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Really, make money playing video games?
Yep, I’m going to let you in on how to make money playing video games!
One of the greatest discoveries of the 2000s was a way to allow individuals to make money while playing video games. I’m sure Ninja didn’t see this coming!
Back then, video games were generally seen by parents as a distraction. In modern times, screaming, yelling and trash-talking are creative ways to make big money!
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How To Make Money Playing Video Games
With the rise of game-streaming platforms, it has never been easier to monetize your passion for gaming on Twitch and YouTube. Since most people enjoy watching actual video footage, this is the ideal environment for your Grand Theft Auto and League of Legends broadcasts to gain a following and make money.
Can you imagine that playing games can now be a way to pay your bills, debts, and summer vacations? It’s amazing to think how some pro gamers, like xQc and AuronPlay, rake in more than a million dollars a year.
This goes to show just how big the gaming industry has become. The esports audience is projected to grow to 577 million viewers by 2024.
The opportunities here are vast, especially when you factor in virtual reality games. You could offer to be a coach for newbies or you can create a blog specifically for the game you love playing! The opportunity is endless but below are the top 15 ways to get paid to play video games.
Can you get paid for playing video games?
You bet! Earning money playing games was an idea that seemed too good to be true years ago. To play video games and be paid to do so sounded foreign back then.
Aside from streaming games, gamers can monetize their passion by teaching gaming strategies to beginners. They can start a coaching service as a side hustle. Writing about new releases allows you to get paid too. You can create a website talking about new game drops, classic games, and the best games out in the market today. This one’s a great way to build an audience and attract sponsorships.
Talking about games with your friends can now be monetized as well through podcasting. You get to invite pro gamers, streamers, and game developers on your show and talk about the thing you love the most.
How Much Money Can You Make Playing Video Games?
The average annual salary of a video game streamer is around $54,000. That figure is bound to get higher as the industry becomes bigger throughout the years.
To give you some perspective, the video games industry right now is bigger than the movie industry and North American sports combined.
Luckily for you, there are companies and platforms that make you join this movement easily and make money from it. The cost of entry is low and almost anyone who loves video games can take part in this wave.
1. Be A Game Tester
Being a video game tester entails having a big influence on creating the greatest game possible. Without testers, games sold in public would have lots of bugs and disgruntled players.
Game testers can be thought of as part of the quality control team in game companies. You need to look for glitches in the gameplay like falling through maps, getting stuck in certain spots, and actions that crash games.
You could earn around $60,000 per year. Now if you’re wondering why they’re paid so high. Well, game testers are asked to play extensively for hours.
If you’re a gamer, playing for longer periods shouldn’t be a problem. However, finding bugs and glitches in a game is not an easy task to do. You would repeat levels and go through missions multiple times.
Ideally, to be a game tester, you need to have a degree in video game design or something close to it. But if you don’t have one, this shouldn’t stop you.
Websites like GamePressure post games that are open for beta testing. This is a good experience for you to know first-hand how to test games and write bug reports.
Game testing is also big on mobile games. To check if you can test these types of games, visit PlaytestCloud.
Pros: You’ll be improving players’ gaming experience.
Cons: It could be mentally dragging to test games on a daily basis.
2. Streaming On Twitch
Twitch has around 30 million unique viewers daily, making it one of the most popular gaming platforms today.
Personally, I have never seen a much more dedicated set of viewers than the ones on Twitch. They’re all out on supporting their favorite video game streamers.
Growing your audience on Twitch is much like growing an audience anywhere else. You need to be consistent with your content and provide value/entertainment to people.
Once you’ve grown your viewership, there are several ways to monetize your audience on the platform.
The first thing you need to achieve is to be a Twitch affiliate. When you’re part of the program, the most popular way to make money on Twitch would be through:
Subscriptions – Your viewers can subscribe to your channel. The subscription model comes in three tiers:
- Tier 1 ($4.99)
- Tier 2 ($9.99)
- Tier 3 ($24.99)
The difference among those Tiers is the emotes that subscribers can use. Emotes on Twitch are different moving stickers or emojis that they can use. Other benefits of higher tiers will depend on you. For example, you could give Tier 3 subscribers exclusive video content.
- Ads – These are common when watching on Twitch as well. This should however be the smallest part of a streamer’s payout.
