How Long should I Stream For?


I’d only recently starting streaming my gaming sessions on PS4 when a question slipped into my mind: If my goal is to make money from streaming, how long should I actually be streaming for? Having surfed around the net for a few days, I realised there were no good answers to this question. So I thought I’d write this article to try and answer it for myself.

How long should I stream? If your goal is to make money, you should stream as long as you can as often as you can. However, regardless of the length of time you stream, you must also dedicate time to the business side of streaming.

If you’re anything like me – new to streaming – you’ll quickly realise that it takes massive dedication to turn your gaming hobby into a fully fledged career. Because, when it comes to streaming, it’s not all about playing games. So let’s take a look at how long you should be streaming games, and how else you should be spending your time.

How Long Should I Stream For?

One of the best ways to make a career as a gamer is to become a professional streamer.

There are a number of reasons that make streaming an enticing direction to take:

  • You can stream the games you love
  • Entry into streaming is easy as all you need is a console and an internet connection
  • Your personality is just as important as your skill
  • Unlike competitive pro gamers, you don’t have to be good, just entertaining
  • The potential to earn money runs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars per month

So, becoming a streamer has some huge benefits.

However, there is one huge downside:

You have to play games… a lot.

And when I say a lot, I mean a lot… Pro streamers regularly clock up 12 hours gaming a day. Everyday.

And that’s not even counting the time you need to spend growing your “business”. You have to market yourself, network with influencers and other gamers. You must build income streams, erect websites, be part of the community.

Every new streamer thinks it’s all about playing games. And that’s it.

But they couldn’t be more wrong.

There is so much more to Streaming than being sat there in front of your TV dressed in funny clothes, raking in the cash.

A lot more.

You have to be prepared to put in the work outside of the gaming. If you can do that, you are already closer to succeeding than 95% of all the gamers that’ll every try to make money from streaming.

So it’s not a question of how long should you stream each day? The simple answer to that would be stream as long as you can as often as you can.

The real question is: how much time should you stream while still trying to grow your streaming business?

And that’s not even taking into account everything else going on it your life!

You need to fit these 7 areas into your life somewhere:

  1. Streaming
  2. Streaming Business management
  3. Family/friends
  4. Your day Job.
  5. Sleep
  6. Food
  7. Down time.

Streaming games is about time management as well reflexes and hand eye coordination.

For example, say you spend 8 hours a day sleeping and 8 hours a day working. That leaves you with 8 hours for everything else.

Let’s say you burn 1 hour eating food, and 1 hour exercising. That leaves you with 6 hours.

Then you burn another hour with friends and family. And another hour for down time.

That leaves you with 4 hours a day to stream games and build your business.

Taking into account everything above I’d spend 3 hours streaming and 1 hour building my streaming business in a typical weekday.

And you can always do more on the weekend when you are not working.

How Should I Split My Time to Build My Streaming Career?

Let’s take a look at each one of those 7 areas in more detail in context to becoming a pro streamer.

Downtime: 1 Hour

Regardless of what you do in life you are going to need some down time.

That means getting away from the PC, forgetting about work and chilling out.

Whether that’s watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones, reading a good book, meditation or Yoga. You need time away from the PC. You need time to let the mind relax and let the body regenerate.

Otherwise you’ll burn out before you even begin.

Don’t sacrifice your downtime. It’s important.

Food: 1 Hour

Food is what fuels your body and mind. And if you are going to succeed at something as mentally stimulating as gaming, you are going to need to eat cleanly. Think of your mind like an athlete thinks of their body.

The gaming is your exercise. But to win, you also need the right food. Eat clean vitamin and mineral rich foods. Stay away from high fat, high carb foods. IE burgers.

Sleep: 8 hours

Most adults need at least 8 hours of sleep every single night. If you start sleeping less, you’ll eventually become over tired and sleep late, throwing your body clock out of sync.

Additionally, you’ll need those 8 hours of sleep for your mind to recover from each session of gaming. A 3 hour session is a marathon for your mind. So if you are to succeed as streamer you going to need enough rest.

Work: 8 hours

We all want out of the rat race. But until your streamer career takes off, you still need the day job to pay the bills.

