A handful of years ago, Google announced the launch of a new video channel on YouTube, the Gaming Channel Network. This new video-game-focused enterprise is aimed at those of us who have a passion for playing and sharing our experiences. This new platform has given a voice to gamers around the world, and even you can become a contributor to this growing channel. Today we will break down the tips and tricks of the trade to show you how to start a gaming channel all of your own.
What Is a Gaming Channel?
A gaming channel is a YouTube account geared towards gamers. This can come in many flavors and forms, but the core topic for a gaming channel should be sharing your experience of playing video games. Knowing how to start a gaming channel starts with identifying what makes you excited about the games you enjoy playing and sharing that excitement with viewers.
Why Start a Gaming Channel?
If you feel you have something to say about video games, then that's the first reason to start a gaming channel. Foremost, you should have something to share with your fellow gamers, and that can be anything from commentary to criticism, as long as you have something new to share with the gaming community. Knowing the technical parts of how to start a gaming channel is only a start because you need something personal to bring to the table.
If you go into the process with a strong feeling of purpose and voice, then you're more than halfway to knowing how to start a gaming channel. At the heart of the process is your passion for gaming, no matter the platform or game type. As long as you have something personal to say, there will be an audience that wants to hear it. There are other reasons to learn how to start a gaming channel, like making money or gaining a large audience of followers, but none of that will happen if you don't have something original to share.
How to Start a Gaming Channel: Five Tips & Tricks
We're going to break down the five most important tips and tricks you should know if you're learning how to start a gaming channel. They may seem obvious at first glance, but there's a lot of competition out there for viewers, so knowing the nuances can be the difference that makes or breaks your channel's success. These are our five tips to consider when learning how to start a gaming channel all of your own.
To play your favorite games, you'll need a way to play them—that much should be obvious. You'll need more than that to produce quality videos for your gaming channel. Getting your experience from the PS4, Xbox One, or computer and onto your channel will require a few more pieces of hardware.
Game Video & Audio Capturing
If you're playing on a console like a PS4 or Xbox, then you can use the onboard recording and sharing software to capture your gameplay. From there, you can upload it onto YouTube or your computer for further editing.
The matter is slightly more difficult when playing on a PC or Mac, as you'll need a piece of software like Video Recorder Pro to capture your gameplay. This can get complicated if you're running on an older or slower machine because capturing high-quality video and audio can be a drain on your hardware's capability. Be sure you have enough RAM and storage space to record while running the game.
Microphones & Headsets
If you use in-game chat, or if you want to include any running commentary, then you'll need a good gaming headset or post-production microphone. Most headsets will have enough setting control to record quality audio, so it's likely your current headset will work for this purpose. If you're planning on doing any kind of post-production narration or voiceover, then you must invest in a microphone. The market has been flooded with excellent USB mics, so finding an affordable, high-quality piece of recording hardware is easy.
Media Editing Software
Though you can upload your gameplay directly onto YouTube, we strongly urge you to adopt some post-production process. Editing is your primary tool for delivering quality content, and though it takes some practice, anybody can learn how to edit audio and video. There's a lot of software for PC and Mac that can make non-linear editing as simple as a couple of mouse clicks.
We recommend iMovie as a great introductory piece of editing software, as it has a lot of premixed options for producing professional looking videos. There are tons of learning resources online that will show you how to start a gaming channel using this specific software.
Know Your Voice
We're not going to lie; there's some stiff competition on YouTube, especially in the gaming industry. It's one of the universal entertainment modes, and it seems to touch every corner of the globe. An important part of success on YouTube is finding your voice and having something specific to say. The most successful channels online are helmed by strong personalities. The people keep coming back to these videos because they know what to expect from that channel. Forming your unique voice is paramount if you're trying to compete for more views.
The first step in finding that voice is deciding what it is you want to share with the world. There are several angles you can approach your videos from. The following examples can help guide you into your specific niche.
Sometimes people just want to watch other people play their favorite games, but there needs to be some overarching commentary or narrative you bring to the table. Anyone can play these games, so just watching you play in silence adds no new information or entertainment value. That's why you should think about what you want to say about the active gameplay, and maybe even offer a running soundtrack of your thoughts and opinions on what you're engaging in.
Game Critiques and Reviews
There are many people that navigate to their favorite gaming channels to get a sense of what to play next. The most respected gaming channels offer insight and informed opinions to their subscribers, which can help them decide what game they should play next. Good game reviews give an honest and personal look into the play experience, and that's a driving factor for a lot of return viewers.
