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Getting paid to play video games is the dream. There’s a reason why gaming is one of my top passion fire categories! It’s fun, it’s fairly inexpensive, and you can make money doing it! Here’s how to make money playing video games – you’ll probably be surprised at how many different ways there are to do it!
Can You Make a Living Playing Video Games?
The first question people ask when considering how to make money playing video games is whether you can make a living gaming. Yes, some people have been able to turn their love of gaming into a full-time income. However, that’s not the full story.
What people don’t like to tell you is that making a living gaming is hard! Most streamers don’t make all that much money, and most of these ways to get paid playing video games aren’t going to pay you enough to leave your full-time job.
Even so, they are great ways to make some extra income, and who knows, maybe you will be the next Pokemane and make millions of dollars playing video games!
How Much Can You Get Paid to Play Video Games?
Some people make millions of dollars playing video games. But, as I said, those results aren’t typical. Most people are only going to make a few extra bucks gaming, and that’s okay too. There are quite a few ways to make money playing video games, and the path you chose can determine how much money you make. For example, if you chose to play an app that pays you money to play, you’re going to make less than you would by starting your own business becoming huge on Twitch.
How to Make Money Playing Video Games
There are actually quite a few ways to earn extra money playing games. Some can be extremely profitable if you put a lot of work into it. Others are don’t have a lot of income potential, but you can score some sweet prizes.
Here’s a look at all the different ways you can make money gaming – from playing your favorite video games to an audience to getting involved in the video game industry, there’s a way for you to make money gaming.
LiveStream Your Gameplay on Twitch
My favorite way to make money playing video games is streaming on Twitch. This is one of the methods of earning money that can be extremely lucrative.
The keywords here are “can be.” Although some Twitch streamers can make millions of dollars, most don’t even make enough to make the monthly payout threshold of $100. It takes a lot of time, energy, and networking to make this much money as a streamer. In fact, I see streaming on Twitch as the modern version of starting a rock band. Some folks will make it huge, but the vast majority won’t.
I’m not saying all of this to crush your dreams. Although you probably won’t make millions, you can still turn gaming into a profitable side hustle with Twitch. It’s fairly easy to become a Twitch affiliate, and you can start monetizing from there. Most people don’t make any money on it because they don’t network, and they don’t do anything to grow their brand or their business. They think they can just throw their stream online, and people will come. Nothing in life works that way. You have to treat it like a business, network, and put the effort in both on and off stream. If you do that, you should be able to build your Twitch audience and turn playing games into a viable side hustle.
LiveStream with Other Gaming Platforms
Although I prefer streaming on Twitch, there are alternative platforms you can use to stream. However, in my opinion, Twitch is the easiest to monetize- so if your top goal is to make money playing video games as soon as possible, Twitch is probably the best option.
However, YouNow is a great alternative that makes it easy for streamers to make money, and Facebook Gaming is the biggest competitor if you’re looking for a live streaming platform with lots of potential fans.
Start a Youtube Channel and Upload Your Gameplay
Although you can live stream directly to YouTube, another way to monetize playing video games is to upload your gameplay to YouTube. An advantage of this is that you can edit and curate your gameplay to show the highlights or important parts. Many people turn to YouTube to figure out how to solve specific puzzles or beat important bosses, and you can upload short videos showing these specific in-game actions.
Content that does well on Youtube includes gameplay tutorials, dungeon or level walk-throughs, and interesting character builds. You can also use YouTube to upload other gaming-related content, such as reviews, interviews with gamers, and other types of commentary. Some folks, such as Angry Video Game Nerd, have made an entire career of commenting on bad game mechanics. If you are creative and have a video camera, making gaming-related content for YouTube is a great way to get paid to play.
To start monetizing your YouTube channel, you need 1000 subscribers and over 4000 watch hours. It’s difficult to achieve these levels, but if you are great at a certain game and know all the secrets, it could be worthwhile to upload your gameplay – especially if it’s difficult.
If you want to learn more about starting a Youtube channel, check out Video Ranking Academy. VRA provides you with everything you need to know about starting your channel, researching your videos, and building an online empire with Youtube.
Make Money with a Mobile App
Have you ever thought about how to make money playing video games just by using a mobile app? Well, you’re in luck! There are actually apps out there that pay you real money to play games.
Oftentimes, you will see apps like Swagbucks, Survey Junkie, Inbox Dollars, and other survey sites on posts about how to make money playing video games. These apps serve their purpose, but they aren’t real games. Some of them try to gamify the survey process, but they aren’t a lot of fun in reality. If your only goal is to make extra money, they can be a great option. But don’t let folks fool you – they aren’t legit games.
What Apps Pay You Real Money to Play Games?
However, there are actually apps out there that pay you money to play games. Of course, most don’t offer cold hard cash. Instead, they offer payment in the form of gift cards.
Mistplay is my favorite money-making app. It has a plethora of free games, and it pays you real money (ahem – gift cards) to play them.
Mistplay doesn’t create the games themselves. It partners with a variety of gaming apps to pay you money to play. You can find puzzle games, adventure games, card games, and more through Mistplay.
This app allows you to earn cash in a couple of different ways. Leveling up in games is the easiest way to make money, but you also earn through bonuses. You can even “earn money” by spending money with in-app purchases, but I never recommend paying for stuff in mobile games. Those micro-transactions add up, and you won’t make more on Mistplay than you spend. However, if there is a game that you love that you spend money on anyway, it doesn’t hurt to see if Mistplay offers it. You can recoup some of the cash you spend on it.
