This is the ultimate question every passionate gamer wants to find out; ‘How do I make money playing video games’?
I’m sure I’ve asked it before, but never quite knew the best option to take.
For some lucky players who had the right guidance from the start – their dream manages to become a reality, and the easy path to living a fulfilled life presents itself.
You might have been told to go and do something useful with your time, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do something completely different..
The video game industry is booming! And as new technology expands; so will video content, virtual reality products, special events and even competetive tournaments.
All of which require YOU to make them happen.. So we hope you get some great ideas from this post!
10 ways to make money playing video games
1. Streaming on Twitch
Twitch is a massively popular live streaming video platform, where by viewers or guests logged into the audience can choose to watch you broadcast your favourite games, creative content and more.
If you have the knack for entertaining, or happen to have an energetic, quirky personality, then there’s a good chance that people will find you interesting and subscribe to watch you play.
Typically you can made about $5.00 for each subscriber you manage to accumulate on Twitch, with the platform taking on average a 50/50 split. If you manage to scale up your viewership and become a top tier partner this can change in your favour to $3.50 per subscriber, being a 70/30 split.
There are many other ways you can generate a sizeable income on Twitch if you manage to gain a substantial following;
Sponsorship deals can result in brands paying you to promote their products. This could be; live on your channel, making a separate video, posting a tweet, an Instagram post, or by attending a special event. They do this in the hope that they will get more sales back for what they have invested in you.
Twitch partners have the opportunity to run ads on their streams between live commercials in which ad-revenue can be created by each viewer click.
Affiliate products can be promoted through your own links similar to sponsorship deals. You might want to give information about your equipment on your home page, and leave links to where your viewers can buy them.
Donations can also be one of the biggest ways a streamer an generate wealth on Twitch. Some viewers have been known to donate thousands or even tens of thousands of pounds within a single transaction.
You can make, sell and promote your own merchandise similar to as you would with other peoples products. This could be in the form of simple items that you can create online items such as clothing, mouse mats , posters, mugs, etc.
Twitch tournaments happen on a regular basis, and are renowned for paying out a substantial amount of prize money for those qualifying into the final rounds. We cover this more in the article.
How much money you make from playing video games on Twitch will depend entirely upon the amount of viewers that you manage to accumulate on a regular basis. While this might be quite a challenge if you’re not already there, it can be well worth it if you do decide to put in the effort.
If you would like to find out how to make money by playing in esports tournaments online then click here!
2. Make a YouTube Gaming channel
YouTube is another massively popular video-sharing website in which users can upload, view, rate, comment or subscribe to other peoples videos. You may think of YouTube as being predominantly useful for music videos, but more recently gaming clips have taken the platform by storm.
The fortune of how to earn money playing video games using YouTube has been known for some time now, having the potential of running ads, and getting a large pay out if your channel goes mainstream.
Ads are generated similarly to Twitch, before or during any videos watched. YouTube’s CPM (cost per 1000 impressions) is reported to be on average 7.6$, meaning you should get paid 7.6$ for every 1,000 combined views of your videos.
If you’re not sure how to make a dedicated Youtube channel, check our our post here.
What to upload?
You could either upload random scenarios recorded from your own game time, or other peoples clips if you regularly watch other peoples streams. Simply find the most entertaining segments, then upload those clips to your own gaming channel.
One way you can make it popular, is by taking advantage of the release of a particular video game that has been marketed very well (previously such as Fortnite or Clash of Clans). You can then capitalize on this by trawling through Twitch steams to record the best clips. Once you have found them, you can them proceed to upload the segments to your own YouTube channel, share to others, and hope they go viral!
There are many other avenues for success to make money playing, by combining YouTube with your passion of video games, and creativity. Some gamers dedicate their channel entirely to walkthroughs if you want to go down the route of helping people.
Others host chat shows on specific issues within the community, or some people just like to try and challenge a game from a ridiculous angle. Eg. Completing Pokémon with just a Ditto!
3. E-sports/ Tournament gaming
‘E-sports’ is the competition of video games between teams or individuals, and is presently regarded as one of the best ways a person could earn a living, due to the sheer amount of money produced by the industry.
E-sports competitions have seen a massive surge in growth in more recent years, with an increased number of professional gamers, and spectators able to attend the events through the means of live streaming.
If you think you have the skills, or consider yourself as one of the best at a particular game in your local area, then maybe you should dive right in and test your worth.
