OUR STREAMERS

Notes and tips from a gaming creator.

This story first appeared as three separate posts by GamerZakh. He shared what you need to know before starting a gaming channel before talking about the basic gears and equipment new creators can get on a budget. He ended his series on how you can make money as a gaming creator. This story is a compilation of his insights, plus additional bonus tips and tricks.


A new decade is upon us and we've all been watching our favourite video game content creators and streamers. Wouldn't it be amazing if we could be like that, too? Stay at home, play video games, and make a lot of money! That's definitely the life we want.

It's easy right? Make a gaming channel, upload some videos or start streaming, and get famous. Why isn't everyone doing this!? Well, coming from someone who has been through it, I'm here to tell you conclusively what really goes into becoming a 'successful' gaming creator and how you can do it too.

Quickstart guide

There is a lot to talk about and learn when it comes to starting a gaming channel in 2020, but here's how you can get started right this second:

1. Think of a name for your channel

You might have an idea of what topic you want to cover or you don't want to commit so hard so early. Naming yourself 'The Malaysian Starcraft Guy' is going to box you into Starcraft forever. In all my experience, the name doesn't actually matter. Think of channels like Day9, TotalBiscuit, and BlueXephos. The names don't mean anything and they can become huge. Pick a name and go with it.

2. Sign up for an account

Should be simple enough. Maybe your chosen name isn't available, so think of another one. Then go to the platform of your choice and set up your channel with a profile picture and banner image. Honestly, all the details don't matter at this point. The main thing is to get started.

3. Make bad videos about what you like

Your first videos are not going to be masterpieces. Even if you have design and video training, gaming platforms are a world unto itself. Here's the thing though, it's important to get into the habit of making videos in the first place, so purposefully try to make bad videos. What's going to happen, your zero subscribers are going to complain? Now is the time to mess around and experiment. If you ever build a successful channel, that's when things get rigid and difficult to change, so enjoy the freedom and lack of consequence when starting out.

4. Do that for 7 years

"What? 7 YEARS!?"

Yes.

Becoming a gaming creator in the new decade is overall pretty simple, but making a successful channel where you can make a living doing what you love is going to take hard work and patience. You could get lucky and it takes three years, or it could take even longer than seven years, but you have to keep making videos and trying to get better with each one.

For reference, it took me four years before I could quit my day job and five years before I was earning a 'proper' salary. It wasn't until the seventh year in when things started to be really good and stable for me.

Face the facts

The age of 'getting in early' is over

The 'gold rush' & age of pioneering was a decade ago

One of the best ways to become successful on any platform is to start early. The age of starting early ended in 2012. After that, everyone realised that gaming was a viable career path and jumped at the chance to become a video game creator. For example, there's a whopping 37.5 million creator channels on YouTube! This was written at the start of 2020, so if you check Social Blade again today, it's going to be even more.

Less than 0.5% of YouTube channels have reached 100,000 subscribers

Like a diamond in the rough

So of those 37.5 million creators on YouTube, how many have 'made it'? Right now, about 160,000 channels have crossed 100,000 subscribers. Sounds like a lot right? Well that's only about 0.4% of 37.5 million. Last I checked, 35,000 subscribers puts you in the top 1% of all YouTubers, including big corporations and celebrities that explode on YouTube due to their mainstream popularity.

That's the reality. Less than half a percent have reached that level, and as an individual creator, it's an even smaller number.

The BIG misconceptions

You love video games so you'll love being a gaming creator

Here's an example of some of the work I do

Watching gaming channels, it looks like all they do is stay at home and play video games. That's just the part you see though. There's a lot more to being a creator online but if you only love the gaming and hate everything else, you're going to hate being a creator. This is where many aspiring gamers give up once they realise how much more there is to it. Here are some things you're going to have to enjoy to really love your job as a gaming creator:

- Editing videos
- Designing graphics, like your logo
- Creating thumbnails for you videos
- Managing social media & dealing with hate comments
- Talking a LOT while being engaging to the audience
- Researching & writing scripts
- Learning software & hardware

Playing video games is the easy part. If that's all the job needed, everyone would do it. The rest of this stuff is the real process, so learn to love all of it or you'll hate your path to becoming a creator.

It will take one or two years, right?

I started my channel in 2011

Like I mentioned in the quickstart, things take time. It seems like every day that a new creator becomes famous, with 100,000 or a million subscribers. Surely since it happens so often it only takes a couple years of work. Wrong! We've already been over the numbers, 0.4% 'make it'. Personally, it took me eight years before I hit 100,000 subscribers.

So many try being gaming creators for one or two years and then give up thinking that it's just not working. If you expect to earn a living online from your passion in less than five years, you're being incredibly optimistic, so if you're going to try, keep this in mind.

Making money is complicated

Subscriber number doesn't actually matter

From an outside perspective, subscriber count is what seems to be the most important thing. At 100,000 subscribers or followers, you can often be verified with a check mark and companies actually put you in a different category when it comes to sponsorship.

Everyone talks about how Pewdiepie crossed 100 million subscribers. Does anyone talk about how he has 24 billion views?

Views is where the money comes from, so the more views you get, the more advertisements can be played to people and the more money you make. Subscriber count is really just a status symbol. You could have 300,000 subscribers but be making no money. Meanwhile, you could have 25,000 subscribers and be earning a salary. You have to keep this in mind if you're trying to make a living as a creator.

