Are you a video game enthusiast and want to start a business but you lack ideas? If YES, here are 15 best ways to make money at home playing video games.
There is a very popular saying that goes thus, do what you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. So what if what you love doing is playing video games? Will it be possible to make a career out of it and earn money?
Well, the truth is that it is very possible to make money from playing videos games. However, many people who try to play for the purpose of making money end up giving up after a couple of months or a year because the work aspect vastly outweighs the fun.
It isn’t uncommon for people who turn their hobbies into a business to hate the said hobby after a while. In the same vein, instead of doing what they love, they end up hating what they once loved. For every person who has made good money from playing games, there are a dozen other people who have tried and failed at it.
Gaming with the intention of making money is best suited for young, single people who are willing to commit several years knowing that it may all be for nothing.
Gone are the days when playing video games are deemed a complete waste of time and resources. These days, you can put those hours to good use and actually get paid to play online games, and it doesn’t even matter if you’re not much of a gamer. Here are some potential ways you can make money from home playing video games.
15 Best Ways to Make Money at Home Playing Video Games
- Live Streams
This works by streaming your gameplay in real-time for the world to see. You can aim to build a large audience (which you can monetize with ads) or a loyal audience (which you can monetize with donations and subscriptions. You can make use of platforms such as YouTube and Twitch for your live streams.
Making money from live game streaming is not without its difficulties in the sense that it takes a long time to build a live stream audience. It’s may take you a couple of months to build about 10 views and some more months to reach 100 views. The reality is that some streamers never even reach that point — and to make a living, you’ll need thousands of regular viewers.
The sad truth is that the game streaming niche is heavily saturated. Before you even start up a game streaming channel, you should ask yourself; why would anyone want to watch me instead of the many other well established gaming channels? You can set yourself apart by providing a unique kind of humor or charisma, by being a world-class player, or by playing a game no one else plays.
In order to get started as a live stream gamer all you will need is a decent computer, some games that viewers will want to watch, a decent personality, and some streaming software (don’t forget to get a really comfortable seat, because you will be doing a lot of seating).
Newbies love reading guides, especially for multiplayer player versus player (PvP) games. You can either create a website for written guides, upload video guides to YouTube, or publish guides as eBooks. The first two are often monetized with ads, whereas the eBook route earns revenue through sales.
Almost any gamer can write a guide, however, to make a living from writing guides, you need to create guides for popular games. But the more popular the game, the more guide-writing competition you’ll run into. To set your guides apart, you’ll need to offer more insight than others can provide, which means investing a ton of time into a game and setting yourself up as an expert.
In addition to the aforementioned, you will need to have excellent writing skills. Guides need to be dense and comprehensive without being wordy and full of fluff. Formatting skills are also imperative whether you’re publishing eBooks or writing for the web.
To get started all you need to do is to get a popular game, find out the areas that players are finding difficulties in, learn the ins and outs of that problem including the easiest ways to overcome them, and then teach others how to overcome it themselves. In massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), aim for gold guides, leveling guides, and raid guides. For Player versus player games, go for character guides and mechanics guides.
- Podcasts or Videos
A podcast is like a personal radio show where you talk about specific topics. You can create a daily, weekly, or monthly show related to gaming. It could be an opinion-based roundtable discussion, a series of interviews with high-profile players, tips and tricks for a certain game, how to easily overcome some difficult bosses and levels, where to find Easter eggs in games, et al. Podcasts and videos can be monetized with ads, but this format can also be supported through Patron subscriptions.
The challenge that podcasts and videos face in the world of gaming is that you will need to build a sizeable audience before any revenue comes your way. Your show also must be compelling enough for people to tune in. If your show is boring, shallow, devoid of relevant content, has poor production quality, then you will find it almost impossible to succeed in this niche.
In some ways, this can be seen as a hybrid of guides and live streams. You need the knowledge and insight of a guide creator plus the diligence and charisma of a streamer. On the bright side, the content doesn’t have to be as deep as a guide and your personality doesn’t have to be as distinct as a streamer.
- Competitive Gaming
Tournaments are commonplace for player versus player games, and the more popular a game, the larger the prize pools become. If you’re good enough you can join an eSports organization where you may earn a livable salary. Most competitive gamers also take advantage of live streaming for additional income.
Not everyone can be a net-positive player. You can be a world-class player, get knocked out early in a tournament, and leave with zero winnings. Even if you do win some money, it may not cover the hotel and flight costs. If you aren’t consistently at the top, forget about living on winnings.
Furthermore, the eSports industry is still young. Even if you land a position on a revered team, the “salary” will likely be below minimum wage. The industry is also plagued with con artists and thieves who prey on naive gamers. It is not unusual to hear about players never getting paid what they’re due.
If you want to get started as a competitive gamer, you will need to find a popular player versus player game with lots of tournaments and heavy interest from eSports organizations. Then you will have to practice as much as possible to make sure that you are the best you can be in that particular game.
As you get better, network with other professional gamers to get your name out there. But the truth is that pursuing a career as a non-competitive streamer is a lot more lucrative than a career as a competitive gamer.
Start in small tournaments. If you are entirely new to the world of video game tournaments, start out in small ones, with lower payouts. Once you have gotten your feet wet and become familiar with how they work, you can move on to larger tournaments with higher payouts and more competition.