Do not neglect it. Plan on staying in “that” job to pay your bills for at least the next 2 years.

Anybody else who tells you that you can start streaming today and earn a bucket load of cash in 30 days is lying to you. They are trying to sell you a get rich quick scheme.

Don’t fall for it.

Streaming can and will change your life. As long as you’re willing to work at hard and consistently. Think of a streaming business like a University degree. You are working hard today for a pay off in 3-4 years time.

Friends and Family: 1 hour (At least)

Humans are social creatures. We need people around us to survive. If we don’t have people in our lives or our relationships start to deteriorate, our mental health and wellbeing suffers.

That’s why it’s so important to make time for your friend’s and your family.

If you have a spouse and children be sure to spend time with them. Do not sacrifice your normal family activities. If you always watch movies together on Wednesday nights, don’t sacrifice it. Build your streaming empire around it.

If you have friends who are also gamers, ask them to join you in your game next time you stream. Or ask them to come around and join you on camera. You never know, you might discover that together you make a gaming duo that the masses can’t resist.

Regardless of who you spend your time with. Just be sure not to sacrifice it. If you do you’ll quickly find your life empty, and any success you have as a streamer will be meaningless.

So continue to nurture those relationships.

Streaming: 3 hours

Have you ever heard of content marketing?

Content marketing is the practice of putting media on the internet for a target market to absorb and make use off. Articles are content marketing. Youtube videos are too.

But what does the best content all have common:

  1. It’s high quality
  2. It’s high volume
  3. It’s consistently both the above

And your streaming should be the same.

Your streaming needs to be high quality. No static filled audio setups. No blurry video feeds.

If you are going to make streaming your profession you’ll need to act professionally. That means getting the right kit for pro presentation.

I’m not saying you have to buy thousands of dollars worth of kit immediately, or every for that matter. But you do need to aim, for quality.

You also need quantity. It’s not good enough to just slip out a high quality stream for 1 hour once a month. You’ll get nowhere.

You need to stream for a couple of hours every day.

Which brings me neatly onto my next point: consistency. You need quality and quantity consistently. It’s no good just streaming once a month, or having a quality 4k broadcast one day and blurry SD image the next.  

If you want to win fans, you need to produce consistent results.

Streaming business management: 1 hour

Think of this for a moment. Imagine I’ve buried a briefcase full of 1 billion dollars out my backyard. But I haven’t told anybody. Nobody showing up at my door asking to dig this briefcase up…

How can that be? I’ve giving away a billion dollars! Why is nobody here to dig it up?

The answer is simple:

I haven’t told anybody about it!

That’s what marketing is. It’s communicating your products existence and value to your target market.

If I told people I had a billion dollars buried out my back garden, I’d be inundated with people within the hour. And have thousands of people descend on my house within a day.

But if I don’t tell anybody, the briefcase sit’s unknown under the dirt.

It’s the same with your streaming business. You can produce an amazing streaming product that’ll make millions of people smile and laugh. But if nobody knows you exist, you’re never going to succeed.

So you need to dedicate time every single day, to tell people that:

  1. You exist
  2. You have massive entertainment value to give

Forgive my bluntness, but, if you don’t market yourself, you will fail.

So start reading up on influencer marketing. Nerd out on content marketing. Learn about PR.

Because if you do, if you marry an amazing streaming channel with solid marketing, you’ll be unstoppable.

Related Questions

What do I need to stream my games? If you have a console such as a PS4 or Xbox you can start streaming immediately.

What sort of PC do I need to stream? As long as you have PC with multi core CPU you should be able to start streaming immediately.

How do I make money from streaming? There are many ways to make money streaming games. Keep an eye out for a future ultimate guide that will explain everything to you.

Is streaming for extended lengths of time dangerous? Being sat stationary for too long can cause DVT in the short term and weight gain in the long term. But both can be remedied easily.

Nick Sinclair

Having played games since the golden age of the Commodore 64, Nick finally took the plunge and studied Creative Game Design in university. After 3 years of "Study", Nick co-founded a games company where he soon discovered his true calling: writing about games. 11 years later Nick writes about a tower of topics, but gaming is always stacked neatly at the top.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Posts