Turning controllers into cash! 51% of streamers have made money from live gaming

NEW YORK — In recent years, there has been a remarkable surge in individuals capitalizing on their passion for video games by becoming streamers and turning their gameplay into profitable ventures. It’s not all fun and games, though — a new survey finds seven in 10 gamers stream their content, with about half of them making real money from it.

The poll of 2,000 U.S. video game players, split by generation, found making a career out of live streaming can be a daunting task. Fifty-one percent have made money from it. Of these streamers, the average person has only made $1,264 within the past 12 months.

Still, it’s enough for 10 percent to consider quitting their job to stream full-time. Sixty-nine percent even believe streaming should be considered a serious job industry all on its own.

Four in five millennials surveyed especially consider streaming a real job industry, closely followed by Gen Z (79%). Perhaps unsurprisingly, baby boomers were found to be the least likely to consider it a “real job” (46%).

Commissioned by the free-to-play game World of Warships and conducted by OnePoll, respondents from the study showed what it takes in order to have a “successful” career in streaming. 

In order to be considered a successful streamer, respondents believe you need to collaborate with other streamers or creators (56%), earn money from streaming (53%), stream on a regular basis (48%), and score a sponsorship or brand deal (48%).

Respondents also defined a successful streaming career as maintaining an average of 3,277 regular viewers per month and making an average of $29,172 annually. You should also be streaming for an average of 22 hours per week.

To look the part, respondents say you need good equipment (a computer, chair, headphones, etc.) (61%), a fast internet connection (50%), a good camera setup (48%), and a high-quality mic (45%). Even with all these conditions, 59 percent believe becoming a “successful” streamer is an easy task; only 21 percent say it’s difficult. 

Three-quarters (76%) of the Gen Z generation believe it to be easy, while baby boomers were on the opposite side of the argument — 38 percent of them believe it’s difficult.

“Even though there’s a perception that the bar for ‘success’ is lower than most careers, it carries with it some new challenges that we should consider,” says marketing lead at World of Warships Americas, Ross Falk, in a statement. “Many would likely be surprised to learn just how seriously professional streamers take their jobs — treating it just as seriously as they would any other profession.”

The survey also revealed America’s livestream-loving habits. Over half (59%) watch streams at least once a week, and 12 percent watch them every single day. Millennials were found to watch more daily than any other generation (18%, compared to 10 percent for Gen Z, 15 percent for Gen X, and four percent for baby boomers).

The most popular kinds of streaming content are cooking (33%), esports (33%), multiplayer/battle royale games (32%), and reviews (30%). Seven in 10 (73%) say they especially follow esports closely.

Many put streamers as more culturally important than comedians (65%), athletes (64%), and writers (62%). They were also found to be less culturally important than actors (16%) and music artists (12%).

Similarly, streamers were found to be more important to communities than educators (50%) and healthcare workers (46%), and just as important as lawmakers (47%), clothing brands (52%), retail companies (48%), tech startups (44%), charities (43%), and librarians (45%). One in five believe streaming could replace traditional televised entertainment within five years, yet eight percent say it already has. 

“We’re clearly only in the beginning stages of streaming taking off as a career path,” continues Ross. “What’s really exciting is watching what’s going to happen in the near future and how younger people are preparing themselves for careers that are forever changing the definition of entertainment.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 Americans who play video games, evenly split by generation, was commissioned by Wargaming between August 1 and August 14, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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About the Author

Sophia Naughton

Meet StudyFinds’ Associate Editor, Sophia Naughton. Sophia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication directly focused in journalism and advertising. She is also a freelance writer for Baltimore Magazine. Outside of writing, her best buddy is her spotted Pit Bull, Terrance.

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  1. “… survey of 2,000 Americans who play video games, evenly split by generation, …”
    So these numbers are only of the 2% – 3% of American people who play on-line video games.
    The 99.99% of us who actually have lives were not consulted.

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