12 Tips for Starting a YouTube Gaming Channel in 2024

Gaming is a competitive YouTube niche, but there's still room (and time) for new creators to grow successful channels. All it takes is 12 powerful steps.

Starting a gaming YouTube channel is no easy feat. Millions of people play video games in their free time, so naturally, the competition is stiff.

You have famous creators like PewDiePie, Mumbo Jumbo, and DanTDM dominating the space with billions of YouTube views. The MrBeast Gaming channel has over 41 million subscribers. Beyond that, you have thousands of small channels worldwide to compete with!

That makes it difficult for new creators to stand out, let alone go viral. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

How to Start a Gaming Channel: 12 Tips

Is it worth starting a gaming channel in 2024? We’d say 100% yes. Here’s how to grow your gaming channel fast in 12 powerful steps.

1. Focus On Your Target Audience, Not a Particular Game

If you want to grow your gaming channel, don't focus on playing one title. Centering your content around a single game is not only a serious commitment but also a limiting one. Instead, chase the audience.

For example, you don't have to commit to playing or talking about Super Mario 64. It might be smarter to chase the target audience behind that series: people who love '90s video games.

Read more: Discover the Top YouTube Gaming Niches for 2024

This a smart move because while some games become less popular over time, viewing habits remain the same, as explained in this video:

Two channels that have done this pretty well are Darth Microtransaction and lilsimsie. While both of them do have a main game that they upload content for, they aren't shy about venturing out to try new titles (while never forgetting their core audience).

2. Go After Watch Time

In the hustle of going after views and subscribers, it's easy to forget the mother metric that covers all: watch time. Having decent watch time on your channel usually indicates that all bases are covered, and people are enjoying your content.

One of the biggest insights from the past year is that viewers have a massive appetite for lengthy videos. We interviewed a small channel called
Space Cadet Rewind, which gained over 100,000 views on a two-hour video essay about a game called Wing Commander. Watch the full video below to know how he did it!

Runescape creator Settled takes it a step further by compiling several of his long-form videos into 10-plus-hour marathons. These videos rack up hundreds of thousands of views in an era where bite-sized content is king. The videos are binge-able and seamless for the viewer, who receives a better experience than what they get through YouTube playlists.

3. Get the Right Equipment for Your Gaming Channel

What equipment do you need for a gaming YouTube channel? A few items will make your videos more enjoyable:

  1. Microphone for YouTube videos: Many gamers add voiceovers to their videos, especially when actively playing a game. Invest in quality audio so viewers can follow the action.
  2. Screen-recording software: As you play games, you need software to capture the action on your console's screen (PS5, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, etc.).
  3. Digital camera: This can be a DSLR camera, mirrorless camera, or webcam. You’ll need one to record yourself playing games.
  4. Lighting for YouTube videos: Don’t leave viewers in the dark. Create a well-lit shot if you plan to show your face!
  5. Green screen: Lots of gamers use a green screen for live streaming. It removes the background behind the streamer so only their body shows up against the gameplay.

4. Choose the Right Name for Your Gaming Channel

Naming your channel is one of the most important things you’ll do on YouTube. Regardless of your niche, try to follow these best practices as you narrow down your list of options:

  • Pick a name that's easy to spell.
  • Make your channel name easy to remember.
  • If possible, let your name reflect the game you play or the genre you're part of.
  • Stick to 70 characters or less when naming your channel.
  • Use relevant keywords.
  • Avoid profanity and offensive language.

Naming Your Gaming Channel: A Few Examples

Many gamers name their channel based on the game(s) they play. It's not a requirement, but it does help you come up with a unique YouTube name for your channel.

If you want to go in a different direction, such as building a personal brand, then be creative with your channel name. You can use your first and last name or a different moniker to let your personality shine through.

5. Avoid the ‘Let’s Play’ Trap

Many gamers love to post "let's play" videos on YouTube, and we honestly can’t blame them. They’re fun to make and easy to edit, unlike other types of videos on YouTube. All you have to do is record yourself playing a game while sprinkling in some commentary for your audience!

The "trap" here is making the same content that's already out there. After all, the let's play space is crowded and competitive. It's hard to get decent views from that type of content unless you're a large, established channel.

The good news is that small channels with a knack for original storytelling can find success in this niche. We recently talked to The Spiffing Brit, who explained how preparation and having an established intent is extremely crucial in a saturated market. Watch the video below to learn more.

6. Join a Gaming Community to Find YouTube Video Ideas

Brainstorming video ideas is the most challenging part of growing a YouTube channel. But the solution is simple: Don’t try to go it alone. The best way to start a gaming channel is in the company of other gamers.

Read More: 4 Honest Reasons Why You're Running Out of YouTube Video Ideas

To start, try joining an online community like Discord. Find a group centered around the games you play or the genres you enjoy, and then pay attention to what people say.

You’ll discover:

  • Significant updates coming to the game
  • Which aspects of the game excite people
  • Questions newcomers have about the game

These three points can lead to exciting video ideas!

7. Upload Weekly Gaming Videos

Before you create a gaming YouTube channel, make a pact with yourself to upload consistently. You should post at least once a week to build and grow an audience on YouTube.

