Making Money the League of Legends Way

Dreamhack Festival 2011

The central floor at Dreamhack 2011

Written by: Nick Mingay

SACRAMENTO – E-sports has become a sensation and streaming online games such as League of Legends is a viable source of revenue for professional gamers.

The gaming community has exploded in the past decade with the introduction of MMORPG’s (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) and RTS (Real Time Strategy) games. It is not only playing the games that has infiltrated pop culture, but the streaming of live gameplay has become all the more prevalent. Players of games such as League of Legends, Starcraft II and Counter Strike sit in from of their computers or have parties not to play the game, but to watch it being streamed by professional players.

League of Legends seems to be the most commonly streamed game. It is not the most popular game in  big tournaments put on by Major League Gaming or the massively successful Dreamhack, but the fans of LOL, as it is known, is growing by the day.  Many of the professional League of Legends players stream for a majority of the day seven days a week. They play advertisements during downtime and make money depending on how many viewers they have at the time.

Streamers can get a free program to broadcast their games, Xsplit seems to be the most popular. From there, they need only to sign up with a streaming website, or are the two most commonly used. is by far the most popular streaming website for professional players. The site hosts the players streams and provides a platform for them to make money off the stream by playing the advertisements set up by Own3d.

Streamers are paid for how many viewers they have at the given time of advertisements. For every advertisement played per 1000 viewers, the streamer gets three dollars. This may not seem like a lot, but the most popular players have an average of 10,000 viewers watching while they are online. That means $30 for each ad played.

The ads are often played in sets of three, so for every three adds the streamer can make $90. They can play the ads as much as they like, but most play a set of three once every half hour or so.  Not a bad payout for playing a game you love.

The hardest part about streaming to make money is to capture your audience. Many of the professional players are known from international tournaments. Anyone just coming into a stream will have to grab the attention of viewers through wit, banter, well played games and a great music selection while they stream. The biggest key to keeping and growing an audience is keeping them entertained during downtime. This can be done with Youtube videos, discussion of the last game or game mechanics overall and have music running in the background.

Online streaming does not seem to be a consistent way to make money in the future because of the dynamic nature of competitive gaming, but for the professional League of Legends players it seems to be a great way to enjoy what you do for a living.


The Rising Popularity of E-Sports

Written by: Joe Sciabica

The Major League Gaming Pro Circuit Championship, held last month in Rhode Island, set new records for competitive gaming ratings. This new wave of professional sports is quickly gaining popularity, which some may not consider traditional competition. However, the numbers show that major league gaming, also known as E-sports, is reaching levels on par with conventional sports viewership. The Rhode Island tournament, one of six held every year by MLG, boasted impressive numbers compared to its previous events and mainstream television network ratings.

At one time the number of viewers reached 241,000. Matches during the event, mostly of games such as Starcraft II and Halo: Reach, were streamed by viewers in over 175 countries with average view time being longer than three hours. It is expected that viewership will continue to rise for these events in the coming years. This is a fair assessment to make considering there was a 225 percent increase of unique viewers to MLG events from 2010 to 2011.

It is becoming increasingly true that e-sports are becoming more legitimate, not only as skilled competition but also as a means to advertise toward difficult demographics. In males 18-24, MLG event ratings surpassed MTV, FX, Comedy Central and TBS. However, the United States still has a while to go before professional gamers reach a status like those of South Korea, considered the epitome of major league gaming. For South Koreans, professional gaming is the mainstream with two television networks dedicated to e-sports and an Air Force Starcraft II team. It is quite common there for the top players to be followed like rock stars.

What does this increasing popularity mean for the future? Several factors are likely to converge that will perpetuate the popularity of major league gaming. It is now possible these days to make a living as a gamer from endorsements and tournament winnings. Just this year there was 15 million dollars in prize money from major tournaments. This lifestyle may encourage more kids to seriously pursue this type of lifestyle and thus lead to more diversified and attractive matches.

Meanwhile, technology will continue to improve so that gaming will not only be more entertaining but reflect the skills of gamers more accurately. With rising ratings, advertisement and investment will increase. Right now the video game industry, at 60 billion dollars a year, is already larger than the film industry. Companies that already take part in funding tournaments include Intel, Dell, Samsung and Volkswagen.

The time may be soon when Starcraft II and Halo are household names and major matches are broadcasted in similar fashion to the Super Bowl.