How To Start A Gaming Channel On YouTube? 2021 Beginners Guide
on Jan 28, 2021 (Last Update: Feb 03, 2021)
Since more people are staying inside as of recent (due to lockdowns and such), it only makes sense to pursue your online dreams! If you were ever thinking about becoming a full-time YouTuber, this is certainly the time to do it – but how exactly would you accomplish that? There are millions of people all over the globe trying to achieve the same goal, so you've got to stand out from the crowd, but first, you've got to master the basics. Thankfully, we can help with our guide to becoming a YouTuber!
This article is going to take a look at what you can do right now to jump-start your YouTube gaming career, but it's also going to dive deeper into the things you can do to start a gaming channel for free. When one is wondering “what do you need to be a gaming YouTuber?”, just remember that things aren't going to happen right away. New youtubers mistakes is a common phenomena which you can avoid if you put to the time to educate yourself on YouTube. Hard work and remaining dedicated to your content is a necessity!
Who Are the Richest YouTube Gamers?
PewDiePie (Felix Kjellberg) is a YouTuber that holds the number one spot for a very good reason. He has been a part of the YouTube gaming community since 2006, which means he's been doing this for over a decade now! You've likely heard of him in the past, as he's considered one of the more influential users to ever come out of the YouTube community; he was also known as being the person who had the most subscribers in general on YouTube (until he was recently surpassed by T-Series).
Even though he isn't #1 when it comes to subscribers, PewDiePie is clearly a gaming YouTuber that you'll want to model your channel after. He was still in school when he initially began creating YouTube videos and even decided to pursue another degree (Industrial Economics) after graduating in 2008. Trying to manage his school work and the YouTube channel became a challenge, and Felix dropped out shortly after beginning his first semester.
PewDiePie has been known to play many different kinds of games, although his “Let's Play” series that focused on horror games (like Amnesia) are something that we can all reminisce about! All of this success has led to Felix sporting an estimated net worth of $40,000,000.
The second richest YouTuber gamer would have to be VanossGaming, who has well over 25 million subscribers (and that number is growing daily). Evan Fang is the man behind this channel, and it was the first thing he did after dropping out of college in 2011. He went with the channel name “Vanoss Gaming” because it's a reference to the valve timing system developed by automobile giant BMW – his father was known as “Vanoss62” on PSN as well, so it's got twice the amount of sentimental value for Evan. He's known for being one of the very few successful channels that focus on video games without using a face cam, which means the content has to be stellar.
VanossGaming is still in the top 25 when it comes to most subscribed channels on YouTube, and the unique content and personality he brings in all of his videos has allowed him to flourish from the start. The number of subscribers a channel has isn't instant proof of a YouTuber being “rich”, but Evan Fong has managed to grow exponentially over the years and has always monetized accordingly (seeing as he's currently worth about $25,000,000!).
He's brought a few of his friends along for the ride with the “Banana Bus Squad” as well, which is a collective comprised of Evans' friends and fellow YouTube gamers (including members like H2ODelirious, Ohmwrecker, and previously Miniladd).
Evan has a tendency to favor games that are used for Esports (like the Call of Duty franchise) and offers unique perspectives and an abundance of humor in all of his videos!
Markiplier is much more than just a YouTube gamer at this point, although he's still staying true to his roots and creating content associated with video games. When he was just a beginner, Markiplier was trying to think of an intriguing name to go with – he decided to just keep things simple, choosing to combine both his name and the word “multiplier”. His channel was created on March 6th, 2012, and he uploaded his very first video shortly afterward in April. At first, Markiplier (Mark Edward Fischbach) was focused on producing sketch comedy videos, but he quickly shifted gears and turned towards the YouTube gaming community.
He has collaborated with an abundance of different YouTubers over the years, most notably with PewDiePie, which is a relationship that has helped his channel grow rapidly over time. There was a popular race going on between the T-Series channel and PewDiePie all throughout 2018, and Markiplier took to his subscribers to help Felix beat them out.
Although he has created a lot of content that focuses on humor, some of the videos that have him playing Horror games are also incredibly popular. He has created many popular series, one of which is called “Drunk Minecraft” (a personal favorite!), where he matches up against other YouTubers to see who could win the game despite being ridiculously drunk. He's also been in plenty of movies (like Smosh: The Movie) and has also worked with celebrities like Jimmy Kimmel, Jack Black, and many more! As a result, Markiplier is sporting a net worth of about $35,000,000.
Ninja made a massive impact on the gaming community in 2013 when he grew in popularity due to Fortnite, but that wasn't where he started out. Ninja (Richard Tyler Blevins) had humble beginnings, as he's been creating YouTube videos since November of 2011 and grew his fan base through professional gaming tournaments and streaming. Most of the channels we're covering here are just YouTubers trying to entertain their fans, while Ninja is a bit different – he began this journey as a competitive gamer.