It’s been estimated that the value of the global ‘e-sports economy’ for 2018 was over $900m, with the average salary of a pro gamer ranging anywhere from $65,000 to $75,000, plus extra bonuses. Of course, this can vary greatly from player to player, but typically most professional gamers will make in the region of $1000 – $15,000 per month from prizes.
Source – info.jkcp.com
Ways to join tournaments:
Compete in LAN Tournaments:
If you regularly go to gaming cafes in your local area, then you would know that most of them host their own (Face-To-Face) tournaments, offering a certain amount of prize money. If you’ve never been to one before, just head over to one and ask..
Getting familiar with your local internet cafe can be a great first step to take, as you will no doubt meet lots of like-minded people who are all very competitive. Participating in the kinds of tournaments will help you to ‘feel’ the atmosphere of that of a pro-gamer, and hopefully even for winning!
Participate in Online Tournaments:
Signing up for tournaments online is another excellent way to get you earning money from the go. They will also help you to raise your ‘online’ recognition if you happen to win, which could result in more followers on other platforms such as Twitch, or YouTube.
E-sports tournaments come in many different sizes depending on their frequency, and the amount of money or advertising involved. The biggest tournaments are often hosted by the companies that develop the games themselves, or the sponsors of these games. e.g. Epic games will host the yearly ‘Fortnite World Cup’ event and ‘Fortnite Secret Skirmish’. The ‘HALO World Championship’ is hosted by Microsoft. etc.
You may not be ready for those events just yet, but there are lots of smaller online tournaments happening almost daily that you could participate in first.
You can find our full post on ‘online esports tournament platforms’ to compete for prize money here!
If you happen to be a Twitch partner or an affiliate streamer, then you can face-off and showcase your talents in the ‘TwitchRivals’ live streamer competitions;
‘Twitch Rivals is a series of competitive events designed from the ground up for Twitch streamers and viewers. 2019 will include over 100 event days featuring new formats, games, interactive extensions, and millions of dollars in prize money.’Twitch Rivals
Twitch events are well organised, happen frequently and are set up to give you a clear overview of the competition and the prize money involved.
Join a Gaming League
Not only do you have to fight for survival on your own, but you can also choose to join a team, and enter a gaming League. This could either be part of a LAN tournament, or an online one. To do this you can follow the steps for the two sections above.
The only real difference is that you will be playing matches in a team, and over a longer period of time, more like a seasonal competition. Progressing in a league can often lead to a tournament or even to a world championship, e.g. the ‘Call of Duty World League’ or the ’Overwatch League’ organised by Blizzard Entertainment.
Click here for more info on becoming a pro gamer.
4. Make Walkthroughs
Creating walkthroughs, (or strategy guides) can be a brilliant way to generate some extra money by playing video games. If you’ve managed to hone down your gaming skills, and find yourself regularly completing new releases within a short period of time, then this might be the best way for you.
Having an in-depth knowledge of current games wouldn’t hurt either, as you might find yourself writing about extensions, or updates on popular titles, as new information is added.
There are a few different ways you can go about getting paid for your work which fall into the categories of; selling your work (as a freelancer) for a flat fee, or publishing it yourself. Here we will look at both options..
Working as a freelancer
One way to get paid for writing walkthroughs is by approaching websites, or channels that offer them. You can so this by simply searching for gaming walkthroughs on google such as ‘Killerguides’ and looking at the ‘contact’ or ‘about us’ pages.
On many of these websites there is often a link to a further page promoting that they are looking for authors and what it takes to be a part of their team, a bit like a job description. Making video game walkthroughs can take a lot of time! Which is why they are always scouting for more, and the best employees.
You should also frequently scan through the gaming forums or sub-contracting websites such as ‘indeed’, as this is where many of these websites advertise for writers.
Another way, and probably the better in the long term, is by self-publishing them. Why work for somebody else when you could just upload it on your own and reap the rewards yourself?
If you have made a written walkthrough then you could either sell it independently, as an e-book, for approx. $15 on Amazon, or create your own platform to post it on.
Making your own website will take a great deal of time to be anywhere close to generating a sizeable amount of advertisement income, so you would have to be in it for the long term.
If you are considering making ‘video walkthroughs’ then you can easily upload them to your own YouTube channel.
Video walkthroughs have become increasingly popular these days, and if you put in the effort to create quality content, then they are likely to gain viral attention at a much faster rate.
People prefer to watch videos, and the platform is very easy to get set up on, so this is probably the best way to go!
