It’s been said that people who love what they do never work a day in their lives. If gaming is your passion, it’s natural to think about how to earn money playing games. Make it work, and your passion could turn into a full-time gig that lets your family live in style.
We think it’s worthwhile for any talented gamer to find out how to make money playing video games.
But we have to be honest.
Few people get rich playing video games. It takes skill, practice, and a bit of luck to pull all the pieces together into a lucrative career.
But there are a few ways you can transform your love of gaming into a paycheck. If you’re looking to make money playing video games, try some of our favorite ideas:
- Enter a gaming competition.
- Upload videos to YouTube.
- Stream your gameplay on Twitch.
- Stream your gameplay on Mixer.
- Test video games.
- Write about video games.
Enter a Gaming Competition
The best way to play video games for money is to enter (and win) a competition. Not only will you take home a fat paycheck for winning, but you’ll capture the attention of potential sponsors. That could translate into thousands of dollars of revenue.
Major tournaments come with huge payouts. Winners of The International 9, for example, dip into a prize pool that totals more than $30 million, reporters say.
To win a tournament like this, devote your life to training. Professional gamers spend at least 50 hours each week playing and honing their skills, reporters say. Take even one day off, and you’ll lose your competitive edge.
All of that practice won’t matter if you don’t have inherent skill. If you’re just getting started with gaming and you lose more often than you win, this tip isn’t for you.
But if you’re already a decent gamer, you’re committed to practice, and you think you have a shot at taking home a big prize, why not try?
Upload Videos to YouTube
If you’re hoping to get paid to play video games at home, you’ll need to use the web to share your prowess. After all, no one will know what you’re doing with your gaming unless you start sharing snaps and vids. YouTube makes that easy.
With a YouTube account, you could share your best gaming moments, teach others how to play, or share your glittering personality. You’ll need plenty of followers to make the big bucks, and you’ll need a strategy.
Most successful YouTube personalities, experts say, find a way to monetize their audience. They sell merchandise, they sell tickets to events, and they ask for sponsorships from businesses. They don’t just show up and watch the money roll in. They consider it a full-time job, and they supplement YouTube with other things. Do that, and YouTube could be a viable way to make money.
Stream Your Gameplay on Twitch
Earn money playing video games with the help of Twitch. You’ll be supported by donations from fans, commercials on the platform, and more. It takes time to build a devoted following, but it could be well worth the effort.
Experts say that the top 10 Twitch streamers pull in over $20 million each year. Those people have a lot in common. They all:
- Started early. When Twitch was new, it was easy to get noticed. Now, it’s harder for new gamers to make a splash.
- Play well. No one likes watching someone lose over and over again. The best gamers do things newbies find challenging.
- Have thousands of followers. Twitch donations are easier to get when you have a big pool of potential donors.
- Excel at banter. People come to Twitch to watch the gaming. But they stay because of the chatter and conversation.
Devote time to Twitch, and you could see a similar level of success. But don’t be discouraged if it takes time to get traction.
Stream Your Gameplay on Mixer
We’ve mentioned that Twitch is a crowded space. Consider Mixer a good alternative. This streaming site is relatively new, and it could be just what you need to achieve the fame you want.
Mixer works quite a bit like Twitch. People can buy donations (called Embers) to donate to the gamers they love. But people can also earn donation money (called Sparks) without spending a dime. If they earn enough in Sparks, they can shoot it off to the gamers they appreciate without any investment at all.
Reporters are suggesting that this is some kind of “secret sauce” that could make Mixer a valid way to earn money by playing games full-time. It’s true that having multiple methods to get money from fans could mean the difference between getting a paycheck and going without one.
But it’s worth repeating that you’ll need to build up an audience of dedicated fans to make this work. If people aren’t watching your channel, they’re not likely to give you any kind of donation, whether they have to pay for it or not. So you’ll still need to play well, grab attention, and do all you can to make people follow you and give you donations. It can be a full-time job.
Test Video Games
Testing lets you earn money playing video games, although you may never get famous for doing so. The games you test may never hit the market, and even if they do, you probably won’t get credit for your work. But if you’re interested in money more than fame, this could be a great gig for you.
Video game testers are responsible for:
- Finding glitches. You might play the same level of the same game for hours, looking for broken bits that need repair.
- Documenting your experience. Developers want to know how people move through their games. You might be asked to record your play for your supervisors.
- Suggesting improvements. If you spot something that would work better with a bit of a tweak, you’ll pass that along.
- Testing equipment. You might move from a computer to a console to a handheld to make sure the game always works.
Some testers work full-time for gaming development companies. Sometimes, testers work on a freelance basis. Our research on Indeed suggests that your salary can rise with experience, but you won’t make big bucks unless you have experience as a game designer or producer.
Write About Video Games
When gamers want to know more about how games work, they turn to blogs. If you’re a decent writer, you could parlay your experience playing games into a good writing job.
Video game writers create all kinds of content, including:
- How-to articles.
- Product releases.
- Industry news.
- Equipment reviews.
You could work for a company that hosts a successful gaming blog, or you could work on a freelance basis for companies that need gaming content. You could even start your own blog.
Bloggers rarely make the big bucks. Our research on Indeed suggests that some bloggers make very little money at all. But if you get hired full-time by a company to create content, that company could cover your medical bills, retirement expenses, and more. That could make room in your budget for more consoles, games, and sweet tech. For some people, it’s a good tradeoff of talent for time.
Know that writing will eat into your gaming time, so if you want to spend your days with console in hand, this might not be right for you. But it could be a good gig for people with a knack for words and some gaming skills.
You Can Make Money by Playing Video Games
These are just a few of our best ideas about making money from your gaming passion. There are many more. The bottom line is that you can turn your hobby into a career, and plenty of people do just that every day.
But transforming a hobby into a job will take hard work and dedication. Money won’t come falling from the sky and into your wallet. You’ll need to work for it. But if you have the passion for making it work, go for it!
The International 9 ‘Dota 2’ Tournament Prize Pool Breaks $30 Million. (July 2019). Forbes.
Here’s the Insane Training Schedule of a 20-Something Professional Gamer. (May 2015). Business Insider.
How Much Do YouTubers Really Make? (March 2019). Forbes.
How Much Do Top Twitch Streamers Make? (November 2018). Media Kix.
Video Game Tester. Indeed.
Video Gaming Blog. Indeed.