Do you love playing video games? Do you enjoy making money?
Have you considered finding a way to monetize your gaming habit? It's one of the newest ways to make money online, and unlike other side hustles and side jobs, it's a fun way to earn real money in your spare time.
Play video games, post them on your social media platforms, and get paid. Pretty awesome, right?
Despite what your 8th-grade English teacher might have told you, you can earn extra cash playing video games. Many people turn their love of their favorite games into part-time or even full-time income by just being able to play mobile games.
If you already spend a ton of time gaming, why not take it to the next level? Try out some of these ideas to earn extra money just for playing popular games.
How To Make Money Playing Video Games?
Recent years have seen the growth of new monetization opportunities for the gaming industry. As a result, there are now far more options to make money gaming than you would imagine.
These 17 ideas will show you how to make money playing video games.
1. Get Paid To Play Games on Your Mobile Device
Play Solitaire Cash
Get paid to play your favorite classic game for real cash prizes with Solitaire Cash. Fill your pockets with rewards when you jump into this game of brain-teasing fun.
Download Solitaire Cash for free to start competing in cash tournaments to win real money with no ads to interrupt your gaming…turn your skills into dollar bills!
Note: Cash tournaments are not available in the following states: AZ, AR, IN, IA, LA, ME, MD, SC, MT, and SD.
Available on iOS and Samsung.
Play Bubble Cash
Test your bubble-shooting skills with this fun, free app. Bubble Cash has a fun modern twist and is perfect if you love solving puzzles and have a competitive spirit.
Compete against multi-players to see who will be the fastest to blast their bubbles and clear the board – players who finish in the top-3 ranking wins! Plus, enjoy ad-free play so you won't be distracted while popping bubbles.
Note: Restricted in US states: AZ, AR, IN, IA, LA, ME, MT, SC, SD.
Available on iOS.
Play Bingo Cash
Download the free Bingo Cash app and start playing your favorite game from your couch. Just as good as the classic but with daily bonuses, fun challenges, and skill-based tournaments.
Plus, enjoy an ad-free experience so you can play without being interrupted. Win real cash prizes and cash out securely via PayPal. Turn your skills into dollar bills with Bingo Cash!
Note: Cash tournaments are not available in the following states: AZ, AR, IA, LA, DE, and SC.
Available on iOS and Samsung.
Mistplay is an excellent app available for Android devices that will pay you for trying out specific games on their platform.
The app rewards users with free gift cards for playing different games on their mobile device. For example, users can join in-app games to receive gift cards from retailers like Amazon, Google Play, and even virtual Visa gift cards by earning points.
Mistplay compensates you for the amount of time you play the game on their mobile app. You can even play with friends and level up your avatar to unlock achievements and earn units – Mistplay's virtual currency – faster. They also support user communications and offer a chat feature, encouraging connections among others in the gaming community. The great thing about Mistplay is that users are never charged fees of any sort.
Available on Android.
Play Money Well
Calling all casual gamers: try your luck and win money by playing fun games in your spare time. This free Android app will track the active time you're playing the game. Collect tickets as you play and redeem them for free gift cards or money.
2. Video Game Coaching
Being a video game coach is an up-and-coming way to make money in the gaming world. For example, you can offer to coach your favorite gaming tournaments and turn them into a new side hustle.
Depending on their skill level, video game coaches can earn a lot of money, with sessions costing between $20 to $200 per hour. For example, Metaphor (a League of Legends coach mentioned in the YouTube section) charges anywhere from $50 to $80 per hour for his coaching services.
Getting started as a coach typically means gaining an audience through a platform like YouTube and offering your services to your audience.
3. Video Game Testing
A ‘video game tester' or ‘beta tester' suits people who love trying new games. The most significant difference between a quality assurance (QA) tester and video game testers is that a QA tester deals with a product that already meets a certain level of quality as desired by the video game developer.
By contrast, being a professional game tester involves trying to ‘break' a game, find ways to mess it up, or analyze why it may or may not be fun for users. This provides much insight to the game designers as to where their game needs improvement.
4. Professional Gaming
Professional players compete worldwide and win millions at competitive gaming events sponsored by the Major League Gaming (MLG) circuit, the International Dota 2 championship, and Intel Extreme Masters. MLG has built arenas to host and stream live professional gaming events nationwide. It even has scouts and online communities to find the best-undiscovered players.
