Are you a fan of playing video games? What if you could earn a living playing Call of Duty, Fortnite, or any of your other favorite games?
Well, it might surprise you to learn that there are millions of people earning money through the video game industry.
Video games are big moneymakers, with the industry expected to top valuations of $300-billion by 2025. You can get a slice of that pie if you know what to do, and how to position yourself in the video game world.
We put together this list of ways to make money playing video games. Choose an occupation that suits your talents, and start taking action toward achieving your dreams.
1. Start a Career as a Game Developer
If being a superstar gamer on social channels leaves you feeling nervous, then consider working in the industry as a game developer. If you prefer coding over gameplay, then this is the ideal way to earn money in the gaming industry.
Major players in the gaming industry, such as Blizzard and Ubisoft hire game developers at an average starting salary of $83,000. However, you’ll need to be able to handle working under pressure. Game developers have a full plate, and you can expect to work long hours and over weekends and public holidays, especially when it’s close to the games launch date.
If you don’t like the thought of working for someone, then you can always start a company yourself. The most successful example of an independent game developer is Markus Persson, the person responsible for creating the popular game, “Minecraft.”
Markus founded “Mojang,” and Microsoft eventually bought him out for a whopping price tag of $2.5-billion. All you need to replicate their success is a good idea and some help from business professionals.
Learn the Skills at Udacity
Udacity is an online school which teaches lots of different tech related skills with the purpose of helping you find a job. They have a programming school so you can learn what you need to become a game developer.
They are worth checking out as they partner with companies to teach you the exact skills that employers are actually looking for.
If you signup for a course you get :
- Real-world projects to learn from, created by from industry experts
- Access to a 1-on-1 technical mentor
- Personal career coach and career services
2. Quality Assurance Officer
Video game programmer’s complete lines of code that bring a game to life. The developers spend hundreds, if not thousands, of hours building a game to ensure that the user experience is as immersive as possible.
Before they launch a game, video game companies rely on outside testing panels to explore the game before they complete the final version that goes to the market. As a quality assurance officer for a video game company, you’ll let the developers know what’s working with the game and where the game needs some attention.
A quality assurance tester is responsible for playing the game at the highest level, providing feedback to the developers of the experience that users can expect when they load it onto their machines and start playing the game. QA specialists play different builds and designs multiple times, giving their feedback to the development team.
When the QA tester has nothing to report, then the development team knows they have a finished product that ready for launch. Games can have multiple problems in the beta-testing phase. It’s common for glitches and mistakes to occur throughout the game, and QA testers are the developer’s last line of defense for finding all of the problems with the game before it goes to market.
Most QA testers work on contract, and it’s challenging to find a full-time position with a firm unless you sign up to be an in-house tester for a development company. On average, QA testers make between $10 and $15 per hour.
3. Video Game Tester
Some development companies hire gamers for in-house testing positions. Similar to a QA tester, a video game tester is responsible for playing the final version of the product.
However, these testers are successful and established gamers that have a foothold in the industry. Most testers have in-house positions with the development company, and they might also lead QA campaigns with other testers in the development phase of the game.
It might surprise you to learn that you can make a really good living as an in-house video game tester. The average pay packet for a tester is $67,813 per year, which is around 30% higher than the national salary average.
While testing video games might sound like plenty of fun, it’s also a lot of hard work. If you’re expecting to sit on the couch all day and play games, well, you’re partially right. Testers need to play the game thousands of times to uncover any issues with the gameplay before the development team prepares the game for launch.
4. Become a YouTuber
If you’re a successful gamer, consider starting a YouTube channel to increase your earnings. YouTube is one of the best platforms for gamers to put up their commentary on games.
You can live-stream your gaming sessions with commentary, review new games, or offer your thoughts on industry topics.
“PewDiePie” is the most successful example of a gamer that made money on YouTube. Currently, he has 102-million subscribers on his channel, and his videos have over 22-billion total views – that’s astounding.
As a result of his hard work building his channel, PewDiePie earns more than $500,000 per month from ad revenue on his videos, that’s more than $12-million per year!
All you need to start is to open your channel and start dropping content. However, it might take you some time to amass an audience and start earning money. YouTube has qualifying criteria; all new channels must meet before they can apply for monetization of their account.
As of 2019, YouTube’s Partner requirements for monetization need you to have more than 1,000-subscribers to your channel, as well as 4,000-hours of total view time on your videos over the last 12-months. YouTubers also create income through sponsorships as well.
When your channel starts gaining traction, you can reach out to gaming companies and other related industry partners to sponsor your videos.
For instance, you could get sponsorship from Razer for promoting their gaming products like laptops, headsets, and keyboards.
5. Stream Your Gaming Sessions on Twitch
Twitch is another online community started by gamers. The Twitch monetization model is similar to YouTube, where channels can earn advertising revenue through broadcasting their gaming sessions.
However, the requirements for monetizing your channel are laxer than YouTube, and you need the following to be eligible for ad revenue.
- 500-minutes of total broadcast time within the last 30-days
- 7-unique video broadcast days within the last 30-days
- A minimum of 3-concurrent viewers over the previous 30-days
- A minimum of 50-followers on your channel
The requirements are reasonably easy to achieve, and if you release exciting content, you could expect to achieve monetization for your channel in a month.