- Gifted Subs – When your viewer subscribes to your channel, they get a 20% discount to gift a sub to others.
- Bits – These are bought on the platform and given to streamers to show support.
Twitch has been seen to be a great platform to build your brand online. As you build a following around your name, you can take them off Twitch by redirecting them to your merchandise shop, blog, or other channels.
Pros: Your gaming content is exposed to millions of daily visitors.
Cons: Twitch has a 70/30 revenue split for the first $100K earned via subscription revenue. Above that will be a 50/50 share split.
3. Start A Gaming Blog
Starting a gaming blog is one of the most fun things to do on this list. You can talk about what you love and share it with the gaming community!
You might think that there’s not much to talk about when it comes to games, but there are actually a lot of topics you could cover. Here are some ideas:
- Game-specific blogs – You create a blog that only talks about a particular game. For example, you create a Minecraft blog. All the content on this website will only be about Minecraft.
- Newest and upcoming games – You’ll be covering the latest games that are yet to be released to the public. Gameplay leaks and developer interviews will capture readers’ attention.
- Gaming history and facts – Gamers love this type of content. You write about stories and easter eggs on various games.
- News and hot topics – This is where you bring out the journalist sleeping inside of you. Hardcore gamers like to read what’s happening in the industry no matter what the topic is.
You need to be aware that your blog will take some time to gain a following. It won’t be simple, but you shouldn’t worry too much about the stats. The readers will follow if you concentrate on providing great material.
When I started my blog, I didn’t focus on numbers or rankings. Instead, I kept my focus on creating content that was interesting and helpful to my readers. As time went on, my blog began to gain traction and I started to get more visitors.
I also put a lot of work into building relationships with my readers. I replied to comments, asked for feedback, and was always open to suggestions. All of this helped to keep my readers engaged and loyal.
My site expanded over time, and I eventually started to earn money from it. In fact, my blog brought in more money than my day job, so I stopped working there and started blogging full-time. If you’re looking for a fun and rewarding hobby, then I can’t recommend starting a gaming blog enough
No matter which type of gaming blog you start, remember that the key is to stay focused and consistent. Update your blog regularly and keep your content interesting.
Join my free 7-Day email course where I’ll show you how to build up your blog step-by-step and start making money from it if you want to attempt this but are unsure of how it works.
Pros: You get to write about what you love while getting paid for it.
Cons: It will take persistence and hard work to build an audience and be an authority in this massive niche.
4. Start A Gaming YouTube Channel
Make a YouTube channel if you want to reach billions of consumers who are actively searching for gaming content. YouTube is currently the second most popular social media network behind Facebook.
What is YouTube’s best feature? Despite the low cost to start, the earnings potential is limitless.
If you’re starting out as a gaming content creator, YouTube should be one of your top choices. A budding YouTuber can make $15-$25 per 1,000 ad views. With a bigger audience, a single viral video can earn you $5,000 to $15,000.
Other forms of monetization would include affiliate marketing, brand partnerships, donations, and product sales.
As for the different content routes to take, here are some ideas:
Does teaching and seeing new players improve excite you? If yes, then your channel can be a tutorial and game-improvement channel for a specific game.
How about teaching gamers what path to take and items to buy to build the strongest stat combinations for your character? Then consider being the go-to guide for your game.
Do you like reviewing new games and sharing your opinion? You can do commentary content. Gamers love to hear what other players have to say before they purchase a video game.
It’s important to note that creating good content isn’t enough to build an audience on YouTube. There are a lot of ways to grow a channel but it’s best to stick with these four things:
- Focus on one game first. Do you like Final Fantasy? Play that first and be one of the go-to creators when gamers search for that game.
- Invest in gears. Don’t skimp on the tools. Buy high-quality microphones, cameras, and lighting. These are necessary to make your material visually and aurally appealing.
- Engage with your community. You can do this in the comment section or by posting on the Community tab of your channel. When you go live, you can also engage in conversation with your audience by reading conversations and giving shoutouts.
- Give back to your viewers. This is overlooked by small creators where all they do is take. Giving freebies, gift cards, or in-game items shows that you care for your audience.
Pros: It is a quick process to be able to monetize your channel. Some have done it in just a few months.
Cons: Strict community guidelines. YouTubers have received copyright strikes for no good reason.