How advertisements (ads) make money

When you upload a video, you can monetise it with ads. You can put ads at the start, end, and in the middle of the video (if the video is longer than 10 minutes). So people watch your video, see ads, and you make money. Simple, right?

NOPE!

There are many things to consider when it comes to ads:

1. When someone watches your video, they might not see an advertisement

Even if you set your video to have ads, it doesn't mean the people watching will see one. How ads work is that a business buys an ad on a platform and they specify the type of people who they want to see it. Age, location, interests, and so on. So that means certain demographics will see more ads than others because, for example, a fast food business would prefer to advertise to 18-25 year olds compared to 55 year olds, since younger people are more likely to eat fast food. So, a 55 year old would be less likely to see that fast food ad at all.

2. People using Adblock

Not only do some people not get ads because businesses didn't pay to advertise to them, some people use software to block ads entirely. When someone does that, it means they never see ads and you never get paid for those ads.

These 2 points make the difference between what's called 'monetisable views' compared to 'unmonetisable views'.

3. Location of the viewer matters

If a viewer is from Malaysia and they see an ad, it would most likely be an ad bought by a Malaysian business. Meaning the ad was paid for in Malaysian Ringgit. If your viewer is from the United States, the ad they see would be an American ad most likely paid for in US Dollars. That makes ads from higher earning countries worth more in total, which means they're worth more to you.

Basically, if you make videos that attract a US audience, you will make more money from ads compared to making videos that attract a Malaysian audience.

Alternative sources of income

1. Sponsorship

Now that you know advertisements are complicated, one way to help secure extra money is by sponsorship deals. You advertise a product or service directly on your videos. Now, you might be thinking that you have to be super big and popular to do those deals, but you can just charge less. When trying to secure sponsors, contact 100s of companies and businesses that you would be willing to work with. Give them your numbers and charge them based on how much money you're making from ads right now. If you're being paid $1 per 1,000 views, then set your price to be slightly over that, like $2-$5 per 1,000 views. If you advertise a brand across 10 videos and you get 5,000 views, well then that's an extra $10-$50 in your pocket at a price that's fair to the brand. It can be tough finding a sponsor when you're small, so keep contacting people and ask a lot of questions on what they want as a business. Think about how you can provide value to them first.

2. Donations

Crowdfunding is one of the biggest changes for creators over the last decade. The rise of Kickstarter, people giving real money to streamers on Twitch, and of course Patreon, where people donate money directly to a creator. If you are making something that people watch, then there will be a tiny percentage willing to donate their pocket change to keep you going. It could just be a dollar here and there, but it adds up and can make a real difference.

Sign up for a Patreon account and give people a good reason to give you money.

3. Merchandise

Even terrible designs can sell if they're interesting or funny. It might be hard to get sales, but as you grow, it can be a nice extra bit of money to keep your channel afloat in tough times. There are many merch stores online where you can simply upload a PNG image and immediately turn it into a T-shirt, mousepad, sticker, and more. You should look at all the options, but personally, I use Design By Humans because I like the quality of their T-shirt printing.

It's like a business with good and bad seasons

At the end of the day, your gaming channel is a business that you run. You create products (videos) for customers (your viewers) and the better your product, the better it will 'sell'. You can build things like brand loyalty, reward active 'customers', and make changes to improve your business for you and the viewers. There are also good and bad seasons. Advertisements pay the best in November and December, while it's the worst in January because businesses spend much of their ad budget at the end of the year. Viewer habits will change with the seasons, depending on where your audience is from. School holidays could matter and public holidays could have different ads depending on your audience (like a US audience will see Thanksgiving ads). If you're trying to be a video game content creator, then you should start thinking of your channel as your business.

Levelling up through the ranks

Do you think that you can create an account and then start making money immediately? Not everywhere! You have to be approved for partnership most of the time and there are often requirements, and as you grow platforms will recognise your growth by giving you more features, access, and sometimes even a bigger cut of the money. Officially, there's no real names or hard lines, but companies have tiered ranks that they use to determine how big an 'influencer' is.

1. The hardest part - Nano-influencers (1,000 - 10,000)

Growing from 0 subscribers to your first 1,000 is the slowest and most painstaking part. You are no one, you have no followers, and you're probably not that good yet. It's time to work hard, experiment, and keep at it.

2. Proof that you can 'make it' - Micro-influencers (10,000 - 50,000)

Once you cross 10,000 followers, then you can be pretty confident that growth is just a matter of time. If that many people decided to subscribe to you then there's no reason why many more wouldn't too, people just don't know about you yet.

3. Making it - Mid-tier influencers (50,000 - 500,000)

This is where things start to get real. You begin getting some real offers, you're making some liveable money, and the world who thinks subscriber count is important will see this as important.

4. You're kind of a celebrity - Macro-influencers (500,000 - 1,000,000)

Since you're starting out, you shouldn't really be thinking of this at all, but anyone who gets their channel to this size is basically known and sought after. Half a million is a number where pretty much anyone can say that they 'made it'.

5. Everyone knows who you are - Mega-influencers (1,000,000+)

Very few people have reached this level and it's practically celebrity status because so many people know you and will even recognise you on the street. If you're looking for sponsors, businesses will consider you to be a 'mega influencer'.

Gearing up

I'm going to assume that you are already a gamer and have a PC or laptop. It doesn't need to be high end, just able to play the games you want to play, so besides that, let me recommend a few pieces of affordable equipment that is either cheap or has other uses besides making videos for your gaming channel:

Hardware

1. Blue Yeti microphone
A little pricey, but it's a super good USB mic that's easy to use and has plenty of uses outside of making videos. It's great on calls and will keep your voice clear when playing with teammates.