The best advice for going pro is to pick a particular game you're already good at and become a top player. From there, focus on building your reputation as a skilled, team player. Then it is time to enter the esports arena!
5. Start a YouTube Channel
The financial gain for gamers in the content creation space is full of potential.
Through YouTube, you can grow your channel and monetize your content. While it takes a lot of hard work to become a successful YouTuber, there is much money to be made.
Once you've mastered the required steps to monetize your channel, you can take your content in any direction. So whether you want to do live streams, critique others' gaming, or offer tutorials on gaming tips and tricks, YouTube is an excellent platform to address all these subjects.
We recommend using YouTube to further your gaming research, too. If you're looking for in-depth information on how to make money playing video games or improving your gaming habits, YouTube has a wealth of related content. Whatever your approach is, starting with YouTube is the way to go.
These articles can help you start building an additional revenue stream by creating video content:
Many professional gamers stream their online play to turn a profit. Twitch, an online streaming mecca, is the most popular streaming platform for gamers.
Monetizing your streaming is possible through an on-platform advertising feature similar to Google Adsense. You get paid for the number of views you get. Twitch has a monetization structure similar to YouTube that requires you to build a following and apply for monetization status once you've established yourself as a gamer who can drive traffic to the site.
6. Make Money From Ads
Twitch will compensate you in various ways when you've become a monetized streamer. For every subscriber who visits your channel, you will receive $5.00. You will also have the option to earn ad revenue for your channel. This will enable you to receive monetary compensation for ads on your page. For every 1,000 ad views you receive, you'll earn $3.00.
Some of the most popular streamers can become a Twitch Partner, earning them more revenue.
7. Amazon Affiliate Links
Twitch also allows its users to earn by sharing their Amazon affiliate links. This means gamers can recommend products and items available on Amazon and collect a commission when viewers click on their link and make a purchase on Amazon.
This is a passive income generation method for players to advertise items and products they like to anyone who views their channel and, in some cases, can make a lot of money doing so.
8. PayPal Donations
Many successful gamers have found that they can earn money by soliciting and receiving PayPal donations from loyal fans or sponsors.
Gamers have found a good way to entice people to donate is by inviting fans to help them continue playing at their current intensity. They ask for money, and people give it so they can keep watching their favorite gamers play.
Part of enabling this commitment is assuring the gamer can financially satisfy their basic living needs. Okay, maybe some of their needs aren't so “basic,” but you get the picture.
Many viewers will send PayPal donations because they want to learn and replicate the tips and tricks the player uses.
Donating to a gamer's PayPal account becomes much more reasonable if you consider gaming a performance art – it beats giving the cash to your younger brother for playing video games.
Practical Tips To Increase Revenue When Live Streaming
As we mentioned above, thinking of gaming as performance art is the best way to grasp how to achieve the most success. Live stream gamers need to be engaging.
They should have larger-than-life personalities that attract a high volume of views. This goes hand-in-hand with having a voice that is enjoyable to listen to. If a gamer isn't pleasing to listen to or dull, they may turn viewers off.
Another piece of the live-streaming puzzle is creating consistent content. You'll want viewers to know when to tune in to your streaming. Keeping a regular streaming schedule will help them get in the habit of watching you on a particular day and time.
Networking is the final piece of live-stream gaming. Interacting with your viewers, fellow live streamers, and sponsors are some of the most effective methods to advance your reputation and bankroll.
Much like business networking, live stream gaming requires an equal, if not more, investment in your relationships.
9. Contact Potential Sponsors
Once you have grown a following (whether on YouTube, Twitch, or elsewhere), you will likely want to contact sponsors to generate more revenue. This is very similar to how TV producers used to seek out sponsors for their programming.
Improve your chances of impressing potential sponsors by ensuring your channel expresses a specific style and ethos, which may align with your sponsors' goals. You will then want to search for brands you like and express interest in partnering with them. Also, consider whether or not you would use their products (this is important since you'll be marketing for that brand!)
The most crucial part is that you present yourself as someone who would be a great fit to sponsor their brand.
