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Image credit: Manuel Romano/NurPhoto via Getty Images

YouTube's Twitch-like subscriptions are available to any channel

If you're popular, you can make money from your live game streams.
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Manuel Romano/NurPhoto via Getty Images

YouTube just stepped up its efforts to compete with the likes of Twitch and Mixer. As of today, YouTube Gaming's sponsorships (read: paid subscriptions) are open to any eligible creator. So long as you run a gaming channel that's enabled for livestreaming, can earn money and has at least 1,000 free subscribers, you too can ask viewers to pay a monthly fee (now $5) that unlocks custom emotes, immunity to chat slow mode and participation in sponsor-only chats. Naturally, this also means hooking into the third-party tools that game streamers take for granted, such as StreamLabs (for notifying you when there's a new sponsor) or a sponsors-only Discord chat.

The video service is also testing sponsorships with a "handful" of non-gaming channels, such as DIY video blogger Lauren Fairweather.

It's no secret as to why YouTube is making this move -- it knows that it risks being left by the wayside as gamers flock to Twitch and Mixer, especially as they expand beyond gaming. However, this is also an admission that YouTube's years-long experiment with paid channels didn't, well, pay off. Less than 1 percent of YouTube creators are using it now, and it "never achieved popularity" with either channels or their viewers. Simply speaking, YouTube had to switch things up if it wanted to remain relevant in an era where viewers are as likely to tune into a live PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds match as they are a pre-recorded clip.

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