Tyler (as he prefers to be called) always had a love for video games, and his father shared the same outlook. Seeing as his dad approved of how much time he was putting into becoming a professional gamer, Tyler wasn't going to take no for an answer! He began to hone his skills and compete in tournaments for Halo 3, where he began his “first wave” of fame; becoming a part of teams like Cloud9, Renegades, Team Liquid, and most recently Luminosity was the perfect fit for Ninja.
He streamed H1Z1 and PUBG (Player Unknown's Battlegrounds) at first, and when Fornite came out things began to truly come together for Tyler. He was known as the “best Fortnite player in the world” for a while. Since the popularity of the game itself was at an all-time high, Ninja was able to rake in the money. It's tough to say how much he made throughout those peak years, but Ninja's net worth is currently estimated at a whopping $25,000,000!
Yet another acquaintance of PewDiePie who makes this list, JackSepticEye (Sean William McLoughlin) is an Irish YouTuber who has well over 25 million subscribers. He's the most popular YouTuber in Ireland and his name comes from his childhood – Jack is actually a nickname for Sean in Ireland, and when he was dealing with an eye injury in his youth, his companions would refer to him as “Jack Septic Eye”. As you would guess, the name has certainly stuck around!
He first began his YouTube journey in 2007 but didn't start uploading content himself until 2012. It took him 5-years to gather up the courage required to genuinely approach becoming a professional YouTuber, and just look where he is today! He's created several different series for all of the games he plays, with some of the more popular ones being GTA 5 (Grand Theft Auto), Skate 3, Happy Wheels, and most recently Among Us.
The amount of versatility that Sean has to offers is quite intriguing, and it's probably why he's able to maintain that #1 spot in Ireland so easily! He covers all kinds of games, from Minecraft all the way down to a co-operative walkthrough of Portal 2. While he's at the bottom of our top earners' list, having a reported net worth of $16,000,000 is nothing to scoff at.
How to Start a Gaming Channel on YouTube
Starting up a gaming channel of your own is just the beginning of the journey and it's a step that all of the people we've listed above have taken at one point. The quicker you start your channel, the better, as you'll be able to hit the ground running right away! You've got to figure out your branding beforehand if you're looking to make a serious impact on the YouTube gaming community, especially since subscribers aren't easy to come across.
Below you'll find all of the steps needed to start a gaming channel on YouTube, and if you follow them perfectly, you'll be in an ideal position to make your mark in the YouTube world.
Gaming YouTube Channel Names - It All Starts With a Name
Having a catchy channel name is perfect for those looking to get their foot in the door. It's important to catch the eye of your potential audience, and sometimes that means drawing them in with a unique and catchy YouTube channel name! Although keeping it simple works in some cases, you always want it to “roll off the tongue”. Some examples would be:
- PewDiePie (sounds catchy)
- AngryJoeShow (it rhymes!)
- VanossGaming (straight to the point and easily remembered)
Pick Your Channel Niche
Understanding how to find your YouTube niche is going to be based on a few different things, and all you've got to do is lay out a few options and weigh them accordingly. Creating a channel that focuses on games you're good at is always ideal, but you've got to be capable of expanding your horizons as well. If you've already got an online presence through streaming it only makes sense to start a channel based on the content you're already creating. If you're great at first-person shooters (Call of Duty, Destiny, Valorant, etc.), create a YouTube channel that showcases your skills.
Some of the most popular niches on YouTube are full of people who happen to love what they do. Dr. Disrespect is the perfect example of that, as he's created a persona and only plays the games that he enjoys most (he's also competitive and holds streams where he reaches specific kill-based goals!).
So eventually you must come up with channel niche ideas which are based on your gaming skills, general expertise, any hobbies related to the gaming world, or any channel niche idea that would make your YouTube gaming career fun and fulfilling.
Conduct Topic Content Research to Find Video Ideas
Observe Your Competitor Channels
Researching other channels and seeing what they're creating for their subscribers is a good thing, especially when you're just starting out. They say that you should learn from the best, so why wouldn't you conduct research and look at the most popular gaming channels in your selected niche?
Find some channels that are associated with your niche and take note of the videos they're producing themselves – odds are your subscribers (and potential viewers) will enjoy you releasing videos in the same vein.
For example, let's take a look at Markiplier and some of his most popular videos -
You can filter them and see which ones are the most popular by selecting the “Most Popular” option under the Videos section. This will show you which videos have done the best for any given channel, although you'll want to take note of when the video was posted. This can help you figure out ideas for thumbnails, as well as see what kinds of videos people are interested in viewing!