5. Games Journalism
Video game journalism involves reporting on and discussing new video games, typically in the form of writing news articles, interviews or reviews for a specific game, genre or company. If you’re a player who enjoys an in-depth analyses of games, and often likes to converse with others, then trying to get a foot in the door within this industry just might be perfect for you.
Similarly to making walkthroughs there are a view different ways you could go about getting paid for this kind of work; you could either sell your content as a freelancer, work towards getting a journalism possession at a company, or chose to publish it yourself.
You will also have to decide if you want to write articles, or make videos as a Podcaster. So many choices..
Working as a freelance writer
If you have chosen the writing path, then you will want to begin by showing of your writing talents through the means of blogs, or magazines to help get your voice heard. Writing articles for blogs, such as reviews, or reports will help you to build up upon your portfolio of work.
If an editor likes what you’re doing, this could eventually lead to your first freelance assignment for a company. It’s worth noting that freelance work is very low paid and you will be most likely be working for pennies, the gaming industry is very competitive even with the majority of writers having a high level of education.
Being employed as games journalist
The pool of games-specific journalists has been shrinking dramatically over the past few years. This is because press outlets have been finding it much more difficult to sustain the level of advertising it takes to pay full-time staff. However, if you have been freelancing closely with a company for some time, and a position ever opens up, you would have a good advantage to get that position over the other candidates.
Obviously, this would be an amazing job, where you would get to play and review pre-releases, as well as get paid to attend events such as e-sports tournaments!
Publishing your own work
You could also choose to publish your own work. As mentioned in the last section, you could go about doing this by starting your own blog; including tips, tricks, gameplay and reviews, or podcasting your work on a YouTube channel.
To maintain a blog, you will need to be very consistent in publishing high quality content so that you can gain lot of visitors and stand a chance of earning an income from it.
Making a YouTube channel is probably the best and easiest way to start for any independent gaming enthusiast, where by you could choose to hype up new releases, review your favourite games, compare games or generally talk about anything you want. ‘PewDiePie’ managed to get so famous for making comedy videos, most of which consisting of him just playing video games in the horror genre!
6. Create your own gaming website
This notion could be considered quite broad, and might overlap a few of the other things we’ve mentioned in this article (Games journalism, Walkthroughs, YouTube/ Twitch), but it is another fantastic option to earn money while playing video games. The idea is to create a niche gaming website based upon your favourite game, or genre of similar games (such as a Wiki).
You’ve probably been on these websites before (when probing for the games best kept secrets), that focus on just about everything within one game. They work so well because of the sheer amount of information they contain, which is greater than anything else you can find on the internet. Basically they’re just like a big database.
In some cases “Wiki’s” can work better with RPG games, as the game might have more depth to it, but this doesn’t have to always be the case.
What to include when making a ‘Video Game Wiki’
- Character races/ Classes
- Character skills
- Info on items/ Weapons
- Locations/ Maps
- Guides and tips, etc.
The list is virtually endless. It’s sure to keep you busy until the next release becomes available anyway. There will always been new games that need such site’s created for them.
As this idea in centralized around one topic, you could also turn it into more if a community site by adding a forum. Here players could ask and answer their own questions to expand upon the knowledge you have already included. It will also give them a reason to keep coming back to your site!
Linking to other platforms
If you have plans to start a YouTube gaming channel, then the possibility is there to embed your own walkthrough videos onto this site, helping you build up your subscriber count as the website grows.
Similarly with Twitch. The site would also give you the opportunity to promote your live sessions on there, raising your popularity and subscriber count in no time!
You could also use it to sell personalized products using affiliate links, or even by designing your own. This could include posters, T-shirts, or anything else you could think of!
Some examples of popular Wiki’s we found are for; ‘Final Fantasy XIV’, ‘Divinity’, ‘Runescape’.
7. Trading virtual goods
Just as there’s a marketplace for selling goods and services in real-life, there happens to be one online too. It is however largely prohibited by most developers for upsetting the in game economy, as well as reducing their overall profits, but does happen at an alarming rate. So, too bad for them, and it has to be included in our list.
If you have an abundance of extra time, or feel as if you have a cutting edge, in-game service that you could capitalise on, then being smart about it in the virtual world could be one big step towards making a small fortune of money by playing video games.
Gold farming is the means of acquiring a substantial amount of in-game currency, and later selling it for real-world money. This is what most people come to think of when trading virtual goods online, and it’s also the primary way people all over the world go about doing it.