The Yeti

2. A 1080p 60FPS webcam
Cameras aren't always essential, you can make videos with just your voice, but if you're getting a webcam, make sure it has 1080p resolution and records at 60 frames a second.

Logitech C922 Webcam

3. Cheap green screen
If you're going to use a webcam for your face, then you might as well get a green screen. They are super cheap now, and you can just tape it to a wall. You might need a couple of extra lights to brighten things up though.

Software

1. OBS Studio
It's free and easy to use (with some practice). Watch a couple of videos on how to set up OBS Studio and you can use it to record games, put your face on the video, do the chroma key green screen effect, and you can even use it to live stream. You can download it HERE.

2. Audacity
Want to edit your audio a bit more after recording? Audacity is the one to use as it's pretty good at doing everything a professional audio editor can do, plus, this is also free. Audacity is available HERE.

3. Video editor
Good video editors are hard to come by if you want it to be free. I personally use Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro is also good, plus, if you're just doing cuts, YouTube has a built-in video editor that you can use from your YouTube dashboard. Honestly, if you're just starting out, I'd keep things simple and just do basic cuts and transitions with whatever free editor you can get. If you really start to get into being a gaming creator, then you can splurge for a good video editor.

What else can you do?

1. Make more BAD videos

Your first video is going to suck. Think it's good? Look at it five years later, and it'll suck. This video here is my first ever video, it's the game From Dust and I thought I did a really good job. It's pretty cringe-worthy looking at it now, but it's the most important video I have ever made. Without this crappy first video, I wouldn't have made all the others. Make bad videos! Make really janky, unpolished, messy videos. Talk while you're recording the gameplay and yes, you sound terrible, but just do it. Make them bad and just try to make your next video a little better than your last. Do that for enough years and you'll become a master.

2. Don't measure yourself against others

Define your own version of success. Are you just having fun? Do you want to make a living? Is fame a factor at all? You can have half the subscribers compared to someone else, but be making triple the money. Sometimes, a better option is to make less money but have more free time. That's okay if it makes you happier. You shouldn't use someone else's success as a benchmark for your own because we all have different lives.

3. Do my kick-start exercise

Sign up for 7 social media platforms using the same name and post 100 things on each as quickly as possible. It doesn't matter what you're posting, just keep posting. By the end of the 700 posts, you'll know if this is a career that's for you because you'll either want to keep going or you'll feel like dying.

This is the trial by fire that I have come up with to throw you into the deep end. Essentially it's exposure therapy to get over your fears and break your lazy habits.

Here are 7 social media platforms to opt for:
1. Facebook (Stream 100 times)
2. Twitch (Live stream 100 days)
3. Twitter (Tweet 100 times)
4. Instagram (Take 100 photos)
5. YouTube (Make 100 videos)
6. LinkedIn (Write 100 articles)
7. TikTok (Do 100 things)
BONUS: Discord (Set up a community)

After that, you'll not only have the start of an online presence, you'll know what to do moving forward and whether this is actually a career for you ... or not.

But what about haters and trolls?

If you step out your front door, you're going to run into people who don't like you. It's the same online. Put up a video, and even if it's super successful, someone will say it sucks. The secret about haters is that they actually hate themselves, because why else would someone be so spiteful and spend their time of day going around leaving hate comments?

Good news is that all platforms have plenty of moderation tools now. You can 'ban' people very easily if they get too much. There are also automatic filters that help put 'unfriendly' comments in a separate section, so you know that those comments don't mean much.

It takes a lot of practice to get used to handling haters and trolls, but that's what it is, practice. It's a skill that you can get better at, and after a few years, you'll soon be brushing off the meanies like nothing.

EXCUSES!

Every time people ask me how to become a gaming creator, and I explain the nuts and bolts, they always come up with some kind of reason to why they can't do the same. Usually, it boils down to either fear or laziness. You're scared of being judged for making bad videos or you're not willing to put in the time and work, but they always say things like this:

"I don't have time"

Yes you do, but you need to sacrifice.
This is the No 1 excuse I hear all the time.

I have a full-time day job, I don't have time to work on something else!

If you have zero free time, then you have to audit your day. You can't find 1 or 2 spare hours to work on your channel? Are you sure? Do you ever:
- Watch movies
- Go clubbing
- Binge watch shows on streaming services
- Play video games for leisure
- Have 'downtime'
- Sleep more than eight hours

Well, you have to cut some of that out! When I was starting, I did four jobs at the same time for four years. I was a full time school teacher, a TV host, a freelance designer, and I worked on my channel. After my job, I went to my second job for three hours, then I had dinner, and later spent 1-2 hours working on my content. I didn't hang out with friends or go for drinks after work. I worked after work.

That's what you need to do to turn a passion into your career. Put in two hours every day for years and you could get your side gig to become your main gig. If you're not willing to sacrifice, then you won't get it.

"I'm not good enough"

Do you really expect to start something new and be good immediately?

People who became successful creators are good, I don't even know where to start!

How do you think those people got good? They practiced! They worked for years trying to get better all the time. Here's a protip: find a channel that you think is really good and go watch their first ever video. Unless they've deleted it, I can promise you that it's not going to be very good.

"Only lucky people make it"

Does this look like luck?