Check the Trending Gaming Videos
The Gaming tab can end up being your new best friend as well, since you’ll be able to see what kinds of new videos are building up a buzz within your niche. You’ll be able to figure out which games are being streamed the most on Youtube, as well as spot any new trending videos that are on the rise. If there’s any sort of new trend that’s catching on, you’ll be able to identify it here - it’s perfect for coming up with videos ideas to help your content creation process!
Check Out YouTube Live Streams
Producing content in any which way you can is always ideal, which is why getting into the process of live streaming will always be beneficial: To do so effectively, you can check out the most popular streams found on YouTube - go to the “Live” page and scroll down to the Gaming section. Some of the most recognizable names in the YouTube gaming community can be found here, so it doesn’t hurt to take note of a few things.
Consider the games that they’re playing and whether they’re currently “trending” or not, and be sure to take a look at the streamers screen. The most popular streamers have donation messages, customized screen overlays, and plenty of other stuff that they can use to draw viewers in!
The Equipment Needed to Start a YouTube Channel
You actually don't need a lot of equipment to start your very own YouTube gaming channel, and some would say that's the best part. When you want to start your YouTube channel the right way, you'll want to offer your viewers a high production value from the very beginning. Producing videos that lack quality isn't going to get you anywhere, so it's always ideal to have a “professional set-up” before you try to make a push. Some of the most important pieces of equipment to worry about would be:
Green Screens are a common sight to see throughout the YouTube Gaming community, and once again, it’s just to maintain a professional look. The size you need may vary from person to person, but Amazon is likely going to have what you need! We would suggest taking a look at the Fancierstudiop Greenscreen Backdrop, as it comes in several different sizes.
High-Definition Webcam (or camera in general)
Webcams or any kind of camera in general can be used for your Facecam, which is optimal if you’re looking to start up a live streaming channel. Logitech has been manufacturing reliable webcams for a very long time, and when it comes to both YouTube videos and streaming, the Logitech C922x Pro Stream HD Webcam can handle anything you need.
Microphone (the best one you can afford)
Without a proper microphone people aren’t going to understand what you’re saying, and it always helps to have crisp and high-quality audio for all of your videos. Blue is a very popular company when it comes to both podcasters and YouTubers alike, and we would highly recommend the Blue Yeti Nano Premium USB Mic to keep your viewers satisfied (they’ve also got plenty of other options if you’ve got a strict budget).
Sony Vegas, Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, and iMovie are all editing programs you can use to keep your YouTube channel looking “professional”. Sometimes you can get away with using free editing programs, but if you want to get serious about your YouTube gaming channel, you'll have to invest a bit of money into it. Sony Vegas Pro 18 is the most recent version released, and it’s one we would suggest you check out!
Those who are trying to capture game footage in the highest quality possible on their consoles (such as Xbox) will need to look into purchasing some sort of capture card as well. El Gato is known for providing some of the best Capture Cards on the market, so we would highly recommend checking out the El Gato Corsair Camlink.
Free Video Editing Software For YouTube
Saving your money during the pursuit of greatness on YouTube is tough, but there are certain areas where it’s going to be much easier to hone in on discounts. For example, there are several options to consider when it comes to free video editing software - the only issue is that they often lack features found in paid programs. Some of the most reliable free video editor options would be:
How to Record Gaming Videos for YouTube
Recording your gameplay in high-definition is very important, and it can be done quite easily nowadays. There are several programs to consider if you're trying to capture gaming footage on the computer, but those of you who are playing on the console will have to purchase the likes of a capture card. Some of the most popular game capturing programs would be:
If you're on a console, most of the time you can get away with using the integrated “Clip Sharing” feature to put your videos together. The PS4/5 and Xbox X/Series X automatically capture game footage, although it won't capture most of the game's audio. In that case, you would need the likes of an El Gato Capture Card.
How to do Live Streaming on YouTube?
YouTube has made it very simple to live stream to all of your subscribers, as all you’ve got to do is go click on the “Create” button in the top-right corner of the home page and select “Go Live”. You can even post your live streams to YouTube after they’re done to create even more content for your subscribers!
How to Open a Channel on YouTube
Step 1: Go to your YouTube Account Settings
From here, you'll want to click on “Add and Manage Channels”
Step 2: Click on “Create a New Channel”
Step 3: Name and create your YouTube Gaming Channel!
7 Most Popular Content Types for Gaming Channels
Although it can be hard to find the right niche immediately, many people have found success in live streaming. It's perfect because it allows you to reach a broader audience and interact with your viewers in real-time, and you can always just create clips of the stream and edit them into YouTube videos later.
Let's Play videos are perfect for the kind of community that wants to take the journey with you, and it's ideal for when a hyped-up single-player game (like Cyberpunk 2077) is released. Another popular title that was great for Let's Play channels would be Spider-Man: Miles Morales, as even JackSepticEye hopped on that train. These are videos where you play through the story (in most cases) in portions, uploading a clip each time.
