Can you actually earn real cash by playing games? Definitely! The worldwide video game industry is worth billions of dollars, with billions of players and hundreds of thousands of workers. In this vast economic field, there are numerous opportunities to earn money right from your home.
Next, we will introduce you to 11 methods for making money through gaming. These include options for those without technical skills, as well as ways that utilize technical expertise.
But before we dive into these methods, let’s first examine the key question: how much money can you potentially earn from playing games in 2024?
Is Earning Money Through Video Games a Reality?
To grasp the earning potential in gaming, let’s look at the magnitude of the video game industry.
In 2021, the global video game market was valued at $195.65 billion, and it’s expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.9% from 2022 to 2030, as reported by Grand View Research, a market analysis firm.
The amount you can earn from gaming varies widely. For an ideal scenario, take the example of Eric Barone, the creator of Stardew Valley.
Barone didn’t initially plan a career in gaming. He began developing games to sharpen his coding skills for future job prospects. However, he became deeply involved in perfecting Stardew Valley, dedicating up to 80 hours a week to it, often until his girlfriend intervened.
This dedication resulted in a high-quality game. Stardew Valley was a massive success upon its 2016 release, earning $34 million by the following year. Barone eventually had to hire a team to manage the game’s millions of players.
While Barone’s success is exceptional, it shows that substantial earnings in gaming are possible. Another example is Elspeth Eastman, the voice of Tristana in League of Legends. Eastman earns through live-streaming her gameplay and, with a substantial follower base, attracts advertisers and earns from paid subscriptions. Though her exact income isn’t publicly known, estimates suggest she makes around $1,000 monthly from Twitch subscriptions and about $221 from her YouTube channel, in addition to her voice acting salary.
Of course, not everyone is a renowned voice actress, and such income levels aren’t guaranteed without significant effort. However, you can employ similar tactics on a smaller scale to supplement your income or even transition to making a full-time living from video games. Your earnings will depend on the method you choose and your approach to it.
Strategies for Earning Money by Playing Video Games
Several ways to earn from gaming involve being a professional gamer or a developer. However, many others simply need a passion for gaming and a readiness to put in the effort. Here is our rundown of the top 11 methods to earn money through gaming.
Earning Money Through Video Games: A Guide”
Table of Contents
Strategies for Earning Money by Playing Video Games
Many strategies to profit from gaming need professional gaming or development skills. But, there are also methods that only ask for a love of gaming and a readiness to put in effort. Below, we present our top 10 picks for making money through gaming.
1. Streaming Live Gameplay
If you have strong gaming skills or an engaging personality, you could earn money by livestreaming your gameplay.
You might ask, “Why would anyone be interested in watching me play or even pay me for it?” There are several reasons why people enjoy watching others play video games:
- To learn from a more skilled player
- To experience high-quality gameplay
- To enjoy the commentary of a charismatic player
- To connect with the gaming community
The appeal of watching others play video games opens up various opportunities to make money from gaming livestreams:
- Viewers may donate to show appreciation for impressive or entertaining gameplay
- Regular viewers might subscribe to your channel for a fee
- Special livestream events could offer paid access
- Gaming companies might sponsor players who highlight their games
- Advertisers could pay players with large followings
- Affiliate marketing might bring in revenue for promoting products
- Successful gamers can create and sell their own branded merchandise
To profit from live streaming, you need to be captivating enough to draw viewers. Being skilled at the game is a straightforward way to gain interest, but even if you’re not the top player, having a humorous or engaging storytelling style can attract an audience.
You’ll also need a reliable platform for your livestreams. Some of the best options include:
2. Creating Tutorials on Video Platforms for Gamers
Earning through gaming can also be achieved by making video game guides on platforms like YouTube. Gamers look for guides for various reasons:
- To gauge if a game is worth playing
- To understand how to play a game
- To receive advanced gaming strategies
- To stay updated with the latest in gaming
- For entertainment purposes
- To connect with fellow gamers
Your channel can cater to these interests by offering:
- Reviews of popular games
- Beginner-level tutorial tips
- Advanced strategies for seasoned players
- Gaming industry updates
- Engaging or informative commentary on your gameplay
Once your guide channel is established, monetization options include:
- Viewer donations and subscriptions
- Earning from advertising, with brands placing their links on your channel
- Sponsorships and affiliate marketing from gaming companies
To make money this way, you’ll need tools like a camera, microphone, and video editing software, along with your gaming setup, whether it’s on console or PC.
Creating video guides entails:
- Recording your gameplay
- Using video editing software for refining your footage
- Incorporating effects like text, music, and animations
- Uploading and promoting your videos
If you need help creating videos, you can hire video editor and YouTube promotion services from experienced professionals.