5. Compete in Gaming Tournaments
Want to win six to seven figures by becoming a tournament champion?
In 2019, a Fortnite player was the solo winner of the $3,000,000 prize after becoming champion of the biggest event of the game.
Playing competitively requires skills to go head-to-head with the best players worldwide. You know you’re an above-average player when your rank placements in games are high. Another good sign is you’re in the same lobbies as pro players in the game and your skills are on par with them.
If you find yourself in those situations, then try your hand at competitive scenes.
There are small online tournaments that you can join. If the game you like is for individual play, then you could sign up immediately as long as you meet the requirements.
But if it’s a team game, you need to find teammates who are at the same skill level as you or even better.
Online gaming tournaments have proven to be worth the time for gamers. Some have even retired after winning a global competition because the amount they won is already big enough to carry them until they’re old!
The first-place prize money in significant tournaments for well-known games frequently exceeds $1 million. Dota 2’s international event was more than $8,400,000 and the League of Legends world champions received $2,230,000.
Pros: Winning big competitions is a sure way to make a name for yourself.
Cons: The money isn’t consistent. You’ll need to do streaming as well to have another source of income.
6. Game Review Writer
Engaging and creative writers will always have a place online. No matter what you write about, as long as your writing creates interest and grabs attention, you can earn money by becoming a game writer.
You don’t need to write like Shakespeare or have the talents of J.K. Rowling, all you need is to be true to your voice and write clearly.
As a game review writer, a lot of people will be reading your opinions. Your words can be influential in this niche – it can make a potential gamer want to buy a video game or pass on it.
If you want to write for an existing website, make sure you have some sample writing ready. Those samples will come with your applications. In most cases, you will get paid per article. There’s a good chance the pay won’t be that high but it’s a great way to build your portfolio.
The other choice you have is the personal blogging option. Having ownership of your content is the most profitable thing to make. So creating your own blog is the best decision – you’d get more money monetizing your traffic with ads and getting sponsors.
Take note, that it will take some time to get traction on your website. When I started this blog, it was a ghost town. No readers and engagement. But with enough persistence, I started seeing some blog metrics go up.
If you’re wondering whether it’s worth it to be a game review writer, the average writer in this field earns $60,000 per year.
When you’ve built your own platform to publish your work, remember to just be true to your voice.
If you don’t like a game, then explain the parts that you don’t find interesting. If you love it, write down which aspect of it made you happy while playing.
Being frank and impartial are crucial while reviewing video games. There’s no room for bias because readers are quick to call you out on any inauthentic descriptions you write.
Pros: You can be an authority in the gaming niche and use your words to sway players’ choices.
Cons: It’s going to take years of consistency and hard work for your voice to be heard in this industry.
7. Offer Game Coaching Services To Newbies
Profit off your insider strategies!
I’ve always advocated coaching as a successful side hustle. Many people are willing to spend handsome sums of money to study your abilities and gain from your knowledge. What makes playing video games any different than paying to attend college and receive accredited training?
An interesting approach to making money in this market is to offer gaming coaching services. You would be instructing a group of students on what to do during gameplay, directing players while sharing their screen, or reviewing VODs.
Game Coaching is a category on Fiverr, a worldwide marketplace for independent contractors. There, you may look through independent game instructors for various video games.
Another platform is Gamer Sensei. They’re a bit strict with who can post on the website but it is there to help maintain the high-quality service on the platform. Coaches that get accepted will have discounts on brands like Corsair.
The most obvious prerequisite to being a coach is above-average skills. You should be high-ranking in games or have been playing for years.
Along with having gaming experience, you should be able to communicate fluently. Your tactics and pointers should be clear to your students.
You can also coach professional players. You’d be part of team organizations where there’s higher pay and a lot more benefits.
Pros: Getting results as a coach can lead to other gaming opportunities like becoming a manager or a gaming analyst.
Cons: You’d have to find ways to separate yourself from other coaches because everyone is providing the same service.
8. Hosting A Gaming Podcast
When you talk about different video games with your friends, time just passes by so quickly. Have you considered starting a game podcast to monetize such discussions?
This niche is a massive industry that is worth more than $2 billion. It is never too late to start and get in on the action.
