Looking to turn gaming into a profession? That’s a dream many of us have, regardless if you’re a single-player offline or online multiplayer kind of gamer. Not only is it the best scenario in life for some, but it’s also totally attainable! All it takes is motivation, hard work, and a little bit of luck. And when it does happen, you’ll most likely be making much more than people working a regular job. The best part? You basically get paid to have fun. Plus, the video game industry is on the upswing and will continue to grow. Sounds amazing? It does to us, so here’s how to earn money by playing games.
1. Create a YouTube channel
We picked this as the first entry because you don’t even have to be good at games to be successful. In fact, being average or downright terrible (temporarily) can be extremely entertaining. This is especially true if you combine it with good video editing skills, a healthy dose of humor, and bring a couple of friends to bounce jokes (or insults) around.
The earning potential is insane – just look up the most paid YouTubers each year. Plus, there’s no definite way to rise to the top. You can feature upcoming games, games with the best graphics, or indie games that are largely underrated. It’s up to you to choose the genre, video format, and length, and whether to focus on commentary or gameplay and to pick a target audience. We recommend games suitable for boys and girls alike, and family-friendly content so that you can get a lot of sponsorship offers.
2. Begin streaming on Twitch
Most of the things above also apply to Twitch streaming. But, there a few key differences.
- To earn money streaming, you’ll have to meet the requirements to become a Twitch Partner.
- You’ll have to do a lot more planning and exude creativity, otherwise, live streams can get very repetitive and boring.
- You’ll need to interact with your audience while retaining the same level of skill.
- Streaming is much more demanding on system resources, so purchasing a PC with better specifications, a new console, or new equipment might be required.
- You might have to hire a chat moderator down the line.
3. Start solo competing in Tournaments
We won’t pretend that it’s a consistent source of income. But, winning a tournament, depending on the game and how high you place, can be enough to sustain you for at least a year. Granted, you really need to be extremely talented and willing to invest hours per day into fixing your weak spots. Only a small percentage of gamers makes it, and they’re usually doing YouTube and/or Twitch, so they can afford to be relaxed.
4. Join an e-sports team
Joining an e-sports team with other players allows you to cover your weak spots with someone else’s skills, boosts your motivation since you’re working as a team, and can bring valuable sponsorships. Plus, you’ll become better known than if you were playing solo since e-sports team owners invest millions in marketing.
You might also discover that you’re better at hosting events, coaching newcomers, commentating on matches, or working as a PR, referee, marketer, salesperson, social media manager, etc. Additionally, you can use your track record and reputation to keep signing contracts with teams that pay better.
5. Become a tester of video games
This job is far from easy – it requires a lot of brainpower, patience, motivation, and dedication. You are hired to be extremely observant and nitpicky and can spend hours upon hours testing a particular feature of the game to make sure it’s free of bugs. Even when fixed, you have to test the patches that were applied. The worst part is – you’re seeing the game in its ‘broken’ state for so long that you might lose any desire to experience the finished product at the end.
6. Work as a video game developer
Making money through games can also mean creating a game of your own. If it’s an indie game, mobile game, or a fan remake, you’re fine doing it solo. Then, you can create a Kickstarter campaign, release it behind a paywall, or add the game to the game/app stores. For example, solo-developed games such as Minecraft and Stardew Valley sold for $2.5 billion and $24 million respectively.
If you like to work as part of a large team, you can join a major game publisher. Before you do, be aware that the job, although well-paid, includes long hours spent working, often with no weekends off, and in a constant state of stress. Some companies don’t believe in crunch time, but most consider it an industry practice and thus “normal”.
7. Become a video game journalist
Here’s a low-stress job that most likely won’t kill your passion for playing games. Although it doesn’t pay too well, you’ll often get to enjoy the games in their polished states. If not polished, then you’ll at least enjoy them in a significantly better state than a game tester. Plus, you’ll do so at your convenience, and get exclusive invites to pre-release and release events. The best thing? You can join a well-known publication until you build a steady array of viewers or readers, then start a solo project.
9. Turn your passion into a product or service
This is, in our opinion, the best way to make money, and it’s independent. You’re not in fear of someday YouTube or Twitch killing your channel. The things you decide to do depend entirely on your skillset, the type of games you play, and what you enjoy doing. Here are a few suggestions:
- Become a video game coach. Offer 1-on-1 guidance to people looking to improve, create, and sell online courses, help boost people’s in-game rankings and high scores for a price, etc.
- Farm goods and valuables in-game. This is not possible everywhere, but if you’re playing crafting, cooking, or MMORPG games, there will be in-game items that can be farmed and sold. Instead of people paying you with an in-game currency, they are often willing to shell out real money for them.
- Sell merchandise. If you have an artistic eye, you can design, manufacture, and sell game-related merchandise. Your imagination is the only limit, provided you market it well and follow trends. There’s another way too, called “dropshipping”. You purchase cheap items in bulk, then resell them for a greater price by entering the customer’s address instead of yours. You make a crazy profit without worrying about owning a store or storing inventory.