One of the most popular streamers on Twitch, “Ninja,” earned north of $10-million in 2018 from sponsorships and ad revenue on his channel, with the top 10 gamers streaming on Twitch earning a combined income of more than $20-million.
However, while these gamers have exceptional results, you’ll have to offer the community something special to earn income at this level.
Most players streaming on the platform earn anywhere between $10,000 to $40,000 per year – which is still a decent income for playing games and having fun with your friends online.
6. Compete in Gaming Tournaments
Gaming is becoming a big business. Today there are gaming tournaments for popular games like “Fortnite” and “Call of Duty.” These tournaments happen all over the world, from the United States to Japan. Registering for gaming tournaments is not a full-time occupation, and you might not have the opportunity to enter every tournament.
Epic Games hosted the 2019 Fornite Tournament, awarding a $3-million grand prize to the winner, 16-year old Kyle Giersdorf. Kyle played in front of an audience of over 2-million viewers, beating out the competition to claim his throne as the king of Fortnite.
UFC superstar, Sean O’Malley states that he earns $4,500 per month playing video game tournaments at home while he remains under suspension from the league for a USADA doping violation. That’s a great way to earn money while you’re stuck at home doing nothing.
7. Sign On to an eSports Team
With total revenues exceeding $869-million in 2018, eSports is becoming a global behemoth in the online video gaming world. Goldman Sachs expects the industry to triple by 2022, earning a staggering $2.96-bliion in revenues.
If you have a talent for gaming, then you can sign with an eSports team to play in tournaments hosted all over the world. Most eSports players average around $1,000 to $5,000 per month, and an annual salary of $60,000 is no small chunk of change.
Esports continues to grow, with regular tournaments held for games like League of Legends, Starcraft 2, Counterstrike, and Fortnite, among others.
If you want to earn a place on an eSports team, you’ll need to earn your keep. You’ll need a YouTube channel with a decent following, and it’s best if you specialize in a specific game, such as Fortnite or Call of Duty.
You don’t necessarily have to be a gamer to find work in the eSports industry. There are employment opportunities for the following positions in the eSports community.
- Hosting and emceeing live eSports events
- Commentating on eSports tournaments
- Coaching other sports players
- Managing eSports players
- Tournament referee
- Social media management for tournaments and teams
- Marketing and sales for eSports events
8. Video Game Journalism
If you have a talent for writing and reporting, you could make it with a career in video game journalism. Most video game journalists earn between $26,00 and $30,000 per year, making it one of the lowest-paying jobs in the sector.
However, if you have a passion for gaming, and you enjoy writing and drafting reports, then this job could be an excellent opportunity, even as a side-hustle.
To start as a journalist, you might need a degree in journalism, and some experience working in the sector. Some companies also offer paid internships where you can get a foothold in the industry.
You can also carve out a career as a freelance writer, you won’t need any formal education, just a sold grasp of the english language and a flair for writing in an engaging way.
We go into to more detail about this in our guide to becoming a freelance writer.
9. Customer Service Representative
The gaming industry requires a reliable support network, especially during a new release. As a customer service representative, you’ll assist gamers in overcoming the problems they experience while playing the game. You might have to deal with some angry clients, and the pay isn’t great, with most reps earning between $13 and $20 per hour.
There are game companies like Blizzard that also hire in-game administrators that play the game and offer other gamers support through an in-game chat. When applying for this position, the gaming company will care more about your customer service skills than your gaming skills.
10. Design and Sell Gaming Merch
If you search online for “Super Mario Bros t-shirt,” you’ll get thousands of results. It’s the same for any merchandise involving gaming.
Coffee mugs, mousepads, clothing, and cellphone covers are just a few examples of popular merch that gamers snap up in the millions.
- You can use a site like “Teespring” to help you sell t-shirts and other clothing online.
- All you need to do is hire a designer on a site like Fiverr and have them make you a design you think might sell.
- Then drag and drop your design onto the t-shirt or coffee mug on Teespring, and get a link from the platform which you can promote on social platforms.
Visit any YouTubers channel, and you’ll see that they all have merch available for sale. Merch is one of the most significant revenue streams for gamers, earning them thousands of dollars a year in profits.
11. Farm Gaming Currency
While most of the world already know about digital currencies like Bitcoin, many don’t realize that mining gaming currencies can also produce significant profits. Gamers use in-game currencies to purchase a variety of in-game products, such as weapons. People that don’t want to spend the time playing the game for a currency can purchase it from you to buy what they want in the game.
12. Coaching Gamers
If you’re a whizz at a specific game, then you can sell your skills online as a video game coach. Some coaches can earn as much as $200-per hour for teaching others their skillset. You’ll likely have to amass a following on YouTube or Twitch to gain your reputation as a coach.
The Final Thought – You Can Achieve Anything You Want in Life
Who would have thought you could make a living through video games?
Any of the careers mentioned above can net you real money in your bank account for involving yourself in the gaming industry.
If it’s your passion, then give it a shot, what do you have to lose but time?
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