Making Money by Playing Games
written by Ragu
Modern distractions like the Internet, social media and video games are forms of entertainment that have caused trouble for everyone by wasting too much time. Be honest, have you ever kicked yourself because you thought you would only spend an hour at most playing a game, but it turned into six? We’ve all been there. What if those six hours turned out to be profitable or even made you a viral celebrity? Even then, what would you do with the money you made? That’s the life of 23-year-old John who was just having fun playing video games with his friends when opportunity struck. Known to his viewers as “Johnny Blud,” he has been live streaming various games and posting them on YouTube since late-2009. He began by watching other broadcasters on different websites and YouTube channels and decided to give it a try. Thanks to Internet forums, John found other people who had similar interests and wanted to start live streaming gameplay; the only thing they needed was a name. Seven years, 40 thousand subscribers and over thousands of dollars later, the Philadelphia-born gamer, along with his closest friends, make up the entire group known as “newLEGACYinc.” or “nL,” reaching the globe from the U.S. to Australia. They had made their mark in the gaming community.
In early 2010, Blud started to record video games he and his friends would play and post them to the popular website, YouTube. YouTube has been the humble beginning for a number of celebrities ranging from singers like Justin Bieber, to famous makeup artists like Michelle Phan. All of whom started out making videos hoping that views would launch them to stardom. But how do people make a living from posting videos online? YouTube has a partner program that pays each channel a small revenue each time someone watches by showing advertisements before or during a video. The more views a channel has, the more ad revenue they collect, gaining popularity. According to MonetizePros, over one million people are partnered with YouTube; and there are over one billion YouTube users, making the odds to Internet fame incredibly small.
As for Blud, he started to follow channels that showed gameplay of WWE video games on networks like Hitbox.tv. These networks allow their users to stream gameplay in real-time to fans. This new way of video streaming was a game-changer for newLEGACYinc. Once the team collaborated to produce their own live shows of the wrestling game genre, they started to notice an increase in their audience. “We would meet wrestling streams who were here before us,” John said, “and we ended up having more viewers than people I already watched. That’s when I knew we were getting recognized.” Although the group was gaining popularity fast, they didn’t seem to jump into partnering with YouTube and Hitbox. In fact, they became partners on accident. “I submitted to be a partner to get paid and thought it would be funny.” John said, “Then they accepted us, and it was like, whoa! Hold on!”
Numbers Don’t Lie
Needless to say, the money started rolling in for nL. Numbers began to grow and videos were being shared with almost every WWE fan, starting their path to video-game fame. “It really hits me when I’m recognized at wrestling shows in my town.” John said, “It’s always surreal.” According to their fans, the best part about nL is the comedic genius. Other gamers might show their skill or quietly play, but newLEGACYinc takes a different approach. One of the most-watched videos, “WWE '12 – Glitch of the Year,” is over 20 minutes of laughing at an error, or “glitch,” in the popular wrestling game, WWE ’12. Pure, genuine silliness in the group shows fans that they’re having fun, and they’re not afraid to be themselves. And many agree, that’s what makes nL so appealing, “Watching that live had me in absolute tears!” a young fan wrote; and they only get better.
Believe it or not, it may shock you what this group of millennial gamers do with the money they receive, setting them apart from every other gaming channel; Charity.
Unfortunately, the group had a friend pass away from cancer, leading to the idea of creating charity events. “I’ve always wanted to have charity marathons.” John said, “We started doing 24-hour gaming marathons to raise money for different charities … last year we donated $10 thousand dollars to Beyond Blue for depression and anxiety.” Not only do the viewers get to enjoy watching the hilarious broadcasts, but they also get to be a part giving back by donating. “I love all the awesome people,” Repa, a fan since 2012 wrote, “on top of being able to help raise over $10k for charity!”
Joey Basford, a fan of three years, admired nL for their efforts in fighting cancer, and for helping him too. “The 24-hour cancer stream was my favorite. I had lost my job, went into a deep depression and was facing hard times,” Basford wrote, “I stayed up all night watching, it lifted my spirits. I gained so much love and respect for the gang that night that I’ll never forget.”
Through social media, apps and more, nL connects with their fans on a deeper level than many other broadcasters. At face value, newLEGACYinc is another gaming channel that makes money from a normal hobby, but the fans know it has an important cause and outreach. In the end, this group of friends just want to make their fans happy, and that’s what makes them so successful. “From the beginning it’s been, this is what I do with my friends, and I just happen to record it.” John laughed, “That’s still what it is now, and I think that’s why people like us.”