Sri Lankan millennials most likely began playing video games for entertainment purposes. It was initially reserved for upper-middle-class households with the means to purchase most of these games. The rules of the game changed when Generation Z entered the picture. Some families had PlayStation consoles, but the vast majority had computers. Fast forward to the current generation, and the landscape has completely changed. When you add COVID to that, the gaming revolution began with gamers, live streaming, and eSports as the new buzzwords. Being a game streamer on Twitch, Facebook, or YouTube is now a legitimate source of income, and the Sri Lankan youth are quickly catching on to it.
Game Streaming currently represents an essential element of internet culture. Streamers have become famous by themselves, with thousands of young fans regularly tuning in to watch their latest broadcasts and interact with their gameplay. The global gaming industry is expanding steadily, fueled primarily by cloud gaming and mobile gaming. As smartphones gain processing power and the 5G network becomes more popular, games are expected to become more interactive and streaming-based. Twitch, owned by Amazon, YouTube, which has a dedicated video game streaming section, and Mixer, owned by Microsoft, are the dominant platforms for video game streaming. Facebook, too, threw its hat into the ring in January 2018. And the world’s largest social media network is already demonstrating to some of its creators that it could be the most viable streaming service yet.
Everyone should be aware of two facts about live streaming in 2021. The first is that live broadcasting is no longer only about playing video games and inviting others to watch (though that still happens). The second, and more importantly, is that live streaming is more than simply a hobby for many people-it’s a legitimate source of income. For some, it is even a full-time job.
However, reaching the point where you get paid to live stream takes time, dedication, and you need to put out content that entices people to watch you. Those that make a fortune from streaming are a tiny minority. On Twitch, for example, the top 5,000 channels receive 75% of total viewing time. Twitch has almost two million channels. However, if you’re willing to put in the hard work, streaming could be a lucrative source of income. You can get paid to play games in a variety of ways. Top video game streamers will employ as many of these strategies as possible to maximize their earnings.
Donations (As we Sri Lankans call it, the “Eka Bar” Phenomenon)
Viewers can leave tips on nearly all live streaming platforms. This is one of the most rewarding ways to make money online. When someone enjoys watching you play, they want to reward you with a few dollars for, hey, doing what you love. Most platforms have currencies that are worth a certain amount of USD. On Facebook, viewers can donate in the form of stars and subscriptions. The terminology may change, but the source remains constant. When streamers receive donations, they usually give a shout out to the person who tipped them, and if the tip is above a certain amount, we’ve seen certain local streamers take it to the next level. Some estimates were published on social media saying a particular streamer made 200,000 to 300,000 per day just through donations. Some streamers also use larger online platforms, such as GoFundMe or other project-based funding platforms, to raise funds for charitable purposes. Many streamers use these platforms to raise funds for cancer research, COVID relief, natural disaster relief, and other causes. This not only benefits the respective cause but also increases the value of your brand as a streamer. Follow local streamers such as Hashano / Evanji / Kissa or the currently trending “Shashi Nishadi” to get a sense of how donations are happening in a local context.
If your subscribers like your videos, they can subscribe and give you regular payments on some platforms. If the gamer decides to set up a subscription, they should create exclusive content for loyal followers to thank them for their reoccurring support. However, you should keep your free content exciting and impressive. You still want new people to come watch you play. Most subscriptions will only pay you around $2 per person per month, but this consistent income quickly adds up once you have a good following.
Revenue via Brand Deals / Advertisements/ Affiliate Sales
More views equal more revenue from advertisements as your viewership or audience grows. AD promotions, according to experts, only come after you’ve established your brand name. These ads could be placed on many platforms. Once you see regular advertisements coming in, the next thing a streamer looks for is a brand deal or sponsorship. A joystick, gaming accessories, drinks, or even in-game merchandise could be included. It can be done in a variety of ways. One way that’s used by many streamers is by purely endorsing the product as an advertisement.
Affiliate marketing is a terrific way to generate revenue while playing games, but it is rarely seen in the local gaming context. You work with brands to advertise specific things, and you get paid a commission every time someone buys something. When a partner provides you with an affiliate link, you will receive a commission every time someone purchases something using your URL. Alternatively, you could also be given a discount code that works the same way as giving to others. Links and promotional codes are usually included in your streaming account bio, and you can also mention them in your live stream – don’t go overboard.
Selling merchandise can only be successful when you have reached star status in your streaming career. Every video you post is seen, and every social media outreach you do receives engagement and reactions. In other words, you need to have a committed audience watching your every move. Your merch could be clothing, in-game clothing, eyewear, or anything else. The list goes on and on. “Maniya,” a successful local YouTuber and gamer, is one such example.
Similarly, you could also coach video games. If you are an expert in a particular game, your followers will want to learn from you so that they can one day be as good as you. Gaming lessons from professional gamers can cost up to $200 per hour.