In some developing countries, ‘in game’ currencies have been known to be worth even more than their national currencies! You don’t need me to tell you how to make gold on your favourite game, find the best strategy and implement it!
Power Levelling & Boosting
You could also offer your skill, and expertise in the game. This could involve logging in to another players account to help them overcome any difficulties they might be currently facing.
Perhaps they’re stuck on a troublesome one-player quest/ mini-quest, that they just can’t seem to bypass on their own. Or maybe they just don’t have the time to spend all day grinding or farming out levels due to work, but still want to progress and play the fun parts of the game on the weekend.
Time is money, and if some people don’t have the time, then they might have the money instead.
Selling game accounts
Flipping game accounts is also another option a player could choose to take. This could be as a business model, or for when you’re finally done with a game. If have invested a huge chunk of time and energy into your account, then it’s probably going to be worth a fair bit of money to somebody else.
I managed to sell an account for over $150 before which feels great, and can help secure some much needed closure ready for you to move on the next challenge! In some games, lower level ‘pure’ accounts with high stats are also highly prized. Similar to farming gold, churning out these account with the means to sell, might just be worth your while.
To access this online marketplace you can visit sites such as G2G.
8. Games with cash prizes
Players can also make money by taking on the challenges of online virtual worlds, phone apps, or casino games. There are lots of money making apps to be found, with methods to earn prizes by playing online games. Some even allow you to compete at skill based games against each other.
These games might be slightly less conventional to the standard video game, and may have more of a dubious reputation, but there is the chance of finding a legit platform every once in a while that happens to be worth your time.
How much you make on apps can vary greatly depending on their pay structure, which may be converted into points or gift cards first. Others might choose to pay via PayPal or Bitcoin.
Here are a few of such platforms;
‘Second Life’ is a free 3D virtual world where users can create, connect, and chat with others from around the world using voice and text. For those that don’t know, the game is quite similar to ‘The Sims’ but has an in-game currency, “Linden Dollars” (L$), that can be officially exchanged for real money.
There are many different ways you can make money on second life..
You can either:
- Become a Merchant – Creating and selling virtual items in their global marketplace.
- Become a Landlord – Renting virtual lands to tenants
- Create experiences – Create and monetize your own immersive games, music venues, and clubs.
- Get a job and Side Gig – Working full or part-time for an in-world business.
‘Mobile Premier League’ (MPL) is a skill based E-Sports platform, where users get to participate in a range of games, and compete against over tens of thousands of players in tournaments. MPL features games such as; Temple Run, Fruit Ninja, Cricket, Bubble Shooter, Monster Truck, etc.
‘EazeGames’ is one of Europe’s first competitive gaming platforms where players can play skill-based game tournaments with real money. Games you can play include; Free kick shooter, Helix glass tower, Bowling champion, Archery world tour, Stack tower classic and many more.
To find out about more similar apps/ sites where you can make real money just by playing games then click on our post here
9. Become a QA Beta Tester
‘Games Testing‘ or ‘software QA (quality control)’, refers to the discovery and documentation of software bugs in pre-released games. Although this might sound like a dream job to most, it’s been well reported by ex-employees that this is in fact one of the most tedious and arduous ways that you could ever be involved with a game. However, it is still considered playing video games, and you do get paid money, so we thought we’d better add it anyway.
What does a games tester do?
Unfortunately, being a games tester is not about getting high scores, or even having one final play through of the whole game to make sure there aren’t problems. Instead, it’s more about doing things that are stupid or repetitive, until your eyes are hanging out their sockets, and your dribbling out of your mouth.
The idea is that you’re trying to find different ways to break the game, rather than play it in an exciting way, that you’re so used too. This could involve; running into walls (to make sure they’re actually there), spending weeks meticulously repeating the same set of instructions over and over, or continuously working up to the same point in the game just for it to crash on you. Of course, all this, while entering the outputs and variables into a spreadsheet. ‘Yawn’.
How can you get employed?
If you have an eye for corrections and this industry still sounds appealing to you, then there are two primary ways you could get employed, either by;
- Getting a full time ‘face to face’ position with a company (such as Nintendo) or
- Finding a remote position (online), testing beta apps.
It’s regarded very rare that you will be able to find a full time remote position.