Luck is a factor in anything you do, but luck often finds those who have been doing the work.

Only lucky people make it, I'd rather not waste the time on something I can't control.

Whatever job you have, do you think you're totally in control of how you get promoted? How much your raise or bonus is? Or even if you get fired or not? So much is not in your control. Your company could close down tomorrow, they might not make a profit, so your raise is tiny, and whether you get promoted might actually be about whether your boss likes your face ... or otherwise.

Luck is always a factor, but we shouldn't live our lives like that. Being a content creator takes hard work over a long period of time. Luck is about chance, the more work you do, the more chances you make for yourself. If you make 10 videos, there's an infinitesimally small chance that you blow up and make it big. Make 1,000 videos, and you'll have 100 times the chance of becoming successful. Personally, I had about 1,600 videos by the time I hit 100,000 subscribers, so when I say a thousand videos, I'm not kidding.

Put in the work. Make your own luck.

TL;DR - Too Long; Didn't Read!

You gotta sit down & do the work

Couldn't be bothered to read all the details? Well here's the gist of it:

1. Only 0.4% of YouTubers have 'made it'

2. Spend 2 hours every day after work/school making and uploading videos

3. Do that for 7 years while constantly trying to get better

That's what it all boils down to. Hard work, persistence, and constant improvement over a long period of time. Could you get lucky and become famous immediately? Sure, you could win the lottery tomorrow, too. Just based on the numbers, there's a 1 in 200 chance of 'making it' at all — immediate success is even rarer. If you really want it, you'll work for it, and anything worth having is worth working for.

This article has laid it all out for you. What you have to do is to actually do it, which is entirely up to you.

Do you have any other questions about starting a gaming channel? Ask in the comments or GamerZakh directly!


GamerZakh is a Malaysian gaming YouTuber, Twitch streamer and content creator. He approaches gaming from a nostalgic perspective and always tries to incorporate educational elements into his delivery of entertainment. You can find his YouTube channel here.

This is a guest post and the views expressed here are the author's own.

It's complicated.

This is the third and final post in a series about starting to create content online. Previously, GamerZakh spoke about what you need to know before starting a gaming channel. Last week, he shared about basic gears and equipment new creators can get on a budget.


With what seems like a myriad of people jumping online to be gaming creators and making fortunes for themselves, you might be tempted to do the same. Although there are many struggles and complications with making it as a creator itself, today I want to talk about the actual making money part which, if you haven't experienced it yourself, could be difficult to figure out but important to learn as an aspiring gaming creator.

Making money is complicated

Subscriber number doesn't actually matter

From an outside perspective, subscriber count is what seems to be the most important thing. At 100,000 subscribers or followers, you can often be verified with a check mark and companies actually put you in a different category when it comes to sponsorship.

Everyone talks about how Pewdiepie crossed 100 million subscribers. Does anyone talk about how he has 24 billion views?

Views is where the money comes from, so the more views you get, the more advertisements can be played to people and the more money you make. Subscriber count is really just a status symbol. You could have 300,000 subscribers but be making no money. Meanwhile, you could have 25,000 subscribers and be earning a salary. You have to keep this in mind if you're trying to make a living as a creator.

How advertisements (ads) make money

When you upload a video, you can monetise it with ads. You can put ads at the start, end, and in the middle of the video (if the video is longer than 10 minutes). So people watch your video, see ads, and you make money. Simple, right?

NOPE!

There are many things to consider when it comes to ads:

1. When someone watches your video, they might not see an advertisement

Even if you set your video to have ads, it doesn't mean the people watching will see one. How ads work is that a business buys an ad on a platform and they specify the type of people who they want to see it. Age, location, interests, and so on. So that means certain demographics will see more ads than others because, for example, a fast food business would prefer to advertise to 18-25 year olds compared to 55 year olds, since younger people are more likely to eat fast food. So, a 55 year old would be less likely to see that fast food ad at all.

2. People using Adblock

Not only do some people not get ads because businesses didn't pay to advertise to them, some people use software to block ads entirely. When someone does that, it means they never see ads and you never get paid for those ads.

These 2 points make the difference between what's called 'monetisable views' compared to 'unmonetisable views'.

3. Location of the viewer matters

If a viewer is from Malaysia and they see an ad, it would most likely be an ad bought by a Malaysian business. Meaning the ad was paid for in Malaysian Ringgit. If your viewer is from the United States, the ad they see would be an American ad most likely paid for in US Dollars. That makes ads from higher earning countries worth more in total, which means they're worth more to you.

Basically, if you make videos that attract a US audience, you will make more money from ads compared to making videos that attract a Malaysian audience.

Alternative sources of income

1. Sponsorship

Now that you know advertisements are complicated, one way to help secure extra money is by sponsorship deals. You advertise a product or service directly on your videos. Now, you might be thinking that you have to be super big and popular to do those deals, but you can just charge less. When trying to secure sponsors, contact 100s of companies and businesses that you would be willing to work with. Give them your numbers and charge them based on how much money you're making from ads right now. If you're being paid $1 per 1,000 views, then set your price to be slightly over that, like $2-$5 per 1,000 views. If you advertise a brand across 10 videos and you get 5,000 views, well then that's an extra $10-$50 in your pocket at a price that's fair to the brand. It can be tough finding a sponsor when you're small, so keep contacting people and ask a lot of questions on what they want as a business. Think about how you can provide value to them first.