There are no strict guidelines on what content to make. Almost anything creative you can think of is worth trying. Here are some content ideas:
- Game review
- Industry news
- Audience Q&A
- Roundtable discussion
- Live commentary on tournaments
- Interview pro-gamers, game developers, and creators
Businesses are jumping into this space to get ad placement from established podcasts to up-and-coming shows. In fact, U.S. podcasting revenues are expected to pass $4.2 billion in 2024!
There is a hundred gaming podcast shows today. It’s time for you to join the bandwagon. Below are some of the biggest ones today:
- Game Scoop!
- Giant Bombcast
- What’s Good Games
- Axe of the Blood God
When watching or listening to these podcasts, be observant of the show’s structure, its topics, and their sponsors. You can gain valuable insights from their success.
A strategy to do is to video record your podcast episodes. Create a YouTube channel and use the platform to post the video clips.
This will help you expand both your YouTube and your podcast presence. With this approach, you’re hitting two birds with one stone.
Pros: Your audience can listen to your content while doing other things like driving, working out, commuting to work, and others.
Cons: There will be a learning curve in the post-production process when you’re not familiar with editing and adjusting audio.
9. Crypto Gaming
In 2022, the phrase “Metaverse” gained a lot of attention as big companies like Facebook, Nike, Disney, and Google have moved to take part in this Web 3 revolution. People in the crypto community have been wondering how to onboard the general public.
Most crypto-enthusiasts believe that gaming will be the best way to introduce people to the Metaverse. In fact, the rise of Play To Earn is what made some people look into what cryptocurrency is.
Play to earn is simply what its name states – you play to earn cryptocurrency. These are apps that pay you to play games.
The crypto game, Axie Infinity, is a pioneer in the crypto gaming space. It became popular in the Philippines where people were making more money in the game than the minimum wage in the country.
It’s best to keep your eyes on this space since cryptocurrency can be the next big thing after the internet. It can make you money when you’re able to act first.
Pros: First mover advantage is still present in this industry.
Cons: The risk of it failing is still high given it’s still new to the public.
10. Game Developer
Wouldn’t it be a dream job to develop games for a living? Out of all the points on this list, being a game developer requires the most skill and knowledge.
No prior knowledge of writing codes? There are online classes from Udemy that teaches you the basics of game development.
Creating more complex games requires a deeper knowledge of programming languages. Codes are the building blocks of games. It’s what makes characters move and enemies fire at you. Simply put, code is what brings life to the game.
As a game developer, you take ideas and concepts and turn those into codes and you let the code do its magic in the game.
To start and practice your coding skills, you can create simple games on your own. When everything becomes easy, level up and learn how to program more complex types of games. This can help in building your portfolio as you apply for different employers.
Pros: Competitive salary. With talent and skill, getting into big gaming companies is doable.
Cons: Late nights are common in this job, especially during new game releases.
11. Flipping Retro Games And Consoles
Remember your old games and consoles that are just lying around at home? I suggest that you sell them to make quick cash.
The fact that you haven’t powered on your old friends like Xbox, Playstation, and other PC games for a while means that there’s a good chance you won’t touch them again. So rather than those things collecting dust, it’s time to turn them into shiny coins.
Flipping is really a good way to quickly make money today. I’ve flipped my designer handbags before to make $1,000 in cash for the week. The money I’ve made from doing this alone as a weekend job is well over $5,000 if I consider the other stuff (such as shoes, clothes, and furniture) I’ve sold in the past.
You can sell your video games, old consoles, controllers, and other items on platforms like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and Reddit (r/GameSale).
Pros: Old and unused items can be cashed in when you need money quickly.
Cons: It won’t be worth that much if those items have scratches or have been heavily used.
12. Voice Acting For Video Games
“I’m No Hero. Never Was, Never Will Be.”
This famous line from Metal Gear Solid comes from the voice actor of Solid Snake, David Hayter. His voice will live for generations and that’s the kind of impact voice-over actors have.
Wouldn’t it be dope to be a voice actor in a game? Not only will you hear your voice when you play the game but also millions of other gamers too!
You can just do your regular video game stream and a gaming company might offer you a role in their game or in a TV/movie show. This is what happened to Twitch Streamer, Valkyrae – she got offered to do voice acting on a popular Netflix show.
