Starting a gaming channel - What you need to know
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.
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!?"
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
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
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
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?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.