2. Donations

Crowdfunding is one of the biggest changes for creators over the last decade. The rise of Kickstarter, people giving real money to streamers on Twitch, and of course Patreon, where people donate money directly to a creator. If you are making something that people watch, then there will be a tiny percentage willing to donate their pocket change to keep you going. It could just be a dollar here and there, but it adds up and can make a real difference.

Sign up for a Patreon account and give people a good reason to give you money.

3. Merchandise

Even terrible designs can sell if they're interesting or funny. It might be hard to get sales, but as you grow, it can be a nice extra bit of money to keep your channel afloat in tough times. There are many merch stores online where you can simply upload a PNG image and immediately turn it into a T-shirt, mousepad, sticker, and more. You should look at all the options, but personally, I use Design By Humans because I like the quality of their T-shirt printing.

It's like a business with good and bad seasons

At the end of the day, your gaming channel is a business that you run. You create products (videos) for customers (your viewers) and the better your product, the better it will 'sell'. You can build things like brand loyalty, reward active 'customers', and make changes to improve your business for you and the viewers. There are also good and bad seasons. Advertisements pay the best in November and December, while it's the worst in January because businesses spend much of their ad budget at the end of the year. Viewer habits will change with the seasons, depending on where your audience is from. School holidays could matter and public holidays could have different ads depending on your audience (like a US audience will see Thanksgiving ads). If you're trying to be a video game content creator, then you should start thinking of your channel as your business.

Do you have any other questions about making money as a gaming creator? Ask in the comments or GamerZakh directly!


GamerZakh is a Malaysian gaming YouTuber, Twitch streamer and content creator. He approaches gaming from a nostalgic perspective and always tries to incorporate educational elements into his delivery of entertainment. You can find his YouTube channel here.

This is a guest post and the views expressed here are the author's own.

Don't break the bank.

This is the second post in a series about starting to create content online. Last week, GamerZakh spoke about what you need to know before starting a gaming channel. Stay tuned next week as he walks us through ways you can earn a living from creating gaming content.


Starting a gaming channel online and wanting to play video games for a living can be intimidating enough. Worrying about having to buy a ton of expensive equipment can put you right off. Well after having gone through the process myself, over the years I have realised that you do not need to spend all your savings on hardware and software to get started.

Gearing up

I'm going to assume that you are already a gamer and have a PC or laptop. It doesn't need to be high end, just able to play the games you want to play, so besides that, let me recommend a few pieces of affordable equipment that is either cheap or has other uses besides making videos for your gaming channel:

Hardware

1. Blue Yeti microphone

A little pricey, but it's a super good USB mic that's easy to use and has plenty of uses outside of making videos. It's great on calls and will keep your voice clear when playing with teammates.

The Yeti

2. A 1080p 60FPS webcam

Cameras aren't always essential, you can make videos with just your voice, but if you're getting a webcam, make sure it has 1080p resolution and records at 60 frames a second.

Logitech C922 Webcam

3. Cheap green screen

If you're going to use a webcam for your face, then you might as well get a green screen. They are super cheap now, and you can just tape it to a wall. You might need a couple of extra lights to brighten things up though.

Software

1. OBS Studio

It's free and easy to use (with some practice). Watch a couple of videos on how to set up OBS Studio and you can use it to record games, put your face on the video, do the chroma key green screen effect, and you can even use it to live stream. You can download it HERE.

2. Audacity

Want to edit your audio a bit more after recording? Audacity is the one to use as it's pretty good at doing everything a professional audio editor can do, plus, this is also free. Audacity is available HERE.

3. Video editor

Good video editors are hard to come by if you want it to be free. I personally use Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro is also good, plus, if you're just doing cuts, YouTube has a built-in video editor that you can use from your YouTube dashboard. Honestly, if you're just starting out, I'd keep things simple and just do basic cuts and transitions with whatever free editor you can get. If you really start to get into being a gaming creator, then you can splurge for a good video editor.

What now?

1. Make BAD videos

Your first video is going to suck. Think it's good? Look at it five years later, and it'll suck. This video here is my first ever video, it's the game From Dust and I thought I did a really good job. It's pretty cringe-worthy looking at it now, but it's the most important video I have ever made. Without this crappy first video, I wouldn't have made all the others. Make bad videos! Make really janky, unpolished, messy videos. Talk while you're recording the gameplay and yes, you sound terrible, but just do it. Make them bad and just try to make your next video a little better than your last. Do that for enough years and you'll become a master.

2. Don't measure yourself against others

Define your own version of success. Are you just having fun? Do you want to make a living? Is fame a factor at all? You can have half the subscribers compared to someone else, but be making triple the money. Sometimes, a better option is to make less money but have more free time. That's okay if it makes you happier. You shouldn't use someone else's success as a benchmark for your own because we all have different lives.

3. Do my kick-start exercise

Sign up for 7 social media platforms using the same name and post 100 things on each as quickly as possible. It doesn't matter what you're posting, just keep posting. By the end of the 700 posts, you'll know if this is a career that's for you because you'll either want to keep going or you'll feel like dying.

This is the trial by fire that I have come up with to throw you into the deep end. Essentially it's exposure therapy to get over your fears and break your lazy habits.

Here are 7 social media platforms to opt for:
1. Facebook (Stream 100 times)
2. Twitch (Live stream 100 days)
3. Twitter (Tweet 100 times)
4. Instagram (Take 100 photos)
5. YouTube (Make 100 videos)
6. LinkedIn (Write 100 articles)
7. TikTok (Do 100 things)
BONUS: Discord (Set up a community)

After that, you'll not only have the start of an online presence, you'll know what to do moving forward and whether this is actually a career for you ... or not.

