What do you want to do when you grow up?
Maybe you’ve been asked this question too, and the first thought that came to your mind was “VIDEO GAMES!” Who wouldn’t want to make a living playing video games?
The good news is that you can make a money playing video games. In this day and age there are multiple avenues in which an individual can make some cash gaming. That’s the good news! The bad news is that it’s not easy. There are more people than ever trying to make money with video games. But don’t let this stop you! We believe that if you work hard and hone your craft you can make money doing what you love.
Here’s a list of how to make money playing video games:
What it is – Create a weekly or monthly podcast dedicated to video games! Bring guests onto your show or do a round-table discussion. Talk about the video game industry, your favorite video games, or have a conversation from a different gaming angle. Get creative in what type of show you want to make. We’ve been making the Hey You Video Game! for over a year now, and it’s been a fun creative pursuit of ours. The beauty of podcasting is the level of freedom you have. Find your voice, and start recording!
The Tough Part – There are countless gaming related podcasts out there. Many of them are well established, and the genre is filled to the brim with brilliant pods. We’re not trying to crush your dreams, but just give you a dose of reality. To make money podcasting about video games you’ll need to build an audience, and this takes time! It’s taken us a year to build a listening audience of 70 regular listeners. With a larger audience you can make money through advertisements or by starting a Patreon.
Just Start – If starting a video game podcast excites you than I can’t recommend you enough to JUST START! We wrote an entire guide on how to start a video game podcast that lays out what you need to do to get going. It’s not very complicated to start a podcast. Perhaps the most difficult part of podcasting is finding your voice and the style for your pod. The best way to find your style is by just going forward and starting. Don’t worry if your first episodes don’t sound the best. Don’t aim for perfection. The more you do it the better you’ll get.
Great Examples – Check out Kotaku’s Splitscreen, The Game Train, Girls on Games, and of course you could give us at Hey You Video Game! a listen.
2) YouTube Channel
What it is – You’ll need to decide what type of video game channel you want to be. You can be a channel that produces guides, how-to tutorials, and other videos to help people play through various video games. With this kind of channel you’ll want to be producing YouTube videos such as, “13 Tips and Tricks to Beating the Final Boss in Sonic the Hedgehog.”
Another option for your gaming channel is to make funny and entertaining content. You can record gameplay of different games, and edit them to get some laughs. I wouldn’t recommend this unless you’re a genuinely funny person. If you’re the only person who thinks you’re funny than you might want to skip the comedy.
The last type of gaming YouTube channel is one that reviews video games. If you like to critically reflect on video games and weigh in on them than this would be a great channel for you to pursue.
For most YouTubers the main source of income is based on your viewership. The more views you have, the larger the paycheck will be.
The Tough Part – Just like any work you’ll need to be consistent and create quality material. Starting a YouTube channel is hard work that takes time. You’ll want to work on your editing skills and hone in the style and direction for your channel. The YouTubers who are most successful are consistent in quality and output. Everyone dreams of their first video going viral, but the reality is that it’s very rare for that to happen. Work on hard on your channel, and over time you’ll build an audience that loves your work and revenue will begin to float in.
Just Start – Create a YouTube channel right now. Stop toying with the idea and go for it. Download OBS (free recording software for PC) and begin recording your gameplay. Purchase a cheap microphone for voice overs, and start learning how to edit videos. If you don’t have a video editing software you can download DaVinci Resolve for free. (Lemonsmith uses it, and it’ll meet your needs!)
Creating videos for YouTube can cause you to feel overwhelmed at first, but begin anyway. Your first videos are going to be mediocre, but as you continue to pump out gaming content you’ll grow as a YouTuber and creator. If you start a channel, please link to it in the comments below!
Great Examples – Some of our favorite gaming YouTubers are Videogamedunkey, WackyJacky, our boy Lemonsmith, and MrRoffleWaffles
What it is – This is the most literal answer to the question “how do you make money playing video games?” Streaming has opened the door for you to make cash for playing video games. There are thousands of gamers who now make money playing their favorite video games. It’s a dream job for many, and countless numbers have started to pursue the life of a streamer. Streamers make an income from ads and donations. The larger their audience the more money they make.
The Tough Part – Streaming seems like a great job, but like most things it can get old very fast. Streaming for money can poison your passion and love for gaming. Many popular streamers have seemed to lose their love for gaming after months of constant gaming. Are you sure you want to go this route?
Secondly, you’ll need to have something that makes you stand out. Dr. DisRespect has a persona, Shroud is insane at first person shooters, and Ninja is ridiculous at Fortnite. Why should someone choose to watch you play video games? Answer this question in a creative way and there’s high chance that people will come to watch your channel.
Just Start – Decide whether you’ll be streaming on Twitch or Mixer and create an account. Next you’ll need to start streaming. If you’re going for a personality like Dr. Disrespect than pick your persona, but if you’re going to be you then you’re ready to go as soon as you setup your system for streaming. If you’re already streaming and want to grow your viewership we wrote some tips on how to get more followers here.
Great Example – The King of Twitch. Dr.DisRespect
4) Competitive Gaming
What it is – Get into the eSport scene winning tournaments and getting sponsorships. If you’re the best of the very best in a game that has a competitive scene than there is money to be made.
The Tough Part – Only the best players make money, and even then it’s not always a lucrative career path. The hours are long for many who are professional competitive gamers, and they are not always compensated fairly.
Just Start – You will need to do three things. Practice your game until you truly are competitive at the professional level. Once you are at the pro-level of skill you’ll want to start searching for a team to join. It is entirely possible that if you are that good than a team will contact you. Lastly, start joining and playing in tournaments. Tournaments will not only sharpen your skills as a player, but if you win tournaments you will get your name out there.
5) Gaming Journalism
What it is – You are a bonafide writer and love gaming? Have you thought about writing for the gaming industry? You can either start applying for a job at one of the larger gaming news outlets or begin freelancing.
The Tough Part – Jobs are limited for journalists, and the competition is fierce. Gita Jackson who is a journalist for Kotaku said this…
1) Write a LOT. Start teaching yourself how to report. Freelance like crazy, network like crazy. There are so few jobs in this industry that you are going to have to be very, very good in order to get hired somewhere, or at least, offer a skill or knowledge that an outlet does not already have.
2) At the most, you’re going to see job openings at any outlet once or twice a year. EVERYONE will apply for those. I was very lucky to get this gig, and also worked my ass off for it. For a long time I supplemented my income with a day job and other freelance gigs. Be prepared to do the same
6) Video Game Website
What it is – A website loaded with video game content and articles. It can be reviews, gaming opinions, guides, tutorials, tips, and more. The point is to create a website related to gaming that attracts visitors. You can make income through advertisements on the site or affiliate marketing. Depending on the size of the site and the amount of visitors you have will determine how much money you’ll be making.
The Tough Part – Not only do you have to a passion for video games, but you’ll need to have some web developing and writing skills. Unfortunately we can’t offer much help in terms of writing, but we did create an easy tutorial on how to setup a website. You can check out our guide by clicking here. Like most of the endeavors it will take a lot of time to create enough content to begin making revenue.
Just Start – Check out our guide to creating a video game website, and start! It can take 6-8 months for an article to start appearing in Google Search, and so we recommend that you start writing content and publishing it ASAP. The sooner you begin the sooner you can start making money.
Great Examples – We particularly enjoy Rock Paper Shotgun.