Gamers find YouTube can be a significant source of income

By Amy Gilette, Staff Writer

Many people above the age of 30 would not consider playing video games a sustainable career, but a few YouTubers have made their living off of videos called “Let’s Play(s)” in the past 10 years. One MHS student, freshman Mike Snyder, currently makes money from his videos on his channel, Tokis.

Mike  Snyder began his channel with some competitive gaming he took part in. and then decided to expand his channel to mainly Nintendo games and some others.

“Nintendo has the biggest demographic and therefore the largest viewer base on YouTube, so you’ll get the most views from that,” said Snyder.

 He loves to play video games and now he has a way to show it to the world. YouTuber Dashiegames is his biggest inspiration.

“ My channel grew from zero to 300 in a week, but Dashiegames’ grew to over a million in two months. To me his videos are really hilarious and he has mannerisms that make his content really unique. The production value and insight is astounding. I hope I can produce content similar in quality and have as many subscribers some day soon,” said Snyder.

Most Let’s Players showcase their reaction and jokes that go along with the game they’re playing, while some provide a more informative and strategy-based play-through.

“My commentary is mainly comical, but sometimes I don’t like how I’ll have to put on a persona just to be funny. It feels forced sometimes. But comedy is the most important aspect of a Let’s Play,” said Snyder.

Let’s Players currently are the most subscribed channels on YouTube. Felix Kjellberg, or PewDiePie, holds the top spot at almost 42 million subscribers. PewDiePie  plays video games that are either new to the industry, or obscure and humourous, and adds comedic commentary to give the video more personality.

“I think PewDiePie is funny, but in my opinion a lot of his success is from luck. He has connections with other popular YouTubers, so they got people to view his channel,” said Snyder

A common suggestion for all aspiring Let’s Players, is to get yourself out there and make connections. Snyder suggests and easy way to do this is posting links on social media such as Facebook.

Some Youtubers have made enough money to buy enormous houses solely from the profits of their videos and partnerships with YouTube. Business Insider interviewed  Jordan Maron, otherwise known as “Captainsparklez”,  who purchased a mansion worth $4.5 million in October 2015. Maron’s videos mainly focus on playthroughs and commentary from the game Minecraft.

The amount of views and subscribers one has on his or her channel contributes to the amount of money they make and to the chances of YouTube offering a partnership.

“ Currently I only make about $20 a week to $150 a month, but I’m slowly getting more as time goes on. The views are the most important part, but once you get a lot of subscribers, YouTube might offer you a contract and you can start making some real money,”said Snyder.

The Let’s Play community is very competitive since many channels are competing for contracts and views to secure as much money as possible. There are always new games coming out, so you will never run out of comedic content. Snyder states that he doesn’t know any other Let’s Players at MHS. He enjoys the social aspect that comes with online gaming, even if the general community tends to put competing channels down for their own personal gain.

“For me the best part of a Let’s Play is being with my friends. We’ll all get into a Skype call and just play with each other having fun together. Another great thing is that it’s convenient that my friend Sarah Myer does all my editing,” said Snyder.

According to Tubefilter, two percent of YouTubers with less than 5,000 subscribers have earned money through partnerships. This number increases with the subscriber count, but only 26 percent of Let’s Players make partnership money through their videos. The amount of money a YouTuber makes depends on a mix between subscriber count, views and the companies they’re affiliated with. A Let’s Player who doesn’t have ties to any companies may have more subscribers and viewers than someone who is, but the person affiliated to a company might be making more money, as they are taking in revenue from both YouTube and outside companies.

The ad revenue comes from either pop up ads in the beginning of a video, or top and sidebar ads.  In addition to that, the longer a viewer watches a video, the more money the YouTuber receives. For example if somebody posts a five minute video, they will make more money if the viewer watches for four minutes as opposed to one.