Do you have any other questions about gaming gear to be a creator? Ask in the comments or GamerZakh directly!


GamerZakh is a Malaysian gaming YouTuber, Twitch streamer and content creator. He approaches gaming from a nostalgic perspective and always tries to incorporate educational elements into his delivery of entertainment. You can find his YouTube channel here.

This is a guest post and the views expressed here are the author's own.

A few things might surprise you.

This is the first post in a series about starting to create content online. Stay tuned next week as GamerZakh walks us through the basic gear and equipment you'll need to launch a gaming channel. 


It's easy right? Make a gaming channel, upload some videos, and get famous. Why isn't everyone doing this!? Well, coming from someone who has been through it, I'm here to tell you that there are good reasons why few make it in this industry.

Quickstart guide

There is a lot to talk about and learn when it comes to starting a gaming channel in 2020, but here's how you can get started right this second:

1. Think of a name for your channel

You might have an idea of what topic you want to cover or you don't want to commit so hard so early. Naming yourself 'The Malaysian Starcraft Guy' is going to box you into Starcraft forever. In all my experience, the name doesn't actually matter. Think of channels like Day9, TotalBiscuit, and BlueXephos. The names don't mean anything and they can become huge. Pick a name and go with it.

2. Sign up for an account

Should be simple enough. Maybe your chosen name isn't available, so think of another one. Then go to the platform of your choice and set up your channel with a profile picture and banner image. Honestly, all the details don't matter at this point. The main thing is to get started.

3. Make bad videos about what you like

Your first videos are not going to be masterpieces. Even if you have design and video training, gaming platforms are a world unto itself. Here's the thing though, it's important to get into the habit of making videos in the first place, so purposefully try to make bad videos. What's going to happen, your zero subscribers are going to complain? Now is the time to mess around and experiment. If you ever build a successful channel, that's when things get rigid and difficult to change, so enjoy the freedom and lack of consequence when starting out.

4. Do that for 7 years

"What? 7 YEARS!?"

Yes.

Becoming a gaming creator in the new decade is overall pretty simple, but making a successful channel where you can make a living doing what you love is going to take hard work and patience. You could get lucky and it takes three years, or it could take even longer than seven years, but you have to keep making videos and trying to get better with each one.

For reference, it took me four years before I could quit my day job and five years before I was earning a 'proper' salary. It wasn't until the seventh year when things started to be really good and stable for me.

Face the facts

The age of 'getting in early' is over

The 'gold rush' & age of pioneering was a decade ago

One of the best ways to become successful on any platform is to start early. The age of starting early ended in 2012. After that, everyone realised that gaming was a viable career path and jumped at the chance to become a video game creator. For example, there's a whopping 37.5 million creator channels on YouTube! This was written at the start of 2020, so if you check Social Blade again today, it's going to be even more.

Less than 0.5% of YouTube channels have reached 100,000 subscribers

Like a diamond in the rough

So of those 37.5 million creators on YouTube, how many have 'made it'? Right now, about 160,000 channels have crossed 100,000 subscribers. Sounds like a lot right? Well that's only about 0.4% of 37.5 million. Last I checked, 35,000 subscribers puts you in the top 1% of all YouTubers, including big corporations and celebrities that explode on YouTube due to their mainstream popularity.

That's the reality. Less than half a percent have reached that level, and as an individual creator, it's an even smaller number.

The BIG misconceptions

You love video games so you'll love being a gaming creator

Here's an example of some of the work I do

Watching gaming channels, it looks like all they do is stay at home and play video games. That's just the part you see though. There's a lot more to being a creator online but if you only love the gaming and hate everything else, you're going to hate being a creator. This is where many aspiring gamers give up once they realise how much more there is to it. Here are some things you're going to have to enjoy to really love your job as a gaming creator:

- Editing videos
- Designing graphics, like your logo
- Creating thumbnails for you videos
- Managing social media & dealing with hate comments
- Talking a LOT while being engaging to the audience
- Researching & writing scripts
- Learning software & hardware

Playing video games is the easy part. If that's all the job needed, everyone would do it. The rest of this stuff is the real process, so learn to love all of it or you'll hate your path to becoming a creator.

It will take one or two years, right?

I started my channel in 2011

Like I mentioned in the quickstart, things take time. It seems like every day that a new creator becomes famous, with 100,000 or a million followers/supporters. Surely since it happens so often it only takes a couple years of work. Wrong! We've already been over the numbers, 0.4% 'make it'. Personally, it took me eight years before I hit 100,000 subcribers.

So many try being gaming creators for one or two years and then give up thinking that it's just not working. If you expect to earn a living online from your passion in less than five years, you're being incredibly optimistic, so if you're going to try, keep this in mind.

Do you have any other questions about becoming a gaming creator? Drop us an email at hello@egg.network or reach out directly to GamerZakh!


GamerZakh is a Malaysian gaming YouTuber, Twitch streamer and content creator. He approaches gaming from a nostalgic perspective and always tries to incorporate educational elements into his delivery of entertainment. You can find his YouTube channel here.

This is a guest post and the views expressed here are the author's own.

Fun, career, or business. Opportunities abound!

