend looking through Nvidia’s offerings, as their GPUs are widely used in the streaming industry.
- A quality microphone and/or camera. Making sure that you can be seen or heard crystal clear is one way to make sure that you find and keep loyal followers. For microphones, consider dynamic or condenser options. For cameras, consider a high-quality webcam capable of streaming in 4K — Logitech is a great place to start.
2. Pick Your Platforms
The next step in your gaming career is to decide which platform or platforms you want to stream on. There are many options to choose from, but most streamers find the most success on either Twitch or YouTube.
The difference between Twitch and YouTube and which will be your best choice comes down to personal preference. Both platforms offer streamers the ability to host their channels and the potential to make money doing it through a process called monetization.
However, don’t feel like you have to pick just one platform and dedicate all your time to it. Diversifying your content creation on different platforms and offering unique options on each of them gives you the potential to draw in even more followers.
Plus, this opens up even more ability to interact with your followers. Followers that feel seen and heard by the creators they follow are more likely to remain loyal and keep coming back for more.
3. Choose The Right Games To Play
If you take a quick look around Twitch or YouTube, you’ll see that there are a lot — and we mean a lot — of streaming channels. Most of those channels focus on video games, but the range can vary greatly.
Obviously, there are a large number of streamers that focus on the bigger game franchises, Call of Duty being one of the most popular. Minecraft, Fortnight, Overwatch, and League of Legends are also popular choices.
However, instead of just focusing on what’s popular, you want to also make sure that you choose a game to stream based on your own interests. Your viewers can tell if you’re not totally into what you’re playing — having a real love for the game comes across as far more genuine than just doing something because you think it’ll be popular.
Before you decide to stream a new game, take a look at the main platforms and see what people are watching and streaming. But remember, even if you’re streaming a game that is fairly popular, having a unique angle can still set you apart.
Creating the perfect bite-sized clip or a compilation video of what makes you different is an excellent way of helping you stand out — and Powder PC can help make that a reality. With our one-click montage feature and automatic AI clipping software, we’ll take care of the technical stuff so that you can focus on the joy of the game.
4. Explore Your Options For Monetization
Each platform you can launch your gaming career on has its own specific way to pay its content creators. Most of them require you to meet a strict set of criteria — usually a set amount of followers, views, and videos — before you can apply for their monetization tier.
However, that’s not the only way that you can make money from your gaming career (although that can be one of the most reliable). If you’re creative enough, you can turn video games into a serious money maker in other ways, as well!
For example, once you build your channels and have enough followers to become a staple in the game streaming community, you can connect with brands to sponsor you. Sponsorship can help you create merchandise, provide you with financial help, and even help earn you more views.
If brand sponsorship isn’t for you, you could also consider a gaming career in esports. What is esports, you ask?
Essentially, esports are a competitive way to play video games in the same way that many people watch or enjoy sports. Even ESPN has gotten in on the action, with an entire section dedicated to tracking what’s happening in the competitive gaming sector.
If you get good enough at your specific game, you can travel and compete against other people as an esports athlete— potentially taking home huge cash prizes and getting even more recognition for your channel.
What About Gaming Journalism?
If you love to play games, but you don’t want to do it in the spotlight, you can also consider a career in gaming journalism. Like other forms of journalism, gaming journalism allows you to write about many different subjects surrounding video gaming.
Some people make a living out of reviewing newly released video games. If you become well-known enough in your field, you may even have access to new releases before they come out to the general public. Other people like to write professionally about esports, featuring players from the top teams, big tournaments, or even write-ups of the big winners after the event is over.
Having a degree in journalism can help, but what matters most is that you’re passionate about what you’re writing about and have a unique way of connecting with people through your words.
What About Project Management?
Not everyone with a love for gaming has the desire to be in the spotlight. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to give up on your dreams and pick a more conventional job — there are still options out there for people who don’t have a burning desire to be front and center.
If you have natural leadership skills and enjoy working with creative people, you may be able to pursue a career in project management.
When you work as a project manager in the video game industry, you can help other people who work in gaming companies (like video game designers, marketing managers, and game programmers) be more focused and get their job done more efficiently. You can manage budgets, help with market research, and encourage team members to work together to bring a new game into the world.
While having a college degree isn’t always required, most gaming companies will consider your application a lot more seriously if you do have one. Ultimately, though, it comes down to having the right skill set to be able to effectively manage people — something that a college degree doesn’t teach you.
The Bottom Line
The gaming career is far more diverse than people expect, with even more options than the ones we listed above, and with a wide range of opportunities available to those who are interested in working hard to make it happen. Although pursuing a job in the gaming arena is definitely fun, it does require just as much hard work and determination as any other job does.
However, when you find the place you belong and dedicate yourself to learning all you can about making yourself successful in the field, you can carve out a unique place for yourself. After all, you know what they say: “If you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
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