Why this number? YouTube has gotten good at serving content to the right audience. So, whether you post four videos a month or one video a day, YouTube will recommend your content if it's optimized well.

So, don’t burn out by following an insane posting schedule. Go slowly. That way, you’ll understand how YouTube fits into your life, whether that’s striking a balance between school, work, or family time.

8. Make Your Video Introductions Brief and Entertaining

On YouTube, audience retention is everything. If someone lands on your video but doesn't get past the first 30 seconds, that sends a negative signal to YouTube’s algorithm. It indicates your video may not deliver on its promise and shouldn't be recommended to more viewers.

To ensure this never happens, create a strong introduction for each video. Instead of showing your game’s menu screen as you talk, get to the meat of your content. Move your character(s) around the game’s landscape as you explain the point of today’s video.

The goal is to make it impossible for someone to click away. The title of your video makes a promise to viewers, and you should deliver on that promise early and often.

9. Create Enticing YouTube Thumbnails and Titles

Video titles and thumbnails are what genuinely bring in viewers. They convince people to click on your content, so this powerful pair should be optimized 100% of the time.

A video title isn’t just for display; it can also help you climb YouTube search results. If you can find popular keywords on YouTube that aren’t too competitive, you’ll be one step closer to creating fantastic, click-worthy titles.

After that, your video’s thumbnail should encourage more clicks.

Read More: YouTube Thumbnail Guide: 9 Ways to Boost Click-Through Rate

To do your best in this area, keep the graphic simple but eye-catching. It should be easy for viewers to understand in seconds, like this one:

10. Turn Gaming Trends Into YouTube Videos

A trending topic presents a huge opportunity to get more views on YouTube. You can take advantage of pop culture, holidays, gaming news, or anything that adds something positive (but relevant) to your channel.

And, of course, we’ve got a tool for that.

After you’ve signed up for vidIQ, check out the most-viewed videos tool within the extension. It’s a helpful little gadget that lets you see trending topics within your niche.

In the extension, you can quickly access the tool via the real-time stats bar. Here's what that looks like:

If you click the drop-down menu and select Most Viewed, this window will open in your browser:

When you think you have your next video, type some keywords into this tool to describe the general idea. You may discover that no creators have posted about the topic in months!

Depending on how many views per hour the topic is getting, you might have an opportunity to compete with older videos on YouTube.

11. Research Video Topics Before You Press Record

Before you make a video, brainstorm some title options. This may seem weird at first, but trust us: You need this hack. You’re better off brainstorming titles and seeing which keywords are popular for that topic so you can increase your video's reach.

Read More: How to Find YouTube Keywords that Grow Your Channel

Plus, this plan forces you to make the best video without even knowing it. First, you’ll optimize your content for YouTube’s algorithm by finding valuable keywords. Then you’ll run some YouTube searches to see what other creators posted. All of that research will tell you if the video is worth making, and how you can improve upon what's already out there.

12. Experiment with YouTube Shorts

YouTube Shorts are for people who enjoy bite-sized entertainment. They’re great for making funny videos, quick explainers, or anything that doesn't require a long, traditional video.

They’re also perfect for the gaming community. YouTube Shorts capture those hilarious, gut-busting moments that happen during gameplay, like when a character tumbles off a ledge or there's an unexpected glitch. Even when you have nothing funny to share, you can film 60-second tutorials.

When you’re ready, post a few Shorts to your YouTube channel. We've seen gaming channels grow with this content, and we’re not talking about small spurts here and there. It’s possible to gain 1 million subscribers in three months.

Speedrun Your Way to Monetization

As a gaming creator, you have plenty of options for monetizing your content as your channel grows:

  • Livestreams: In the final quarter of 2022, a cumulative 1.17 billion hours of live gaming content was viewed on YouTube. Through live streams, you can earn from Super Chats and Stickers. And, of course, you can use the video-on-demand version of the livestream to earn more money through advertising revenue.
  • Affiliate Marketing: Another way to make money from your YouTube gaming channel is to enter affiliate programs. This means that you recommend products to your audience and earn a commission when they purchase through your affiliate link.

You can also start a YouTube channel membership that allows viewers to join your channel through monthly payments and get extra benefits like badges and access to exclusive content.

Are Gaming Channels Profitable in 2024?

According to this article by Statista, in 2022, revenue from the worldwide gaming market was estimated at almost $347 billion. The mobile gaming market generated an estimated $248 billion of that total.

Simply put, the top gaming channels make a lot of money. Creators like Markiplier and Techno Gamerz earn an estimated $150,000 per month.

Starting a gaming channel would usually require a high-end PC that could cost you anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000. But, if you can use the tools at your disposal correctly (and keep at it), you can make back the money plus some!

Start Your Gaming Channel Today

Now that you know exactly how to start a YouTube gaming channel, there's only one thing left to do: Start creating!

Remember, the best gamers have:

  • Popular keywords
  • A catchy name
  • A strong focus
  • Frequent uploads
  • Attractive thumbnails and titles

To make sure you succeed, learn the top three reasons why most gaming channels fail (so you can avoid those mistakes!)