3. Developing Written Gaming Guides for Your Website
Another way to capitalize on gaming is by creating and monetizing written guides. You can sell these guides for specific games on your website, either as standalone products or alongside video content.
What should be included in a written video game guide? Key elements are:
- Detailed walkthroughs that provide basic instructions, like where to go and what actions to take
- Tutorials explaining various game features
- Advanced tips and strategies for seasoned players
- Information on game expansions
To enhance the written guides, incorporate screenshots and other visuals to help readers better understand your points. Additionally, you can include video content on your site to complement the written material.
You have options for publishing your content: either on protected pages or posts on your website or as downloadable ebooks. One marketing approach is to provide some content for free as a teaser to entice purchases of your premium content. Alternatively, you could offer free tutorials but monetize your site through other means like advertising or affiliate marketing.
To effectively utilize this method for generating income from gaming, you’ll need to both develop and actively promote your website.
4. Offering Game Coaching Services
Becoming a video game coach is a great side hustle. As a game coach, you assist clients in enhancing their gaming abilities. Services a game coach might offer include:
- Analyzing game replays and providing feedback
- Guiding through strategies, tips, and practice exercises
- Observing and commenting on live gameplay
Game coaching can be conducted individually or in a group setting, like webinars or digital workshops.
Your coaching services can cater to players of all levels, from beginners to competitive tournament players. The greater your expertise and insight, the higher your potential coaching fees.
To become a game coach, you should have:
- Significant gaming experience
- Current knowledge of game versions and gameplay mechanics
- Teaching abilities, including skills in observing player performance, giving clear instructions, answering queries, and assessing progress
If you aim to teach gaming in a formal academic environment, such as a university, you might need a teaching certification or other specific qualifications.
For attracting students, consider these marketing tactics:
- Developing a website with a blog featuring how-to guides
- Creating a YouTube channel with free coaching content
- Joining a platform like Gamer Sensei as a coach
Game coaching pairs well with other monetization strategies mentioned earlier. For instance, if you have an audience from live streaming or video guide sharing, you can extend your coaching services to them.
5. Pursuing a Career in Video Game Journalism
If you have a knack for writing and a passion for video games, a career in game journalism could be a lucrative path for you. Video game journalists can earn income through:
- Crafting game reviews
- Reporting on gaming news
- Conducting interviews with figures in the video game industry
- Covering events related to the game industry
To pursue game journalism, excellent writing skills are paramount. Although a degree in journalism or a related field is beneficial, what’s crucial is your ability to write compellingly.
Starting a blog is a great way to gain experience and build a portfolio to present to editors. You can also generate income through your blog via advertising revenue and affiliate marketing while establishing your reputation.
Your writing doesn’t have to be confined to video games. Blogging about various topics can also provide a strong foundation for transitioning into game journalism.
Once you’ve honed your writing skills, start exploring opportunities to contribute articles as a freelancer or seek employment. You can find opportunities by:
- Reviewing the submission guidelines of gaming websites and pitching your article ideas
- Networking with writers, editors, and gaming industry professionals via social media and industry events
- Responding to job postings on platforms like Video Game Journalism Jobs
Specializing in a specific niche, such as writing exclusively about a particular game or brand, may make it easier to establish yourself in the field.
6. Engaging in Video Game Playtesting
Playtesters are crucial for video game companies, providing essential feedback on a game’s playability and enjoyment level. Their input helps developers identify and fix issues that impact the user experience, thereby improving the overall quality of the game.
As a playtester, you’ll play games following specific instructions from developers. This allows them to observe and gather information on various aspects such as:
- Player comprehension of game instructions
- Functionality of game controls and features
- Ease of learning for players
- Points where players encounter difficulties
- Player activities and engagement
- Overall player experience and evaluation
- Player preferences and likes
- Areas of gameplay needing improvement
- Most appealing features and benefits
- Commercial viability of the game in its current state
Playtesters can be volunteers, freelancers, or full-time employees. To enter this field, you need a mix of gaming passion and professional work ethic, including the ability to follow instructions, meet deadlines, and provide clear feedback.
To find playtesting opportunities, you can respond to job advertisements or proactively contact video game companies to inquire about openings. It’s beneficial to prepare a cover letter and resume that highlight your gaming background and any relevant experience, particularly previous playtesting roles.
7. Participating in Quality Assurance (QA) Testing for Games
A QA (Quality Assurance) tester scrutinizes video games from a technical standpoint, which is distinct from the role of a playtester. While playtesters focus on enhancing the user experience, QA testers concentrate on identifying and resolving technical issues that affect it.
