Author Topic: Playing video games for a living?  (Read 1954 times)

Khaetra

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Playing video games for a living?
« on: April 06, 2017, 06:51:36 AM »
I have a friend who's son is a pretty bright kid, but wants nothing to do with college.  He has said he wanted to be an accountant, but he's very hesitant about getting loans and having debt, plus his folks not being very good with money means they can't help him.  He loves to play video games and has expressed interest in starting a stream on Twitch with the hopes of making money and maybe have that open up some possibilities in the future.

Neither of us know much about this, so I was wondering if you guys/gals know of anyone who does this for a living, if it's really possible to make some decent money doing it and if there's any opportunities that could come from it?  My friend will still push him towards college, but if he can truly make some money to put toward it (which he said he'd like to and yes he does have a part-time job) then she's willing to let him try it.

Vindicated

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Re: Playing video games for a living?
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2017, 07:16:38 AM »
There are some people that can make decent money streaming to twitch and posting videos to YouTube, however, it's not much more likely than being selected to star in a Hollywood blockbuster.

You have you be entertaining to watch as you're playing.  No one is going to stick around your stream if you're just playing a game and not talking.  This requires having fun commentary, and interacting with your audience all while playing a competitive* game at a high level**.

*Some people play not-so competitive games, and make it fun and interesting.

**All streamers I've seen are actually really good at the games they stream.

So, it's possible to make money, but there are a small percentage of people that make thousands of dollars each day, and a much larger percentage of people that make nothing.

Inaya

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Re: Playing video games for a living?
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2017, 07:21:41 AM »
People do make money from streaming on Twitch--the same way people make money off YouTube: the vast majority of people don't make it big. And it often takes a stroke of luck before you get there (such as being featured by Twitch, having your stream plugged by a famous streamer, etc.).

My understanding its very, very hard work. It's not just sitting back and playing video games with recording software going. Most of the big streamers stick to a very strict schedule and stream 6+ hours per day M-F and 10+ on Sat/Sun. They often get stuck playing whatever game that got them "famous" and rarely get the chance to play new titles except on their own time. You have to have a well designed Twitch page as well as professional screen overlays for the broadcasting software you use--this means having or hiring good graphic design skills. Most big streamers have "chatbots" active in the chat that do various things and various "plugins" that make stuff happen on the screen, for example, if somebody subscribes, follows, or donates. I have no idea how these things happen, but I assume they mean either some sort of programing skill or paying for the plugin/chatbots. You have to cultivate a brand and stick with it--and self market, self market, self market.

My intent isn't to be discouraging--just realistic. It is very possible to make a good living on Twitch, but like any career, it requires very hard work, a stroke of luck, or both. If he's serious about it and understands the work involved, it might be worthwhile to try to find a mentor of sorts to show him the ropes. Also there are books out there on "how to be a successful streamer." Don't waste your money on them.

If he's not interested in college (it's not for everybody), would trade school be an option?
« Last Edit: April 06, 2017, 07:31:54 AM by Inaya »

radram

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Re: Playing video games for a living?
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2017, 07:22:28 AM »
I have a friend who's son is a pretty bright kid, but wants nothing to do with college.  He has said he wanted to be an accountant, but he's very hesitant about getting loans and having debt, plus his folks not being very good with money means they can't help him.  He loves to play video games and has expressed interest in starting a stream on Twitch with the hopes of making money and maybe have that open up some possibilities in the future.

Neither of us know much about this, so I was wondering if you guys/gals know of anyone who does this for a living, if it's really possible to make some decent money doing it and if there's any opportunities that could come from it?  My friend will still push him towards college, but if he can truly make some money to put toward it (which he said he'd like to and yes he does have a part-time job) then she's willing to let him try it.

I would classify this career as similar to beer tester. Yes, they exist, but making a living is very rare. The upfront costs are mainly time and effort, so I say go for it. If he likes doing it and can have a little success, his real career should be marketing.

Here is a nice article with advice:
http://www.popsci.com/can-playing-video-games-be-your-full-time-job

Inaya

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Re: Playing video games for a living?
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2017, 07:28:11 AM »
You have you be entertaining to watch as you're playing.  No one is going to stick around your stream if you're just playing a game and not talking.  This requires having fun commentary, and interacting with your audience all while playing a competitive* game at a high level**.

*Some people play not-so competitive games, and make it fun and interesting.

**All streamers I've seen are actually really good at the games they stream.
My favorite streamer (MonotoneTim) is awful at games, but that's kind of his schtick. He also has a way of glitching out older games in the most hilarious fashion. He's not hugely successful, but he gets a couple thousand viewers whenever he comes on. I have no idea how much he makes (they're absolutely not allowed to talk about it), but probably a couple hundred a month. It helps that his voice is positively angelic.

You're right though, you have to be entertaining and have a great personality (or persona). And interact with your viewers. That requires very high level multitasking skills. Being able to read your chat, respond to it, respond to people who give you money, all while playing a video game.

swick

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Re: Playing video games for a living?
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2017, 08:55:36 AM »
I would try to get him interested in making a living as a content creator instead of a consumer (yes Twitch does this to some extent) but like many have said it is actually hard work. Anything you do repativly, even if you enjoy it, can be soul sucking after a while.

But if he could develop some skills -  coding, design, game dev stuff then he would be employable and the skills transferrable to whatever projects/jobs he wants to do.

I love, love, love the Extra Credits Team. They are an amazing example of what you can do when you learn your skills and then apply them in different ways. The series started out as a school project for an illustrator and has become a company that creates amazing content and community. And yes nowadays they do to Twitch and record themselves playing video games for fun, have developed a way to turn their passion (history) into an amazing series that supports quite a few artists via Patreon. They are popular because they have developed a following and understand the business side of making content.

Here is their series on creating your first game: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLhyKYa0YJ_5C6QC36h5eApOyXtx98ehGi

And one on exploring "Game Careers" https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLhyKYa0YJ_5DuIIh7p9FOaR6f-WTTzz_A


ZMonet

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Re: Playing video games for a living?
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2017, 09:05:31 AM »
You said that he isn't interested in college, but maybe he would have more interest if he could play video games competitively there.  It might lead to a career in video games, or at least he would have a degree.  See the link below to: Video Gaming Becomes a Scholarship Sport

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-05/video-gaming-becomes-a-scholarship-sport-at-university-of-utah

Vindicated

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Re: Playing video games for a living?
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2017, 09:09:22 AM »
Video Gaming Becomes a Scholarship Sport

OK.  That's pretty awesome.  I could see Collegiate & even High School level eSports teams becoming mainstream.  I wonder how many parents/school systems would be supportive.

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Playing video games for a living?
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2017, 09:17:33 AM »
I had this discussion with my son who in addition to video games is also into playing baseball.  I pointed out to him that the highest paid video gamer's make between 300K to 450K per year (2013 data), while the LOWEST paid player in MLB earns $500K per year.  He pointed out that the highest paid player is one out of thousands.  We couldn't find data on median pay for video gamer's, but he agreed it's probably pretty low.

He has turned instead to tech work, and is working on a team developing on-line grocery delivery service sponsored by Kroger.

jade

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Re: Playing video games for a living?
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2017, 09:34:40 AM »
I knew someone who did this ... He loved playing video games and made a career out of designing games. Like most things, it's possible but I guess takes a lot of work to get there. Hopefully some of the other practical suggestions will help too.