If you were a child of the 80s or 90s, you might remember your parents telling you of the horrible consequences of playing video games. They'll rot your brain they said, that your eyes will go square from staring at the screen, and more fantastical warnings of how video games would ruin your life. If you're on the younger side, your parents might be a bit more accepting. They'll at least understand the joy of a relaxing day playing some mobile games, or maybe they're being a little too pushy with those Facebook invites themselves. However, as we approach a new decade of the 2020s, gaming as an activity has never been more accepted or promoted, not only as a hobby, but for health reasons and even as a career choice.

Changing Perceptions

It's not a 'loner nerd thing' anymore

Red Dead Redemption 2 is a cool Western where you can go on adventures with your friends.

Gaming was always deemed a "nerdy" thing. You sit at home alone playing video games all day, not talking to anyone and being antisocial. Us gamers know that's not true, we hung out with friends all the time, played multiplayer matches, and had LAN parties, but the idea of it from an outside perspective was that we sat in a darkened room being depressed and stayed unhealthy. People (mostly) don't think like that anymore.

Gaming for everyone

Even in games it shows more mature couples gaming.

The average gamer is over 30 years old. Guys, gals, adults, kids, and older people are all gaming in some form. Sure, not everyone is playing DOOM or competing in Dota 2 tournaments, but casual gaming like Plants vs Zombies, Candy Crush, and Pokémon Go opened up gaming to everyone, and now, it's not even rare to see families game together.

Art for games' sake

From the artistic video game, Flower.

The question of whether video games constitute art was a big debate, but the consensus is generally a "yes" today. There are straight up National Video Game Museums in the world now and interactive media is just a part of the exhibits. Even when you're checking out some ancient history or classical paintings, there's often a screen or projector nearby that you can play with that are like minigames.

Video Games As A Career

Video making & live streaming

It's never been easier to make a video.

Probably the most obvious and feasible career path is to live stream on a platform like YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, or Mixer and try to entertain and educate people about video games. You can make a living creating gaming content through ads, subscriptions and donations, and although not everyone is going to be a megastar, it's very possible to earn a basic to decent living doing this. Just five years ago, platforms like Twitch didn't even exist and getting into it was technically complicated. Today, you can just press "stream" on your phone and you're live. If you're interested, I've written multiple articles about this:
1. Turning a passion into a career
2. The daily life of a creator
3. Sacrifices made to become a YouTuber

Related: How you can be part of Facebook Gaming's Level Up Program. 

Esports are primed for the Olympics

Esports will NOT look like this at the Olympics.

The debate of whether gaming is art is kind of settling down. Is gaming a sport? Well, that's a whole other argument. The Olympics used to have non-physical competitions with events like chess and even poetry writing. Way back in the annals of history, athleticism was more a part of culture, so cultural endeavours were expected at the Olympics, too. It's not like that today though, as everything's pretty physical. So, can gaming be introduced as an Olympic sport? It's not guaranteed, but it's a serious contender and consideration. It's also reassuring to know that even outside of the Olympics, there are numerous tournaments, competitions and challenges where you can take your pro skills in a video game and have a career that pays the bills. Obviously, you gotta be really good, though.

Business is booming!

Lots of trade potential just opened up.

Everything around gaming is a practical gold rush. You can design gaming inspired shirts and merchandise on services like Design By Humans and Teespring and sell them to the world. You can paint your favourite video game character and sell prints on DeviantArt. You can have a gaming podcast or find a job writing about video games (like this article). It's now the time of the 4th Industrial Revolution and just recently, Google found e-commerce in Southeast Asia to be exploding. Us gamers can tap into the new global market too, turning our passion for gaming into business. It doesn't even matter if your family or friends don't enjoy gaming, because your customers can still be from all over the world. If you love gaming, there are now more avenues than ever before to find a job, and the best part is, people are paying for it.

Gaming In Schools

Addiction! Violence! Truancy!

The fear that video games will lead you down the wrong path.

Back in the 90s, playing video games was deemed a pure distraction from studies. It was a social ill — an epidemic of cybercafé goers plagued our education — causing kids to fail exams and ruin their lives. Turns out, video games weren't really the cause of those downfalls, and in fact, can actually help.

Video game addiction is real, WHO classified it as such, but as they say it "affects only a small proportion of people" and enjoying video games doesn't mean you're addicted to them. Video games categorically do not make people violent. Study upon study has disproved this notion. Finally, there's the accusation of video games causing kids to skip school! Honestly, has there ever been a generation in history that didn't have kids who wanted to skip school? That's down to discipline and parental issues. When kids want to skip school, they'll do it with or without video games being involved. If you're a parent, you should totally limit your kid's gaming hours, but this isn't just about gaming either. Kids can watch too much YouTube, overuse social media, or eat too much chocolate. Talk to your child and agree on some schedules.

(Also, I can imagine some parents questioning my credentials for providing parental advice. As a reference, I used to work as a school teacher and taught hundreds of kids for years, with my degree specialising in digital pedagogy.)

Gaming can be a healthy activity

People have been so fixated on the unhealthiness of video games that they completely ignore its benefits. Drinking eight cups of coffee for lunch is most likely bad for you, but a cup of coffee a day has been shown to improve health in humans and even in cats. The same can be said about video games ... though cats might have issues handling a controller.

Watch that ad for the Switch above. It's a perfect depiction of how perceptions of health and gaming have changed. Video games are good for relaxation and mental health. Stressful day at work? Going through a tough breakup? That sucks. Some people smoke, others drink, sometimes worse. Playing video games can help take your mind off things and let you chill out for a while before figuring out what you need to do. I'd recommend Stardew Valley in such scenarios.

