The video game industry is now one of the most significant parts of the entertainment world, and it’s no surprise that everyone’s itching to get involved with the action, especially as part of the rapidly growing slate of home office work opportunities.
After all, who wouldn’t want to get paid for playing video games?
There are many pathways to consider here, some easier than others, but if you’re a true gamer at heart, they can all offer a lot of excitement under the right circumstances.
8 Ways to Make Money Playing Online Games
Content creation: review games or write guides
How delightfully meta of us! Seriously though, the content creation side of video games is a massive part of why the industry maintains such a grip on fans, thanks to a fascinating and addictive ecosystem of commentary, guides, feedback, and community that makes us return over and over again to forums and social media to discuss the latest and greatest stuff.
Sites like PC Gamer have massive clout in the gaming scene, and writing an article for them can kickstart a career.
Starting is easy as pie: set up your blog or website and share your work around social media.
That’s the easy part. Getting paid for it is another matter, but there are always new opportunities in the scene, and the video game industry is uniquely effective at siphoning up fan talent.
A portfolio of good articles with consistent interest will inevitably get you through the door! Keep in mind that the rates are somewhat lower than elsewhere in the writing industry, but that’s the price you pay for more accessible admission.
Play Online Games
It’s certainly not easy to beat games regularly. Still, the breadth and depth of online games offered means that experience and a good understanding of the math behind these virtual games can help you find the rare edge where you can take advantage of some error and run up the score.
The low maintenance costs of real money online casino games mean that the games can offer much better rewards than it could with a physical game, allowing you to tinker more with your strategies and find the opportunities that you can take advantage of.
Establish a YouTube channel
Even though there’s great flexibility in hiding behind a byline, most of us are much more interested in a well-groomed personal brand and video content in the 21st century. Some of the biggest online entertainers have begun their careers with a YouTube channel. A good understanding of the latest trends and the almighty algorithm can get you far in the video game-related video field.
Good guides and analysis pieces will never get out of fashion, and a unique flair and excellent video editing skills can also get you far.
Just keep in mind that you’re looking at an incredibly crowded field and that ad revenue by itself won’t sustain a career: loyal fans’ support via platforms like Patreon coupled with juicy sponsorship deals are a must to stick around in the long run so that some entrepreneurial skills won’t go amiss.
Become a video game streamer on Twitch
The same idea applies to content creation on Twitch, with perhaps the added benefits of the platform’s rapid growth and the different style of on-air personality that thrives on a live broadcast. Chill background noise or shock-jock radio host react-o-thon machine? Both can find a home on Twitch, and it’s easy as pie to combine this sort of content creation with a robust presence on YouTube.
The recent Twitch partner earnings leaks can give you a concrete idea of how much money you can make with a specific audience size (not counting additional income from sponsorship deals and direct donations); keep in mind that the biggest names take the largest slices of the pie. You have to be unique to stand out on the platform.
Live the esports dream and become a professional gamer
Easier said than done, but becoming one of the best in any given game is always a profitable option: big, often venture capital-backed organizations are standing in line to sign the best talent to lucrative contracts much like what you can expect from traditional sports, but there’s no getting around the fact that only the greatest of the greats can indeed turn this into a career – and more often than not, the streaming side of things often turns out to be more beneficial even to the pro players as well in the long run.
Beta testing and fan feedback: get into game development from the bottom up
As long as new games are coming out, there will always be a need for video game beta testers.
Getting directly involved with the developers of the next big thing can easily open doors for you, and posting reviews online (obviously not if you’ve been NDA-d as part of such a program) can also get you noticed, which can also dovetail with one of the many content creation avenues available in the gaming world.
Many of today’s biggest game developers began as testers at their current companies, and beta testing games allows you a unique opportunity to become a part of all the new hotness at a very early juncture.
Help others play better: farm resources and exchange accounts
The free-to-play model revolves around exchanging time for the same in-game resources you could also choose to spend money on. This means it’s only logical that you can make some money on the side by farming in-game currency or leveling up accounts and selling them off to others on the internet.
To be sure, this is an edge case, to say the least, as most popular games’ terms of service are explicitly against this.
There’s a reason why all this remains such a large part of the gaming ecosystem: the demand and the supply are both there, and there’s little to no way for the developers and publishers to police this matter.
From casual to competitive, the world of gaming has always been a great escapade and an excellent way to experience new activities. It’s only been a recent development that it’s become a reliable career path for many.
Still, the number of options in the space has positively skyrocketed, much to the benefit of those looking to make money playing games.
It’s as good a time as it’s ever been to get started in this exciting field, and with a bit of luck and perseverance, anyone can find a field that can help pay the bills while having fun along the way.
Sam Lee is a game enthusiast with years of experience in video games. Sam’s writings have been featured across a wide variety of sites over the years.