Every now and again you read an article, or see something on the social media, bragging about making money playing video games.
Sometimes you hear about it through word-of-mouth.
But is it really a thing? Can you really make money?
It is possible, but there are some caveats. First, banish any idea from your mind that you're going to make a fortune doing it. Second, it may not be quite as fun and exciting as it sounds on the surface – making money rarely is. And third, you have to be able to separate the real opportunities from the many scams out there.
With those warnings in mind, let's take a look at some ways you really can make money playing video games.
Become a Beta Tester
Every video game needs to go through beta testing before it hits the general market. This can be an interesting and fun way to earn some extra money. But be aware you probably won't be working with popular video games. Instead, it'll be ones that haven't hit the market yet. Companies are looking to test their games with real users before bringing them to market.
You may find some of the games you're working with aren't terribly exciting, or they may have serious glitches. But that's why companies look for people to test them out first. Your job will be to identify flaws or ways to improve the product before it goes to market.
The upside of becoming a beta tester is that you can make a lot of money doing it. The difficult part is finding companies who will hire you. The best approach is to develop a strong social media presence, complete with a large following, that might get you noticed by video game companies. If you do, they'll be coming to you.
Video Game Tournaments
Video games often develop communities, and they can be quite active – and competitive. The competitiveness leads to tournaments, and that leads to prizes. It's not the same as getting a steady income, but if you have the fortitude to engage in ongoing tournaments, the prizes can be quite generous.
One example is Call of Duty. Thousands of people play this game, but for some, it rises to become very competitive. That's where the potential payoff is. You get involved with teams and meet up online and either play together as a team or “every man for himself.”
Call of Duty has several different gameplay modes, including online multiplayer as well as zombies. Some of the new games allow for multiplayer campaigns. Whether you work with a team or by yourself, you can go into the playoffs and move on to the championships. If you get into the finals, video game tournaments work very similarly to the regular sporting events. Winning tournaments can result in cash payouts. Exactly how much you can make will depend on the interest in the tournament, and it varies from one to the next.
Take OpTic Gaming (on YouTube) as another example. It's one of the top performing game teams available, and they are known for winning multiple awards and having some of the best players in the industry. There are a plethora of prizes including small prizes such as gift cards. But cash prizes can run as high as $10 million – if you can believe it.
Become a Video Game Reviewer
If you have an interest in many different video games, you can earn money by becoming a video game reviewer. This is similar to blogging – in fact, you could even create a blog for this purpose. But you can also do it through YouTube, or on popular selling sites like eBay and Amazon.com.
The basic idea is to become a respected review source of video games. As you build up a following, people will come to rely on your opinions. You can earn money by selling the video games you review on an affiliate basis (the manufacturer or distributor will pay you a percentage of each sale you make from your website or video).
There's no guarantee how much money you'll make. It depends on the popularity of your site or videos because most of your income will come as advertising. If you're able to grow your audience into the thousands, you may get video game companies advertising directly. If it reaches that stage, you'll have a steady stream of passive income.
You won't make a fortune with this strategy, but if you like playing video games, and you play a lot, it can be a way to earn at least some money while you're having fun.
The process works like this…
You can create a character and “level” him or her (raise their skills). Some players will actually pay money for a high-level character that they don't have to level themselves. In the case of RuneScape, the higher the levels, the more quests you can complete.
The easiest way to do this is to “farm the character.” This means you spend a lot of time leveling up the character, whether it be for a particular skill or for in-game money. You can actually make a lot of money doing this, as some characters can sell for over $1,000. Others sell for as little as $100. It really depends on how much skill you have at leveling, and how motivated you are to play the game.
Become a Twitch Streamer
Twitch is a streaming platform subsidiary of Amazon where you can earn money through the support of your subscribers. Most of the streams involve video games, whether it's games like Fortnite or something that is played online like Chess, but you earn money through your subscribers.
If you get your subscriber count up and have a lot of views, you can get sponsorships and giveaway opportunities as well. Some of the top Twitch streamers do this full-time and the income opportunities are there. This is how much Twitch streamers make.
You can also post those Twitch videos to Youtube as an additional revenue source.
Work in Customer Service
If you're a veteran gamer, with experience playing dozens of different video games, you may be able to use those skills to help others – and make some money while you do. Think of it as working on the helpdesk for companies that provide video games.
You can sometimes find these positions by contacting the manufacturers or distributors of video games themselves. They may even have work-at-home positions. You can also try various technology support companies, like Sutherland Global Services. Every now and again they have positions available on video game helpdesks.
Other Ways to Enter the Business
It can be difficult to find ways to make money playing video games.
You won't find jobs advertised on the job boards.
But there are three general ways to get into making money playing video games:
- Contact video game manufacturers and distributors directly, and offer your services. You'll have to be a well-experienced video game player to even attempt this.
- Become a very competitive video gamer, such that you can get involved in tournaments and other activities that will make you serious money.
- Become a video game entrepreneur. This is really the business side of video games. You start a website, become active on the social media, or develop a YouTube channel. You become recognized as an expert in the field, drawing many thousands of followers. You can then sell video games on an affiliate basis, or even receive sponsorships from the companies themselves.
YouTube is especially important. In fact, it's not an exaggeration to say that your YouTube channel is your resume in the video game universe.
So you can play video games for sure, but put your entrepreneur's hat on, and be ready to turn it into a side business – or something much more.