This one is tough because news moves quickly in the world of gaming. If you want to keep people coming back regularly, this is a great way to do it. Regular gaming news, even if it's for a small gaming community or a specific genre, can bring in a dedicated and loyal audience. Just remember, you have to be timely and consistent with your news, or else it loses value rather quickly as it ages.
Finding Your Audience
So, now that you've got a gaming channel with quality content, you may be wondering what to do next. You need people to watch and share your videos, so how do you accomplish that beyond producing content worth sharing? YouTube thrives on social media sharing, and your first line of fire is your Friends list. Social media has been heavily commercialized over the last decade, and while that's frustrating for the casual user, it's ideal for someone looking to promote their online content.
Promotion Through Social Media
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are the crown jewels in the social media empire. You will need active accounts on all three to maximize the reach of your content. It's simple enough to start with your existing friends on social media, but if you want to extend beyond that circle, you will need to use every available tool to promote what you're doing. Sometimes it's not enough to have great content, because if no one knows that it exists, it sits there unwatched. Use your social media connections to get the word out and encourage your friends to share what you're producing with non-mutual friends.
Viewer Interaction and Participation
One way to encourage more viewership is to offer active feedback and interaction with your viewers. This kind of two-way interaction can foster a bond between gamer and viewer, making the relationship more personal to both parties. When someone interacts with you, they become a participant in the channel's success. This instills that sense of community that can become the driving force for continued viewership. When you show your viewers you listen to what they have to say, it gives them a feeling of ownership over the enterprise, and they're more loyal because of it.
Sometimes the best way to find success is to combine forces with someone that's already found it. There are lots of YouTube channels that rose on the backs of more popular YouTube channels. Many of those partnerships have created mutual success for all involved. Don't be afraid to reach out to some of your favorite gaming channels and see if there's something you could do to cross-promote each other. You might be surprised at how welcoming some of these communities are to collaboration, as it only serves to add more color to the conversation about gaming.
The number-one failure point for most YouTube channels, gaming or otherwise, is inconsistent uploading. This doesn't mean you have to upload things every day, or even every week, just as long as you are consistent with when you make the videos available. The life and death of a gaming channel can be tracked with the active subscribers to the channel. More active subscribers mean more views, and the only way to keep them coming back is by the promise of more content.
Keep to a Schedule
As we said, you don't have to have a weekly program to upload; you just have to keep some sort of a schedule. There are many successful gaming channels that only upload every other week—sometimes only once a month. The reason they're successful is the viewers know that if they subscribe, they can expect regular, consistent, new content. If you're offering a quality video, and if it's entertaining, people will get excited about the regular uploads.
Make Quality a Priority
It is far better to produce fewer, high-quality videos than many poor quality ones. It's not enough to be consistent; you need to be reliably entertaining. Your subscribers are coming to your channel for your specific voice, and that works best when your content is of the highest standard. This also leads to people sharing your work with their friends, which is the bread and butter of spreading the word on your channel. Quality content will be shared infinitely more than mediocre content, so take that extra time to put together something you'll be proud to share with the people you know personally.
Consistency Leads to Subscriptions
If you keep to a regular schedule and deliver great content, then people will be compelled to subscribe. When you subscribe to a channel, in essence, you are promising to watch when there's new content available. Think about that; someone clicking the subscribe button is opting in to receive notifications when you upload something new. This means they're committed to watching your content, so the least you can do is commit to making it.
Have Tons of Fun
This might be the simplest tip to absorb when learning how to start a gaming channel, but don't let that fool you; it's the most important part of maintaining an audience. All the technical aspects, combined with social networking and advertising tricks, mean absolutely nothing if you aren't having fun. That's not just for your own enjoyment (though that's important), it's also a key factor in a gaming channel's success.
People want to have fun when they watch your channel, and that's impossible for them to do if there's no sense of joy coming from your persona. Even when you're tearing down a game you hated in a scathing critique, you should still enjoy sharing that opinion. The easiest way to entertain your viewers is to entertain yourself in the process. That goes above and beyond just playing the game, and your audience will read it in your video if you show true passion and enjoyment in the whole process.
Now You Know How to Start a Gaming Channel
These tips are your secret weapon when starting your new network of videos, but they're just a starting point when learning how to start a gaming channel. As we said many times, you can master the technicals of launching a gaming channel, but the most important thing to remember is that you have a unique voice, and sharing that voice is the true key to success. The most successful YouTube channels are created by people that have a passion for their subject, and there are fewer segments of the population more passionate than the gaming community.
Harness that love of gaming for yourself, and once you've mastered how to start a gaming channel and express yourself through it, there's no limit to the level of success you can enjoy.