Voice acting goes beyond just talking to a mic. There’s actual training and practice that goes into this field. Here are two things you can do to be better prepared:
- Watch video game playthroughs – Aside from the storyline, gamers are hooked by the tones, accents, and intonations of video game characters. To practice, watch playthroughs, and be extra observant on how characters speak when they walk, run, get punched, when they attack, etc.
- Record yourself – Record yourself as you read scripts in the game. Be strict with yourself and check what sounds good, what doesn’t, and what needs improving.
Pros: Your voice forever lives on in the game once published.
Cons: It’s hard to find a voice-acting gig when starting out.
13. Create and Sell Game Mods
Game modding is like players adding their own preferences and style to the game. It’s an alteration by players to a video game. These alterations could be changing the look of a character, their movement, how the in-game environment looks, and many more.
The world of game modding runs deep and is seen as a way for gaming companies to increase their revenue with their games.
Since gamers put their creative minds to work in modding, it makes it interesting for other players to revisit their games again. They want to play the game but with a completely different twist.
To get paid to mod a game, you’d have to team up with other modders and pitch an idea to a game studio. If they like your ideas, they’ll hire your team to make the mod under their name.
Other ways to make money would be through Patreon. It’s a platform where creators can get tipped by gamers and community members. It’s how other video game streamers make money as well.
Pros: You’ll enhance the gaming experience by making it more fun and interesting.
Cons: Constant fixing of bugs and updates can be time consuming.
14. Sell Game Accounts And Characters
Is it possible to grind an account and sell it when it reaches a higher rank? Definitely.
Leveling up is part of any game, but there are gamers who don’t want to go through the struggle of early-level difficulties. It takes hours to level up since all your stats are low.
Beginner accounts don’t have items to make leveling faster so to skip all of this, some players will buy an established account that’s higher ranked with all the rare items.
This style of making money has been around since the early days of role-playing games (RPG). And it’s more rampant in today’s gaming scene whether it’s RPG or first-person shooting games. Gold farming is another practice where gamers farm for gold and sell it to other players for real money.
You can start selling accounts on different social media groups and forums. Be specific and descriptive when selling. List down the rank or level of the character, the different items the account has, the rarities of those items, and others.
Pros: It’s a way of getting rewarded for your gaming play and experience.
Cons: Selling game accounts can be restricted in some games.
15. Be A Game Administrator
Want to take a higher role in games you love? Try being an admin!
The roles of administrators can be both in-game or on-stage.
An on-stage example would be when a live tournament is happening and the mouse of the player suddenly stops working. As an administrator, you should know the tournament’s rulebook. It is your duty to know what’s the right call to make everything fair for both sides.
For in-game admin roles, you’re on the lookout if every player in the server is abiding by the rules. You can help out players who have issues and problems in the game.
Doing this alone is an impossible feat especially if it’s a game or server with thousands to millions of players in it. Take Roblox for example. It’s estimated that the game has more than 58 million daily active users which is why it has 1,868 known admins.
A massive game like Roblox needs multiple in-game admins. And these admins have a certain distinction from others so regular players can quickly identify them in the game.
Pros: You get to call the shots and be the go-to person whether in in-game or on-stage situations.
Cons: It’s an important role to fill. A deep knowledge of game rules is needed.
Can I make money by playing games on my phone?
Yes, you can totally make some cash playing games on your phone.
Some apps, like Mistplay and Swagbucks, actually pay you just to play games. If you’re really good, you can join game tournaments and win prizes.
Companies also pay people to test out new games and give feedback. In some games, you can earn virtual money and trade it for real cash. Plus, if you like sharing and talking about your gameplay, you can make videos or live streams.
How can I become a game tester?
Becoming a game tester is an exciting way to merge your passion with your profession. While having an educational background in game development can be a plus, it’s not always a must-have.
You can start off by participating in public beta tests where developers seek feedback for their games. From there, look for game developers or specialized testing companies that are hiring, like Electronic Arts or Ubisoft.
When you’re ready to apply, make sure your resume shines by emphasizing your gaming experiences and any relevant skills.
Gaming is an ever-evolving field, so it’s important to stay updated with the latest trends and mechanics. Not only that but engaging with other enthusiasts on online forums or platforms like LinkedIn can deepen your knowledge. It can also provide networking opportunities that might lead to more job prospects in the gaming industry.
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