Only spend what you can afford. Some tournaments will require an entrance fee, while others will require travel. If you cannot afford to travel, or you cannot afford the entrance fee, resist the temptation to enter anyway. Although you would certainly make your money back if you win, if you do not win, you are out money you could not spare in the first place.
- Games testing
Before any game is release to the general public, it will first have to go through various phases of development. When the game is near completion, developers need outsiders who can playtest their games with “fresh eyes”. As a play tester, your job is to test everything the developer wants you to test, which includes finding and documenting bugs and issues.
These days it isn’t too difficult to become a tester, but it can be a mind-numbing work. Also, the pay isn’t great (it may be the same as or slightly better than minimum wage). And unless you can land an internal position at a large game development company, most testing positions are for mobile games.
If you intend to be an on-demand play tester, you should look into services like PlaytestCloud, BetaFamily, MyAppAware, BestReviewApp, and ErliBird. Becoming an internal tester at a company is tougher. You’ll have to browse job boards, research companies for open positions, send in applications, and hope for the best.
- Ask for Donations
When you sign up to stream, you can add a donation button to your channel which will allow your viewers who love you content to donate any amount they want to you. Donations can be anything from $1 to even thousands of dollars in one fell swoop. While the latter case isn’t the norm, some Twitch streamers have received large donations on their channels.
With donations, you will not have to pay for a twitch subscription neither do you need to have a set number of followers in order to qualify. Any gamer can add the donation button to their channel on a game streaming website and make money from it. You should note that even though it is called “donation” you will still need to be taxed for it.
7. Collect “Bits” on twitch
In the year 2016, Twitch announced a tipping system called “Cheering,” through which viewers can gift their favorite streamers online currency called Bits. Viewers can earn 5 to 100 Bits (100 Bits are worth $1.40) by watching 30-second ads.
They can also purchase Bits outright via the Amazon payment system. When a viewer likes something you did in your game, they can type “cheerxx” into the chat bar on your channel, where “xx” is the number of Bits they want to gift. For example, if someone types “cheer1000,” you’ll receive 1,000 Bits, which are worth $10 .
8. Collect Subscribers on twitch: Getting subscriber for our channel on twitch is not easy but it is worth every bit of work that you put into it. As soon as you have a steady stream of followers — at least 500 regular viewers — you can apply to be a Twitch Partner at no cost. Becoming a partner is key to earning more revenue on Twitch.
One of the any benefits of this is the illustrious “Subscribe” button. Subscribers are people who really like you and want you to succeed. For each subscriber you gain, Twitch will pay you about $2.50 per month. You don’t even have to be the best at the games you stream. If you are entertaining, have a unique personality and market yourself on social media, you can gain valuable ground in the streaming world.
Try setting up a YouTube account where potential followers can get to know you before they commit to subscribing to your channel. Posting highlight reels from your streams will entice them to visit your channel on Twitch. Think of it as investing in a trailer so people will want to watch the whole film.
If you want to be a successful Twitch streamer, you will have to interact with your audience, display gratitude for their donations and be expressive. Humor and quirkiness will set you apart from the crowd.
- Earn Ad Revenue
Nobody likes ads but without ads the internet will find it very difficult to keep existing. If you have registered as a Twitch Partner and have started gaining subscribers, you’ll also start earning ad revenue. Your channel will bring in about $250 per 100 subscribers per month. Also you can monetize your YouTube channel to make money from ad clicks.
10. Partnerships with brands: if you can boast of a large audience, brands will pay to sponsor you (or pay you in products) for you to represent them online.
11. Selling products: if you a gamer with a lot of subscribers and viewers on your channel, you can take the entrepreneurial route by branding yourself and your persona, and then sell products like t-shirts to their audience members.
12. Marketing campaigns: opportunities where companies that built very successful games like Call of Duty for example will team up with gaming influencers and have them create content before a big game launch, or the next game in the series comes out.
13. Gold and item farming: the concept of buying and selling virtual goods and services in the gaming world is nothing new but with some games operating a sort of in-game auction house, there is money to be made. This method arguably exploded with Diablo III’s, an action role playing game in which characters choose one of five classes (Witch Doctor, Barbarian, Wizard, Monk or Demon Hunter), and are tasked with defeating Diablo, the Lord of Terror.
14. Let’s Play videos: this is a very popular (and some would say very saturated) way of making money from home while playing video games. Recording videos of you playing games, putting them on YouTube and then monetizing them is a possible source of video game income. However, one thing to watch out for is that for YouTube to allow you to monetize your video, it has to have a running commentary over the entire video, not just snippets or you silently playing the game.
In the words of the YouTube help pages: “Video game content may be monetized if the associated step-by-step commentary is strictly tied to the live action being shown and provides instructional or educational value. Videos simply showing a user playing a video game or the use of software for extended periods of time may not be accepted for monetization.”
Due to the large amount of people already doing this, there is massive competition in this niche. Also, individual views are not worth much at all, so you need to garner a high number of views to make it worthwhile.
Even though the lets play niche on YouTube may be saturated, there are also many YouTubers who are making good money from it. Take the popular YouTuber, PewDiePie from Sweden for example, his YouTube channel has more than 16 million subscribers, and his videos are regularly viewed from than one million times.
- Sell advanced characters
In conclusion, games are fun because they grant us periods of escape from reality. When gaming becomes your job however, there is a tendency that gaming will now become the new reality and as such the escapism it offers may disappear and likely so will the fun. Do you love playing games? Think long and hard before turning it into a potential career.