Face to face
Professional QA testers work roughly 8-10 hours a day, averaging 50+ hours a week. However, during ‘crunch time’; when everyone is expected to work crazy hours in order to meet a particular deadline, this number can be dramatically more. Being a games tester is considered fairly unskilled, so the pay is quite low. The median pay for this field of work is around $14.00 per hour.
One website you can use to find ‘QA jobs’ advertised is on Volt. I found a few jobs advertised while writing this, so I know it’s a good source and frequently updated. All information such as the job description and responsibilities are included. Upwork also had a handful of positions advertised.
Another way to find QA jobs is by searching for the video game companies that publish the games themselves. Nintendo is an example of such a company that regularly advertises for positions through their subcontractors.
We found quite a few websites online offering remote positions where you can test and play beta apps. However, it’s worth noting that the work is much more ‘patchy’, meaning you will probably only have the chance to test a handful of games each month. This could still be a great side income though if you manage to combine a few of these sites together.
The majority of these ‘testing platforms’ work by requiring you to sign up with your email. You will then get sent the links to play the games when they’re ready for testing. All you have to do is ‘think out loud’ when you play them, and the app will record everything you say. You might have to complete a short survey after, and then you’re done, easy.
Being a play-tester is not about being an expert. In most cases game developers are looking for a variety of people to give feedback on their games, so anyone is free to join! Generally, a 15 minute test and survey will have a reward of $10 but this will vary for each website.
The platforms we found that offer these services are Playtestcloud/ Usertesting/ Betatesting, etc.
10. Join the Gaming industry
In addition to the career of a pro gamer, there are plenty of other departments within the gaming or e-sports industries that you might wish to pursue. This could be involved with the development of games or even possibly as a gaming marketer.
Like many careers, involving constantly-evolving knowledge and technology, there will always be new opportunities. So whether you’re a young adult, or not, here are some other ideas that you can use to help you move towards the right direction.
Customer Support Agent
Anyone with a real passion for video games would love this job. There’s no doubt that you would be able to watch, or play video games at some point in your day too. Ideally you must have excellent customer service skills for communicating by e-mails, phone calls and web chat. You would likely get to work in a fantastic atmosphere built up by real video games fans.
Click here to see more
Social media manager
Social media managers are responsible for managing the brands social media platforms, and online interactions with fans. Your work could include; having to create compelling content to drive platform awareness, or for games on their store, promote new releases, advocate public decisions, or coordinate with global teams. It sounds complicated but this would be another fantastic job.
Click here to see more
Content & Marketing influencer
If you have a large social media following of over five thousand people on your own private account(s), then you can also sign up as Content & Marketing influencer.
This is where brands will compensate you for creating content for them, either financially or with free products. Brands may also post your content on their Social Media, helping you to grow your online presence.
The idea is quite similar to being sponsored on Twitch, but instead it might be on Instagram or Facebook. If you have a large audience that follow you because of your ties with video games, then it’s possible that brands would want to send you their games or merchandise, and in return you can help to advertise their products.
You can do this by taking some high quality photos while playing, and sharing on the chosen platforms in the way the brands would want you to. It’s that easy. This can be a great way to make some extra money while playing video games, if you already have such an online presence.
If you would like to know more, check out Chamboost
Esports Event Coordinator
As an Events manager your job would be be to conceptualize, develop, plan, lead, and fully execute a variety of multifaceted e-sports events. This may involve dealing with large budgets and communicating with broadcasting teams to make sure the event is executed at the highest quality.
Multimedia Artist/ Animator
Multimedia artists and animators create animation and visual effects using computer programs and illustrations. They might also be required to develop storyboards that map out key scenes. If you’re talented at drawing, but not sure where to go with it, then this career could be perfect for you.
A video game composer writes and compiles musical scores to video games, including individual themes for each main character. To do this, they will have to watch the game while taking a note of what’s happening onscreen, and then create appropriate emotions to match that of the game.
A software developer is involved with all the disciplines of creating video games such as programming, design, art, testing, etc. You will likely be hired to write code, and help develop levels or gameplay features.
Developers in the gaming industry are highly sort after. Once you’ve finished your college degree, one of the best ways to start out in this career is in mobile esports apps. I’ve seen countless platforms advertising, and looking for people to join their team who have the knowledge in this area.
Some more jobs within the industry, and where you might be involved with making money playing video games, are; Agents of players, Player Coach, Sales and Marketing specialist, Sponsors, Referees, Host, Camera man, etc.
We hope you found our list useful on ‘how to make money playing video games’! Please comment if you have anything else to add.