Another popular type of content would be the game walkthrough. Producing game walkthrough videos can be very useful for many reasons, as people aren't just going to watch for entertainment purposes. There are times where people will search up a game walkthrough set at the highest difficulty (for example, Call of Duty on Realism) and scan the video for tips they can implement themselves.
This is the art of creating an entire movie using video game clips, so you're going to be turning yourself into a director of sorts. Typically, gaming YouTube channels that focus on producing Machinima material will make prevalent use of mods and other tools to get the camera angles required for their videos, so it's best left to those who are more “seasoned” in that regard.
Roleplaying YouTube gaming channels are growing rapidly, as they're able to create unique characters that have people coming back for more. Titles like Grand Theft Auto 5 are ideal for Roleplaying YouTube channels, as GTA 5 has a roleplaying mod available that makes the game even more immersive. Although it's only limited to those with a PC, it's the perfect kind of content to create for console gamers who feel like they're missing out!
Griefing is kind of outdated, but there's still a decent market for it on YouTube. Trolling other players can be profitable if you're also good at the game, so creating a gaming YouTube channel that is solely dedicated to Griefing is going to require a special level of creativity. Hunter.EXE would be an example of this, as he trolls users relentlessly while showing amazing skill in Call of Duty - his editing is also on point, which is why he’s so popular.
Game reviews are incredibly popular because they give the viewer an unbiased opinion on the games they're interested in purchasing. People are always going to want more information before they purchase a game, and that rings especially true since they increased the price after next-gen consoles were released. If you wanted a sure thing, creating a game review channel might be your best bet.
How to Grow Your Youtube Gaming Channel
Growing your YouTube channel isn’t an easy process, especially when you’re just starting out. Without connecting with others and networking the right way, building up your audience is going to seem quite challenging!
Join Gaming Communities and Forums
Connecting with like-minded individuals is always going to push your channel in the right direction. Those of you who are beginners aren't in it for the money just yet, so you should be focused on building your network and connecting with people through different gaming communities (Reddit, Twitter, Forums, etc.) and sharing your channel that way. They can help you by:
- Giving you feedback about any potential videos
- Learn from their mistakes
- Participate in AMA (Ask Me Anything) threads to learn more!
Twitch is the leading platform for people who are live streaming for a living. Live streams are perfect for people who want to connect with fans in real-time, and it adds a level of “uniqueness” to your content that cannot be found in traditional videos. People will begin to follow your schedule, and you'll start to notice the same names popping up in your chat in no time at all.
Facebook Groups are another amazing way to connect with other users who are interested in the YouTube gaming community. Whether you're connecting with other content creators or just promoting your product, Facebook Groups can be an effective tool for growing your channel.
You can find specific Facebook groups that cater towards unique communities, or just find a generic one that is suitable for any kind of gamer. For example, if you’re streaming Valorant you could consider joining a Valorant-based Facebook group like the Valorant Gaming Community.
Collaborate With Other Gaming Channels On YouTube!
Work alongside other content creators and have your fans interact with one another! As you've seen other large YouTubers do in the past, collaborating with people you love watching yourself is a great way to introduce your viewers to a new channel (and vice versa!).
How to Be a YouTube Gamer and Get Paid
Sponsorships can be the bread and butter of your YouTube channel if you play your cards right, as some companies will pay you tons of money to simply post content associated with their game (although that's often reserved for YouTubers who are already made). You can still make some money by promoting products in your videos or even during a live stream, which is why there are instances where you'll see “special streams” that are sponsored by household names.
Ad Revenue is the most original form of monetization for all YouTube channels, and it's still a viable way of making a living right now. If you've got millions of subscribers logging in to view your videos daily (as PewDiePie does), the chances of you becoming a millionaire yourself through Ad Revenue alone are very high! Sporting more views and subscribers will almost always translate into more Ad Revenue.
Most YouTubers will use AdSense (Google-based Ad Revenue) for their YouTube Videos, and nowadays you’ll have to have at least 4,000 hours of watch time monthly and 1,000 subscribers just to qualify for the YouTube Partner Program.
Merchandising your YouTube channel is an important process to handle once you've reached a certain level of popularity. When you have subscribers who are waiting anxiously for your next video to arrive, the smartest thing to do would be to offer them merchandise in the meantime! All of your favorite YouTuber channels likely offer merchandise themselves, which is a testament to just how important merchandising can be to your channels' success.
Another way to “sell” using your YouTube gaming channel would be through affiliate links inside of your description itself (Amazon affiliate links). If you do have a shop that houses merchandise, be sure to include the link in every single video description and your channels’ Biography page!