An open laptop with Twitch on the screen, displaying a selection of video games.

How to Create a Live Game Streaming Website and Get Revenue Out of It

BY AMANDA SMITH: This article looks into the development of live streaming technologies and how you can use video games streaming to make some good money. We will also inspect various technological feasibilities and answer the big question “how to make a streaming website in 2019 using different ways?”

Today live streaming is not just a way to watch real-time sports but has also opened up opportunities for a variety of different industries. From live soccer, live church sermons, live music concerts, to live political speeches, there is nothing live streaming solutions can’t cover.

Out of all these genres, live video games streaming is one of the newest channels in the market. The audience base is potentially as huge as the fan base of a particular video game. People who love playing these games also love watching live gameplay videos. It’s safe to believe that they don’t mind paying subscription charges to streaming platforms to watch their favorite streamers.

Is it possible to start your own game streaming website?

A few years back, video game streaming was an expensive luxury. Only the traditional broadcast networks could afford the cost of setup and streaming a massive e-sports event through a TV channel. Today, with the grown penetration of the internet, the delivery of the same coverage through OTT platforms has become more popular than the TV channels.

The equipment has become more affordable, the software solutions have also become more accessible, and the audience base for OTT streaming has grown. The affordable live streaming software in the market have made the whole setup affordable enough to start a business based upon it.

How live game streaming works?

When gameplay is captured using a capture card, the video file is dynamically compressed into several chunks of smaller data packets transmitted to the user’s device over the internet. Every data packet is routed individually before it finally reaches the buffer stream where it is merged with others to initiate the live stream playback. This process is repeated throughout the streaming session.

To mimic this whole process of live streaming, you will need to equip your game streaming site with the following components to build the site:

1.      Three essential APIs

These three components make the building blocks of a live streaming setup. Each component is offered by a dedicated provider through the corresponding APIs:

  1. Video encoder: it encodes the video file into data packets and pushes them to the stream.
    Example: Flash Media Live Encoder, Telestream Wirecast, etc.
  2. Media server: A dedicated server that manages the routing of the data packets into the stream. Example: Adobe Flash Media Server, Wowza Streaming Server, AWS Media Server
  3. A video player: software program with decoders to collect the packets from the buffer, merge them, and start a layback with playback controls. For example:
    • Players: Flash player, HTML5 player, JW player.
    • Video decoders: H.264, H.263
    • Audio decoders: AAC, MP3

Once you acquire the required APIs for the infrastructure, follow the below steps to know how to make a streaming site with all the components combined.

How to make a live game streaming site

Once, you have the essential APIs, the only task left is coding the user interface, user experience, and monetization components.

1.      Access control:

Design access control to limit the site access into different levels. For example, Super Admin will have all the access, sub-admin will have limited access to back-end, and viewers will have access according to the monetization model.

2.      Features and functionalities:

The next step is working on the features and functionalities. They depend on the UX and personalization of the website, particularly aligned with your business model. For example, if you choose the ad-based revenue, you need to give free access to the stream, just like YouTube live streaming. And if you wish to make it premium, a Twitch like subscription package would do the job.

Depending on the business model and competition research, your website can accommodate trending features like:

  • Live Chat
  • Live chat replay
  • Individual channels
  • Stream analytics
  • Report abuse
  • Paid chat (e.g Super chat on YouTube) etc.

3.      Additional APIs:

In addition to the essential APIs, you would need some more APIs to add value to your platform. For example, multiple payment gateways will give payment choices to your users. Email marketing API will help in marketing and sending essential communications. There are several other APIs you can use for an array of features like SMS, Push Notification, etc.

4.      CDN for upscaling and expansion:

Millions of users watch several games at a time. A regular web host is not designed to handle that kind of traffic and load. This is where you need CDN to scale your website for the masses. A CDN service will speed up the data transfer and prevent latency by fetching the data packets cached at the nearest node in the network.

In short, all giant streaming services use CDN services to offer seamless live streaming. You too need to integrate one for the same.

How much does it cost to build a live streaming site from scratch?

It’s a complex task. Even if you have all the skills, it will take ages to develop the whole suite by yourself. You would need to hire other experts who would help you in development. So the final cost of the development will include all the expenses required for-

  • Buying the APIs
  • Paying salary to the developers
  • Cost of hardware
  • Cost of location, and
  • Other miscellaneous expenses

The cost of salary for the developer itself will be high.  The salary, cost of resources, and every other expense will include the compensation for at least the team of 7-10 members:

  • Website developers
  • Android developers
  • iOS developers
  • Back-end developers
  • Front-end designers
  • QA engineers
  • Project Manager and
  • SEO experts

So the overall cost for the project, taking minimum compensation as $50/per hours, a live game streaming site would cost you around:

  • $80,000+ for website
  • $100,000+ for Mobile Apps

Is there a cheaper way to build a live streaming site?

The above is the minimum cost for development from scratch. It will only increase with further enhancements. Seems unpractical, right?  Sure it does.

That’s why I never recommend doing it from scratch. I prefer purchasing a readymade solution and then customizing it according to the requirements. For that, I would conduct detailed research and purchase a turnkey live streaming software nearest to my requirements. I would look for the following two aspects in a good turnkey live streaming suite for my project:

  • It should be “self-hosted” and “open-source” so that I can customize its code.
  • It should offer a complete suite of-
    • Website (Web RTC)
    • Mobile apps and
    • All the required APIs discussed above.

How to monetize your live streaming site?

Of course, you can’t run a live game streaming business without a monetization model. You need to equip your site with the revenue channels like subscription, pay-per-view, and embedded ads. It would take a lot of time to add the monetization channel if you are developing from scratch. However, the ready-made solutions I was talking about come inbuilt with these channels and you can start making money from the first day itself.

For example, the following are the steps any typical streaming solution will give to set up a live event with the pay-per-view revenue model:

1.      Create a new live stream event

Login to the streamer account and set up the stream event and capture from your broadcaster partner’s network.

2.      Set your ticket price

Set the access control by selecting the preferences like:

  • Privacy: Public or Private
  • Ticket price: Pay-per-view rate
  • Stream description: (Title, description, etc.)

3.      Sell the tickets and give access link

Once you set the stream, you can use public channels like social media and ticket booking sites, to promote your stream. You can generate and share a unique link with the ticket purchasers, which purchasers will visit to watch the stream on the scheduled time.

To conclude

Live games streaming is a profitable genre. Not just PPV; you can use various monetization channels to make money. If you can gain the rights to stream some popular e-sports events, it will not take time to stabilize your business. Even Twitch started by streaming e-sports events, and today it is the large video game streaming site.

Once, you are known to the masses, you would be joined by various gamers if your business model is lucrative for them. The technology is all managed by the affordable turnkey solutions, you just have to manage the business development part.

If you think you can do this, think no more and start streaming live games today, for yourself, to potentially make a huge return on your money.