Lydia Sweatt is a writer, bookworm, and bass guitar enthusiast. When she goes outside, a bicycle goes with her.
11 Killer Tips for Starting a YouTube Gaming Channel in 2023
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 a whopping 31.4 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: 11 Killer Tips
Is it worth starting a gaming channel in 2023? We’d say 100% yes. Here’s how to grow your gaming channel fast in 11 powerful steps.
1. Focus On Your Target Audience, Not a Particular Game
When you start your YouTube channel, it’ll be tempting to play every single game you own at home. You may upload some Fortnite videos because of the game’s insane popularity. Two weeks later, it may seem like a good idea to sprinkle in some Minecraft content.
Or maybe, you are highly ranked in a game that you've been playing for years, and you're planning to upload the sickest montages ever!
But heed our warning, creators. If you want to grow your gaming channel, don't run after the games. Instead, chase the audience.
This a smart move to make because while some games become less popular over time, viewing habits remain largely the same, as explained in this video:
If you have a target audience in mind, you can produce the content they like to watch and build a dedicated, core group of viewers. And good for you, because this is how the best gaming communities are made!
2. Get the Right Equipment for Your Gaming Channel
What equipment do you need for a gaming YouTube channel? Not much, if we're being honest — but a few items will make your videos more enjoyable:
- 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.
- 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.).
- Digital camera: This can be a DSLR camera, mirrorless camera, or webcam. You’ll need one to record yourself playing games.
- Lighting for YouTube videos: Don’t leave viewers in the dark. Create a well-lit shot if you plan to show your face!
- 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.
3. Choose the Right Name for Your Gaming Channel
Naming your channel is one of the most important things you’ll do on YouTube. So 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 a part of.
- Stick to 70 characters or less when naming your channel.
- Use relevant keywords.
- Avoid profanity and offensive language.
Many successful gamers have named their channel based on the primary game they play. So, if you’ve settled on playing just one game, use its title to develop a unique YouTube name for your channel.
- Example 1: 100 Percent Zelda posts Zelda gaming tutorials.
- Example 2: Poke Daxi shares Pokémon Go hacks.
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 flow through and stand out on YouTube!
4. 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!
Read More: How to Reach 1,000 YouTube Subscribers with Gameplay Videos
While let's plays are a lot of fun, it's hard to get decent views from that type of content unless you're a large, established channel. After all, the let's play space is crowded and competitive. It's a popularity contest at this point, and small creators have to go another route because no one knows who they are yet.
Here's a video example of your typical let's play on YouTube. Gamer iJeven takes on a mission in Minecraft, which is episode one of a much larger series.
While this video is enjoyable, most viewers are searching for tutorials, hacks, and speedruns for Minecraft — not a let's play video. So if you decide to do a let’s play, make the video searchable. Include a tutorial or a hack so you can write a good title for YouTube’s search engine.
5. Join a Gaming Community to Find YouTube Video Ideas
Brainstorming video ideas is the most challenging part of growing on YouTube. But the solution is simple: Don’t try to go it alone. The best way to start a YouTube 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 game you play, then pay attention to what people say.
- Significant updates coming to the game
- Which aspects of the game excite people
- Questions newcomers have about the game
These three points can lead you to exciting video ideas!
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
But ranking higher on YouTube is half the battle. Once you’ve done 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:
9. 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.
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 once again, we’ve got a tool for that.
After you’ve signed up for vidIQ, check our most viewed videos tool within the extension. It’s a helpful little gadget that lets you see topics trending in your niche.
In the vidIQ 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 idea, input some keywords you might rank for in this tool. 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 may have an opportunity to compete with older videos on YouTube.
11. Experiment with YouTube Shorts
YouTube Shorts are for people watching brief YouTube on their phones. 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 channel, 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 generate more content 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 make a purchase through your affiliate link.
Then again, there's always the most prized monetization route, which is turning on ads. 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.
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 that the best YouTube gaming channels 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!)