We all dream about getting paid for doing something we love. If you’re an avid gamer you’ll probably already know a few ways to earn a bit – or a lot – of extra cash pursuing your passion. But there are many options you may not have considered when it comes to monetizing your video gaming. Of course, playing games for cash is the most popular and sometimes lucrative option, you don’t even need to own a console to start off your side hustle.
Mobile technology has become a legitimate gaming platform in its own right, with many console games migrating successfully into versions to play on smartphones and tablets. There are just as many games that have been designed with the format in mind and have vast online followings. There are also a few money-making options that don’t actually require any gameplay – not as fun maybe, but still related to gaming and sometimes quite lucrative. Let’s take a closer look.
Can you really make money by gaming?
I know it sounds too good to be true, but I’m not pulling your leg. Take YouTube as an example – how many gamer channels do you follow? The chances are quite a few, and the most famous of them such as PewDiePie or Markiplier are making serious bank. Of course, not everyone can earn big bucks, but there is still money to be made out there, from testing to starting a channel on Twitch, through to gambling in online casinos. Just remember – this is a side hustle, don’t pack in your day job just yet!
Video game developers spend months, even years, trying to perfect the coding, graphics and all other aspects of their games. But, just as a new movie is screened to a preview audience, developers need Joe Public to test out their games. Quality Assurance (QA) testers don’t do any technical investigations, they simply try out as much of the game as possible, different levels, modes, builds etc, until they reach a point where they can find no obvious faults in the end-user experience. You’ll obviously need to be good at video games – they must after all be played to the highest level – but you should be diligent with recording glitches and problems to relay back to the developers.
Professional video gaming has turned into a massive and lucrative industry. Huge tournaments take place worldwide in purpose-built arenas (obviously not at the moment) and there are talent scouts out there looking for hotshots in the online gaming community. Major League Gaming (MLG) sponsors many events with big prizes on offer, and the best way to get started is to pick a game you are already skilled at, then practice until you become a master at it. Search online for eSports tournaments and enter – if you’re good enough, there are prizes in the tens of thousands to be had.
The meteoric rise of online casino gambling is partly due to its appeal beyond the usual casino crowd – games are easy to learn and play on your mobile device. Professional gambling is a tough game, so it’s best to set aside money specifically to play with – don’t use the money you need for rent, bills, and food – and spend some time practicing. But many casinos offer tempting cash prizes, and you don’t have to be a card shark to get involved and win some money. Most reputable online casinos also offer a range of payment methods, meaning any money you win is transferred into your account almost immediately.
Fancy yourself as a presenter? If you can be funny and engaging, as well as knowledgeable and passionate about games, starting a channel on YouTube can earn you money. Film yourself playing a game and commentating on it – but remember, PewDiePie didn’t get to make multiple millions through his choice of game or aptitude, but for his personality. No one will care if you are the grandmaster of a game if you appear dull or don’t have anything witty or interesting to say. Twitch is a streaming service dominated by gamers, which makes it the natural place (other than YouTube) to kick off your gaming career.
If you are a real hotshot at games, putting videos with walkthroughs, tips and advice can also attract a lot of fans. You can make money this way through advertising – every click on your channel creates revenue. It’s as easy as opening an account at Adsense and linking it to your YouTube to get started, but not so easy to start earning real money, as you’ll need thousands of views on each of your videos. The best way to find fans is to keep your focus as narrow as possible – choose one or two games you excel at to start with and then build content from there.
It’s every gamer’s dream – make money while playing. But it is possible to do, and what should start as a nice little side project could blossom into a full-blown career.