No, I’m not exaggerating. You’ve probably heard of some of them. Whether it’s Fortnite World Cup Winner Bugha (Kyle Geirsdorf), who became a millionaire at 16, or Ninja (Richard Tyler Blevins) who has had a successful gaming career which he has kept up with for over a decade, you’ve already heard some of the success stories. However, you probably haven’t heard of the thousands of other teenagers that are making more money with gaming than they would with a full-time job. Today you’re going to find out how they did it, and if your child can do the same.
Foster an Audience
Attention = Revenue. It’s no scientific formula, but in today’s online age it may as well be Newton’s 4th law. Today, children as young as 13 years old are creating massive communities through Twitch and YouTube, and there are more ways to monetize that audience than ever before.
First, to grow the audience, you must post or stream consistently and make content that people crave watching. Though this goal is very simple, the trouble is in finding the right formula. It may take months of testing, but eventually, with diligent practice and changes, there’s a good chance of growing a small audience. Once you have the audience, it's time to start raking in the dough.
YouTube is simple. Achieve 1,000 subscribers, and 4,000 hours of watch-time on your videos, and you can start placing ads on your content. The typical payout is between $1 to $3 for every 1,000 views in the gaming space. That doesn’t seem like much, but when channels can rake in 50 million views in a single month, it’s easy to see how quickly that can add up.
Just like YouTube, Twitch has a partner program to help its creators earn money. The even better news is you don’t have to be a part of it to start cashing out. Setting up a donation link on stream is easy, which lets any of your viewers send you money to show their appreciation. The typical "expert" streamer makes between $3,000 and $5,000 per month by playing 40 hours a week. More average streamers will make roughly $250 in ad revenue per 100 subscribers or $3.50 per 1,000 views. This might sound like a crazy concept, but believe it or not, it's real.
The more common way to earn on Twitch however is through subscribers. Unlike YouTube, subscribers on Twitch pay a monthly fee, but they also unlock unique abilities, like using certain emojis or being able to type in chat during sub-only streams. For a channel to allow viewers to subscribe, it must gain 50 followers, maintain an average of 3 simultaneous viewers within the last 30 days, stream 500 minutes or more within the last 30 days, and stream over at least 7 days over the last 30 days. After that, it's just about keeping the stream entertaining and staying consistent.
Create a Space
Building an environment for gamers to play is the second big-ticket way to make a lot of money in gaming. How do you do it? Build a game within a game. The biggest examples are Minecraft and Roblox Servers.
Creating a Server
Both Roblox and Minecraft allow players to create and host their own servers in different ways. It’s a very complex process and frankly, it would take too long for me to explain, but you can read more about it here. What I will explain briefly, is how to make money once you’ve built them.
Roblox has a developer-supported exchange program that lets you trade their in-game currency (Robux) for real-world cash. Make a great server that lots of people play and spend their Robux on, then BAM! You’re making real money.
Minecraft is a bit different. A Minecraft server can essentially be run like its own game. Charging for admission to the server, selling merchandise, and offering purchases for certain advantages on the server are all options for monetization. Minecraft surveys aren’t set up through the company itself, and there’s no in-game currency exchange.
For a quick reference of just how massive a server can become, watch this short clip where Youtuber and streamer Vikkstar reveals how much money he’s made from Minecraft servers. (Hint: it’s a lot!)
Enhance Other Projects
The first two methods have been all about building from the ground up. The third and final method I’m discussing is about creating value for what others are building.
Video editors are in high demand. From Big YouTubers hiring multiple editors to pump out lots of videos a week, to unknown pro players trying to get their montage to blow up, there are lots of people looking to hire video editors.
Getting started is easy. First, find software that works for you. I recommend Adobe Premiere Pro, or if you’re looking to start for FREE go with Davinci Resolve. Then learn the ins and outs. You can take courses online, watch YouTube videos with tips, or the most practical path to becoming a great editor is to just get your hands dirty and learn while making and editing videos yourself.
Every single YouTube video has a thumbnail, and those YouTubers are willing to pay good money to get a top-notch thumbnail. To learn how to make thumbnails look at the current popular YouTubers for the games you are interested in, and practice making similar thumbnails.
The most common tools for designing thumbnails are Adobe Photoshop for more complex thumbnails and Canva for simpler creations. Practicing and creating a portfolio of your work is the best way to break into the industry.
Why it Matters
Is your child wasting too much time playing video games? Well, the answer to that question is up to your interpretation. Gaming is a growing industry with endless opportunities waiting to be capitalized on. The only thing stopping your child from making money like so many other kids is the knowledge that it is possible. Maybe it’s time you broaden their horizons.
Written by Or Briga, Co-founder & CEO of NOVOS