They are also good for your brain and hand-eye coordination. There are even studies that show video games can even help with those suffering from brain function deterioration, whether from old age or something more serious like Alzheimer's disease.

Of course, social benefits are not to be forgotten. Cooperation and teamwork are a huge part of gaming, and although we might be more familiar with angry, salty and toxic gamers, those are usually only the random people you encounter online. If you and a bunch of friends get together to play video games, it's a fun and healthy activity that strengthens your personal relationships and helps you make new friends, too. Here are some I would recommend if you don't know what games to have on hand for your next party.

Esports school clubs are a real thing

Gaming and education don't have to be separate.

You read that right! Gaming is starting to be taken seriously by education ministries and could become a norm in schools. You won't need to play truant and cruise the cybercafés anymore — just sign up for esports as your co-curricular activity and play after school in a classroom. Obviously, it's not just randomly gaming. Health, social and educational benefits would be paired with the programs, but it's a very real idea of combining education and gaming for the benefit of the younger generation. There's already a school testing this in Indonesia, and Malaysia could be next.

Just Like Anything Else

At the end of the day, video games are just a new form of media, like magazines, cinema, radio and TV. It's a new platform that we can integrate into our lives for fun and work, and if we ignore the judgement of those who refuse to change their minds, you can find joy and full-on careers in the video game industry. There have never been this many people who understand and enjoy gaming at this point. And in all likelihood, they could be your friends, gaming buddies, business partners or customers, so, that means more games to play and actual real-life opportunities to turn into a lifestyle.

How do you feel as a gamer? Do you think being a gamer is becoming more accepted?

This is a guest post and the views expressed here are the author's own.

Are you willing to walk through fire?

So you want to 'play video games for a living'? It sounds like a dream — working from home, turning your passion into a career, and doing what you love every day while making enough money to live comfortably. There will be challenges, though.

Do you have what it takes?

Cutting things out of your life

You'll need one of these to afford everything

Unless you're lucky enough to have a big bank account, you're going to have to give things up, and even then, you can't buy time. Your chill hours after work? That's now side hustle work time. Going to the club to party with friends is out of the question. No more ordering fancy food because you need new gear instead.

Your friends might be annoyed that you can't hang out and some might even get angry at you. Get used to cooking at home and eating simple. Instant noodles taste delicious when you're working on your dream. You need to spend two hours a day on this minimum and that 9-to-5 job is what's keeping you from starving, so, you have to audit everything else in your life to make time and money for what's basically a side business. When you finally can quit that day job, your income drops down to survival levels again.

The years of struggle

This is going to take a while

Ninja made a splash last year and he's now one of the biggest, most successful, gaming creators out there. You might be thinking, 'this is going to take one or two years, tops'. You might win the lottery, too. Unfortunately, this is the kind of endeavour that most likely is going to take years, even if you're great at it. A good rule is to allocate five years for it before you can quit your day job.

Half a decade sounds like a really long time to be sacrificing and giving things up, but think about your life and how long you really have. If you're 30 right now, five years of building your gaming business on the side will see you at 35 by the end of it. You still have three to four decades of living your dream, though, and that's if modern medicine doesn't keep us going even longer.

The end goal here is your happiness. If you really hate your job and want to turn a passion into a career, giving up a few years to work on your dream is going to give you decades of happiness.

Attacks on your self esteem

People aren't always so nice

Speaking of being happy, what if you create something and it's bad? You might get some nasty comments. The Internet doesn't care about you. Your looks, voice, and everything about you will be insulted, made fun of, and criticised. There are positive voices out there, but vitriol is bound to come your way no matter what you do. You have to practice hardening your shell again and again because haters are relentless. Some due to jealousy, others because they have personal problems which they take out on strangers. Either way, you'll be targeted eventually.

I'm not going to tell you to 'just ignore them'. It's hard, I know from personal experience, but strength comes from practice. Know that these salty haters don't know you, they don't know your life, and their hateful comments say more about their own insecurities than yours. Even if it's friends and family attacking your choices, it's your life and your choices that have nothing to do with them. You just have to keep working on that mental resilience, and at the end of the day, you'll be stronger than ever.

A great tactic to start

Getting on all those screens

You now understand the struggle and sacrifices but still want it? Then here's the best advice I can give to get started. Turn off everything to do with listening to the haters, close your eyes and ears to the criticism, and just make stuff!

It's not a one-platform game anymore. Make an account on seven different platforms with the same name and post non-stop until you reach 100 posts on each. YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn (yes, even there). Post on all seven platforms about gaming every single day and just ignore the criticism, hate, or jokes made about you. It's a trial by fire, throwing you into the deep end, almost like exposure therapy to shock your body and mind into getting used to the mental state of being a creator. You'll also figure out what kind of content works and what doesn't, who your audience could be, and more. You never know for sure until you try.

At the end of 700 posts, you will know if this is what you want to be doing.

So, do you have it?

You have to be strong enough to walk through the trial by fire that is the Internet

That's how it's done. Excuses won't cut it, the Internet isn't going to be kind and it doesn't get easier once you've 'made it'. If all this sounds like it's a nightmare you're willing to fight through, then you just might be able to make it to that dream of turning video games into your career.

Do you want to turn video games into your job? Are you ready to face the challenges?

This is a guest post and the views expressed here are the author's own. 

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