Professional gamers can now make an excellent living from playing games, but it’s not just revenue from eSports tournaments or from live streams via Twitch and YouTube. There are a variety of ways to make money from eSports – if you’re good enough. The Huffington Post recently posted an article discussing how money can be made from professional video games, talking to various people within the industry.
For instance, Lauri “Cyanide” Happonen managed to make a decent living, after becoming a Season 1 World Champion in a renowned League of Legends tournament. He’s since retired, but continues to stream sessions through Twitch.tv. He’s done pretty well for himself, gathering 9.5 million collective views, with over 150,000 followers.
Between streaming and making YouTube videos, he’s managed to drum up a pretty good income. His eight tutorial videos currently on his channel have managed to gather 900,000 views, with over 40,000 subscribers in all.
“Cyanide” is just one of the many stories out there. Another user, Michael “Imaqtpie” Santana, at age 23, has managed to amass $8,000 monthly through streaming, thanks to an audience of around 18,000-40,000 with each of his streams, gathering 83 million collective views in all.
Twitch provide plenty of means to make money, after becoming a verified Twitch partner in its network. This earns them a portion of the revenues generated from the broadcast, but also provides users the opportunity to subscribe to the channel for $4.99, with access to extra perks like exclusive emoticons and other uses in chat.
To effectively create Twitch partners, the user must have 500 concurrent videos and stream at least three times a week. From there, “effective cost per 1000 impressions” (or eCPM) are measured, with starting users earning $.70 to $1.40 per view, but eventually gaining speed into the $1.00-$2.50 range.
The streamer has control of advertisements, including revenue and brand that ties in with them, and can earn $1.00 eCPM with three commercials per hour and 2,000 concurrent viewers. With those numbers, a user can easily earn $240 weekly, or $960 a month – or even more of they get more viewers and eCPM – up to around $6,400 monthly, or as you can see above, even higher.
The more subscribers a user gets, the more they earn in revenue from there, as 100 subscribers would equal $250 extra per month for these Twitch partners. More could obviously add up to more money, while making the streaming channel extra revenue as well. (Subscribers also have the option of adding a Paypal button for donations, or prize giveaways.)
In addition, streamers can earn revenue through select sponsorships, who can team up with either individual players or eSports-related teams. There’s also room for digital space, so the streamers can add their own special links to social pages, Paypal and other links, including affiliation to companies like Amazon. Monthly traffic through these sites can generate revenue as well, depending on referrals to the site. For instance, 100 people purchasing $500 worth of gaming gear would equal earnings of around $3,250 per month through Amazon alone.
YouTube opens up a revenue channel as well, as users can link their game sessions to their devoted pages, and earn money based on Google’s advertisement model. This can mean $.90 CPM for video banner ads, and an average of $6.50 for pre-roll video ads. Calculate a high number of views for these, and it’s easy money for the streamer.
Top streamers can make around $100,000 or more yearly, according to Jeffrey “Trump” Shih, who recently spoke with Forbes about the business. Sponsorships make up a big part of that, although some players also offer coaching lessons to novice players to earn money on the site (with an income of around $1,500 monthly for private StarCraft II sessions alone).
Being a professional gamer that makes a living from streaming takes time and patience. An audience won’t come overnight, even with the greatest of gimmicks, and social media outreach plays a huge part as well. However, those truly devoted to it will definitely find a way, and that’s an opportunity in itself.