Generally, QA testers are employed full-time, whereas playtesters are often freelancers. However, the terminology can sometimes overlap, so it’s important to understand the specific responsibilities of a role before applying.
Key duties of QA testers include:
- Playing games to identify technical issues
- Writing detailed bug reports
- Documenting game crashes
- Communicating technical feedback to the development team, including engineers, designers, and artists
QA testers can specialize in areas such as running automated testing tools or focusing on particular gameplay aspects. Specialized QA roles are typically more advanced positions.
Professional game companies often prefer QA testers with ISTQB certification from the ASTQB. While some roles may require college degrees, having a degree in computer programming, graphic design, or a related field can be advantageous, even if not mandatory. Strong writing skills are also valuable for crafting effective bug reports. A course in technical writing can be beneficial for this.
To start building QA testing experience, consider volunteering as a beta tester. Beta testers are user groups that assist development teams in reviewing nearly completed products. They are often volunteers but can also be paid. Joining beta testing communities is an excellent way to gain experience, network, and discover job opportunities in this field.
8. Becoming a Video Game Developer
If you possess the drive and creativity to craft video games, becoming a game developer is a viable path to making money in the gaming field. Game developers transform game ideas into playable realities by coding them into programming languages. In addition to this, they often test the games they develop and may even be involved in the initial creative process of game design.
While a degree in software engineering or computer science is beneficial and sometimes required, practical programming skills are more crucial. Knowledge in mathematics, physics, 3D graphics, and animation is also advantageous for aspiring developers.
To build experience, start by creating simple games on your own and gradually progress to more complex projects. This practice will not only enhance your skills but also help you compile a portfolio to showcase your abilities to potential employers.
Job opportunities for game developers can be found on LinkedIn, various job boards, as well as on websites of game companies and industry-related sites. For your first job in game development, consider starting with an independent or smaller company, as they are often more open to hiring freelancers or less experienced developers.
9. Hosting a Gaming-Focused Podcast
For those who enjoy discussing video games, starting a gaming podcast can be a profitable venture. Gaming podcasts can cover a variety of topics, including:
- Analysis and commentary on gameplay
- Reviews of new games
- Updates on gaming industry news
- Interviews with professionals in the gaming world
- Interactive Q&A sessions with the audience
- Gaming-related humor
There are several ways to monetize a podcast:
- Crowdfunding and accepting listener donations
- Offering exclusive content for purchase, like tutorials or personal coaching sessions
- Organizing special events accessible to subscribers or for a fee
- Generating advertising revenue
- Securing brand sponsorships
- Promoting products through affiliate marketing
To kick off your podcast, essential equipment includes a quality microphone and audio editing software, such as Descript. You’ll also need a reliable podcast hosting platform; Buzzsprout is one popular option.
Promoting your podcast is key to attracting listeners. Effective strategies include optimizing your content for search engines and engaging in social media marketing.
10. Participation in Gaming Tournaments
Competitive gaming presents various opportunities for earning money:
- As a skilled gamer, you can enter esports competitions or online video game tournaments, competing for cash prizes. These competitions can take place in physical arenas or online.
- If you excel in event organization and marketing, consider hosting a gaming tournament. You can recruit sponsors, charge entry fees to participants, and levy promotional fees on advertisers.
- For those with a knack for marketing and sales, tournaments offer a platform to sell products, either your own, those of a sponsoring brand, or from an affiliate marketing partner.
- Investors have the option to invest in the gaming tournaments themselves.
Numerous tournaments for games like Dota 2, Call of Duty, and Fortnite are available. If you’re thinking about diving into gaming tournaments, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with the scene first.
Websites like GamerSaloon provide a gateway to the world of online gaming tournaments. For live tournament experiences, local events can be found through platforms like Battlefy, or you can attend major events such as The International (TI). The University of Esports and similar resources offer extensive information about gaming tournaments.
11. Earning with Mistplay
If you’re a fan of mobile games and own an Android device, you can make some extra cash with Mistplay. This platform allows you to earn while enjoying your favorite games. Just choose a game you like on Mistplay and start playing. The more time you spend playing, the more “units” you accumulate. These units can then be exchanged for gift cards, turning your gaming time into tangible rewards.
Generating Income Online as a Content Creator
There you have it: 11 strategies for earning additional income through gaming, perfect for a side hustle or even a full-fledged online business. Each method caters to different preferences and skill sets, so it’s important to choose the ones that align best with your interests and abilities. Many of these approaches can be synergistically combined to increase your potential earnings. Select the methods that resonate most with you and fit your lifestyle. Wishing you the best of luck in your gaming and content creation endeavors!