Here we’ll walk you through 10 ways you can get paid for playing games
Is it possible to make money playing games? The answer is, yes, absolutely! The global video game market is a multi-billion-dollar industry, supported by billions of players and hundreds of thousands of employees. Within this huge economic sector, there are many ways to make money from home.
Here we’ll walk you through 10 ways you can get paid for playing games, including methods that don’t require tech skills as well as ones that leverage technical know-how.
But first, let’s start by looking at the bottom line: how much can you make playing games?
- How Much Money Can You Make Playing Video Games?
- 1. Live Streaming
- 2. Creating Game Guides on Video Platforms
- 3. Writing Gaming Guides for Your Website
- 4. Offering Game Coaching Tips
- 5. Becoming a Video Game Journalist
- 6. Video Game Playtesting
- 7. Video Game Quality Assurance (QA) Testing
- 8. Video Game Development
- 9. Hosting a Gaming Podcast
- 10. Participating in Gaming Tournaments
How Much Money Can You Make Playing Video Games?
To appreciate the profit potential in gaming, consider the size of the video game industry. Globally, about two in five people play video games, with the number of gamers estimated to grow from 2.95 billion in 2022 to 3.07 billion by 2023, according to a report by game market research firm Newzoo.
The global video game market was valued at $195.65 billion in 2021, on track to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.9% from 2022 to 2030, according to a report by market analysis firm Grand View Research. This huge industry employed nearly 300,000 workers in 2020, industry data analyzed by market research firm IBISWorld indicates.
While this number doesn’t directly reflect the number of employees who earn a full-time living from video games, it indirectly illustrates the larger number of people required to sustain the industry. Besides hundreds of thousands of full-time office and remote workers, the video game industry is supported by a proportionate number of open-source developers, beta testers, reviewers, bloggers, brand ambassadors, social media marketers, and others. Within this vast infrastructure, there’s lots of room for video gamers who aren’t full-time employees to make extra money from their favorite hobby.
The Stardew Valley Success Story
How much money? To start with a best-case scenario, consider the story of Eric Barone, developer of Stardew Valley.
A computer science major who couldn’t find work, Barone originally had no intention of pursuing a career in gaming, but only started developing video games to keep his coding sharp so he could impress prospective employers. He became obsessed with perfecting Stardew Valley, often working on it 80 hours a week until his girlfriend dragged him off the computer.
His regime almost burned him out, but the hard work paid off in game quality. Stardew Valley was an instant hit upon its release in 2016, and by the next year, it had raked in $34 million. Barone soon had to hire staff to help him support millions of players.
Elspeth Eastman’s Live Streaming Success
Obviously, not everyone will achieve Barone’s level of success, but his story illustrates that you can earn a good living in gaming. To take another example, voice actress Elspeth Eastman, known for voicing Tristana in League of Legends, gets paid to stream live videos of herself gaming.
Because she has hundreds of thousands of followers, advertisers are willing to pay her for partnerships, and she also earns commissions for paid subscriptions. While she hasn’t disclosed her income publicly, analysts estimate that she earns as much as $646 a month from Twitch subscriptions and as much as $221 a month from her YouTube channel, in addition to her regular income as a voice actress.
Of course, you’re probably not a famous voice actress, and we can’t guarantee you’ll achieve the same income levels, at least not without a lot of hard work. But you can use similar strategies on a smaller scale to add to your current income or transition into earning a full-time living from video games. How much you earn will depend on which method you use and how you approach it. Here are 10 methods you can use to make money playing games:
How to Get Paid for Playing Games: 10 Methods
Some methods of earning money from gaming require you to be a skilled player or game developer. Others only require enthusiasm for gaming and a willingness to work. Our list of the 10 best ways to make money gaming includes:
1. Live Streaming
If you’re good at gaming or if you have an entertaining personality, you can make money live streaming yourself playing. Now you might be wondering, why would anyone want to watch me play, and why would anyone want to pay me to play? There are a number of reasons people like to watch other people play video games:
- To pick up tips from someone who is a more advanced player
- To witness exceptional gameplay
- To listen to someone who offers entertaining narration as they play
- To connect with others in the gaming community who are watching
The fact that people like to watch others play video games creates a number of ways to earn money from broadcasting gaming live streams:
- Viewers may make donations to express appreciation for good or entertaining play
- Avid viewers may sign up for paid subscriptions
- Attendees to special live-stream events may pay for tickets
- Gaming brands may sponsor players who attract attention to their games
- Advertises may pay players who have large followings
- Affiliate marketing partners may pay commissions for promoting their products
- Popular gamers can make and sell their own merchandise
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