10. Create Gameplay Tutorials
Gameplay tutorials are a great way to attract new viewers and monetize gameplay. Your YouTube channel or streaming site will earn money with every person that clicks on it. Advertisers pay Google, for instance, to display ads on videos. Google, a division of Alphabet, owns YouTube.
To begin, open an AdSense account and link it to your YouTube account. Then, choose whether you want video or banner ads to display.
It does take more time to make money off the concept of video game tutorials. You need to grow your audience into the thousands to make decent money with this avenue – so don't quit your day job just yet.
11. Compete in Tournaments
While not a consistent source of money (unless you're incredibly talented), winning video game tournaments for competitive games like Call of Duty, League of Legends, Fortnite, etc., can net you some serious cash.
One of the world's top esports competitors, Timothy Miller (aka “Bizzle”), earns around $322k per year in cash prizes for participating in Fortnite tournaments.
This is probably the most straightforward way to make money playing video games. Still, it's not a big earner unless you're extremely good at the game and consistently win.
12. Quality Assurance Tester
Video games are ultimately the result of computer programming. For game designers to get the look right and the game to feel realistic, they need outside feedback. So game design companies hire independent people – or QA testers – to tell them what works and what doesn't.
The designers and developers need to know how users feel about a new game or upgraded design, not just technical problems. So they're not testing the wiring or circuitry or power supply. Instead, like kids with a new toy, they're trying to see how much more fun a new or upgraded game is for players than those already on the market.
QA testers don't just play a game to its highest possible level. They play different designs and builds multiple times until they find nothing to object to and report on their experience.
Think of working in QA as being paid to solve multiple puzzles. Any glitch, mistake, or thing wrong in a program must be reproducible, so developers can determine how to eliminate it.
Much QA tester work is contract work, but it could still pay between $10 and $15 an hour – not a bad wage for playing video games!
13. Become a Game Developer
Another way to earn as a gamer is to create the games yourself. Game developers at major companies like Ubisoft or EA earn an average salary of $83,000. However, jobs for major game companies are notoriously stressful and tend to force you to work long hours and holidays.
Alternatively, you can become a solo game developer and make money through game sales and in-game purchases. For example, Minecraft was developed solely by Markus Persson through his company, Mojang. He sold Mojang to Microsoft for a whopping $2.5 billion.
14. Work as a Video Game Journalist
Another avenue is journalism. However, most video game journalists earn around $26,000 annually, making it one of the lowest-income opportunities on this list.
But if you love games, writing, and reporting, this is a great opportunity, and you can earn much more as your skill increases!
You'll need a bachelor's degree and some journalistic experience (like a school paper or an internship) to start as a journalist. An unpaid internship is a great way to get your foot in the door as a video game journalist.
15. Work in Customer Service for a Game Company
Like every other industry, gamers also need customer support. Becoming a customer service rep for a game company is a great way to get paid in the video game industry. The average customer service representative makes $13.64 per hour, with some making up to $20 per hour.
Like Blizzard, some companies even have in-game admins who play the game and deliver support via the in-game chat function.
Getting an internship is one of the best ways to start this career path. Landing this job is more about your customer service skills than your gaming skills. You have to be good with people and have excellent communication skills.
16. Create & Sell Video Game Inspired Merchandise
One of the most remarkable ways to get paid to play is by creating and selling your game-inspired merchandise. For example, go on Etsy and type “Legend of Zelda” — you get over 16,000 results of t-shirts, figurines, coffee mugs, and more.
If you take this route, you're creating a business; the sky's the limit regarding how much you can make. However, getting to $50,000 yearly is possible with the right product and excellent marketing skills.
You'll need to figure out precisely what products you want to sell to get started on this. From there, you can determine what you need to make those items.
17. Farm In-Game Currency
Many Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games have a farmable in-game currency that people who don't feel like earning their time can pay for.
Next to customer service work, this is probably the most time-consuming and lowest-paying opportunity. Gold farmers in countries like China do this for a relatively low amount daily. This is not the most popular form of getting that extra cash through gaming, but it is worth noting on this list as an option.
Now that you have an entire list of options, explore which ones are best for you.
Remember, making substantial money while playing your favorite video games will take time and effort.
Consider trying several different strategies at the same time. For example, you could try both streaming and doing game tutorials. Grab your controller and start on your journey toward making money by playing your favorite video games.
This post was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Michael launched Wealth of Geeks to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.