There are two groups of people in the gaming world; people who game for fun, and those who game to earn a living. While gaming is generally a hobby for most people, it has become a lucrative stream of income for others. In South Africa, the gaming industry has over the years seen massive growth, especially among Gen Zs. This may be due to the evolution of mobile technology and continued investment in advanced and affordable smartphones that allow gaming to be more accessible.
Globally, gaming has been heavily influenced by the Singapore market, and has over the years expanded to the United States and other markets including South Africa. Some schools and higher education institutions are now offering esports activities, which has made online gaming more popular in South Africa. As the gaming industry continues to grow and attract big sponsors, some South African gamers have taken advantage by monetising their passion for gaming. Below are four ways in which gamers have turned their passion for gaming into a source of income.
Gaming YouTube Channel
YouTube is a social media platform for video sharing that enables users to earn money doing what they love. Most South African gamers use YouTube to stream their gameplay live or upload a pre-recorded video of them playing, for people to watch or learn. They get paid through increasing the number of their subscribers, and uploading video gaming content such as gaming lessons, reviews, and tips. YouTube gamers also get paid every time someone watches their videos, and get additional pay through advertisements that appear during their videos. One South African gamer who has established himself and earns a living through YouTube is Mister Flak. He currently has 105 000 subscribers on his channel, which continues to grow each day.
Twitch, the most used platform for gaming streaming, is a video live streaming service that is focused on video game live streaming. It offers broadcasts of esports competitions, as well as creative content and streams that are referred to as “in real life”. Streamers can earn money on Twitch though viewer donations, ‘Twitch Bits’ (another form of viewer donation) and the most popular crowdfunded subscriptions. They can also make money from game sales, affiliate marketing, brand sponsorships, ads and merchandise. The gaming focused platform boasts 15 million users everyday.
A Game testers’ job is to test new games before they are launched in the market. Game testing entails playing a video game to engage and evaluate the user experience on for example; how many stages can be reached, how to improve the game, identifying bugs and glitches to ensure the video game is perfect. Here are some of the skills you need to develop to become a tester:
· Be able to play on various consoles, laptops, desktop computer and mobile devices
· Find features that can be improved, and practise your communication skills in describing your gaming experience and the lingo used in gaming
· Have a solid foundation of technical expertise to advance your gaming practice, this can be done through public gaming testing which is a great way to gain knowledge about new games, hone your testing abilities, and even earn in-game rewards. Game Tester, Alpha Beta Gamer, and BetaBound – Games are some of the sites you can use to practise your game testing skills
· Document your progress with each test
· Be a flexible gamer
Some passionate video gamers become video game coaches. Video game coaching entails helping gamers improve their skills by offering guidance, tutorials, and tips to prepare them for gaming tournaments. It also involves teaching players how, when and what to communicate with team members during games. Video game coaches also give pro advice on how to network, join a team and how to cope under pressure.
Competing in professional game tournaments
The most popular way for professional gamers to make money is by competing in tournaments. Some South African professional gamers compete in the Telkom VS Gaming tournaments for example to improve their skills, prepare for international tournaments and to win prizes and titles. Telkom VS Gaming is South Africa’s largest independent gaming brand, which hosts regular tournaments and leagues across different game genres and skill levels:
- Telkom VS Gaming Masters
The Telkom VS Gaming Masters is South Africa’s largest Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Tournament. Since the tournament kick-off in 2022, it has seen over 150 Semi-Professional teams competing for their share of the R230 000 prize pool.
- Telkom VS Gaming Championship
Launched in 2021, the Telkom VS Gaming Championship is where Rocket League teams battle it out, the 2022 Season saw the winners walking away with their share of R45 000.
To find out more about the Telkom VS Gaming leagues and tournaments, please visit vsgaming.co.za Registrations for the leagues are now open, with the leagues kicking off in February 2023.