Mistplay offers a variety of awards, including Amazon gift cards and gift cards to a variety of other cool online stores.
Unfortunately for Apple users, this app is only available on Android. But if you’re an Android user who loves mobile gaming – you definitely need this app!
Buff is essentially a rewards program for gamers. It’s great because it’s available both as a mobile app, but also on your PC – so you can earn money wherever you like to play!
Buff games is partnered with a plethora of both desktop and mobile games, so there are plenty of options for getting paid to game. Some of the desktop games you can earn money with are League of Legends, Fortnight, Apex Legends, and Call of Duty, while mobile users can earn with Star Brawls and Clash of Clans.
To start earning, simply download Buff and let it run in the background while you play your favorites. You will earn Buff Points, which you can redeem for gift cards at many of your favorite stores, including Steam, Playstation, Xbox, and Nintendo.
There are multiple ways to earn rewards, or “tokens” with Lucktastic. You can download game apps, enter contests, play scratch-off games, watch videos, take surveys and sign up for offers to win tokens. The tokens can either be traded in for real gift cards, or you can use them to enter to win even more contests. For example, they have cash bonanza giveaways, vacation giveaways, and other similar contests that you can use your tokens to enter.
This is the only app that pays you real cash. It’s not easy to win, but some of the scratch-off games offer real cash prizes. Once you reach the fifteen dollar threshold in real cash winning, you can have a check mailed.
Lucktastic isn’t a gaming app at its core. You don’t actually get paid to play mobile games with this app. However, I included it here because the scratch-off games that they offer are actually a ton of fun. You also earn tokens when you download a game and play for the first time, but after that initial download, you don’t earn anything else through Lucktastic. However, most of the games you can download through Lucktastic are also on Skillz, and you can earn money playing them with that app.
Skillz is an app that combines gaming tournaments with mobile gaming. You can win real money by defeating others in these competitions. Although some of them are free to enter, the ones with the highest payouts have entry fees.
I was shocked that the variety of games available to play tournament style. There are card games, bingo games, E-Sports games, and even some puzzle games – all with the added bonus of playing to beat others. It’s a pretty cool concept for an app and definitely worth checking out if you are a competitive mobile gamer.
Gamehag is like a cross between those survey apps we mentioned and Mistplay. Although it does offer a few games that you can earn money with, there aren’t many. However, you can earn a lot of points by completing their little challenges, which typically include signing up for stuff you don’t actually want and taking surveys.
They have a very limited selection of games you can play. There are only five actual mobile games available, but it does include Raid: Shadow Legends and Elvenar. They also have a few mini-games, and a few of the sign-up bonuses are also for mobile games.
There are individual games that will pay you real money in gift card form to play them, but most of them partner with the apps listed above. For example, you can win real money with Blackout Bingo and Solitaire Club, but that’s mostly if you use them in conjunction with Skillz and Lucktastic. (Hint – download the game from Luckstastic first to earn the tokens, then play through Skillz so that you can be part of the contests and earn even more!).
Most of the individual games that pay you money aren’t free. You will need to pay to enter tournaments, and you only earn cash if you win that tournament.
Playing in Video Game Tournaments for Money
If you are really amazing at a certain game, you should check to see if they have tournaments. Some E-Sports have full leagues, and other games, such as LOL, Rocket League, and even some first-person shooters, have tournaments that you can enter and win real money. The winners of the 2018 Halo World Championship won five hundred thousand dollars!
One thing to keep in mind before entering a tournament is that these folks are professionals. This is where gaming meets sports, and the best of the best compete to win. If you aren’t at a professional level, the likelihood that you will win one of these competitions is slim.
Blog About Gaming
A slightly different but still relevant way to make money gaming is to start a video game blog. If you’re going to go this route, you have to be realistic. It takes a long time and a lot of work to make money blogging. However, if you want to combine a love of gaming with a passion for the written word, starting a blog might be a great way to monetize your gaming habit.
There are a plethora of things you can write about as a gaming blogger. You can write game or console reviews, walk-throughs, video game tutorials, and even write posts celebrating the best moments in certain franchises.
Blogging is great because once you get it up and running, you can make passive income through affiliate sales and display ads. You can also use it as a platform to sell your own ebooks or freelance services.
Start your own website with Bluehost for a super low cost!
If you’re already a gaming blogger, consider joining the Insiders Geek/Gaming mix, a group of bloggers in the gaming niche dedicated to helping each other grow. Start your trial for only $1 a month!
Become a Video Game Coach
People are paying big bucks to learn how to play certain video games well. Although there is a demand for coaches across a variety of games, multiplayer battle royale games such as Apex Legends tend to have the highest demand.
If you’re amazing at this or similar games, sign up to become a coach. Some video game coaches can earn upwards of 3K per month coaching! Although there are online platforms dedicated to connecting coaches with gamers looking to increase their skills, you can also find work as a freelancer on websites such as Fivver.
Before you decide to become a coach, make sure you are good at the game. Coaches earn money by helping their clients get better, so only the best of the best can make good money in this industry.
Careers in Gaming
So far, we’ve only discussed ways to make money on the side with gaming. But, if you’re asking how to make money playing video games, have you considered an actual career in gaming? Video game companies are always looking for new talent to create, develop, and test new game offerings.
Quality Assurance Tester
Playing the game is more fun than making the game for most people, but there are careers, such as quality assurance testers, that are dedicated to playing the game. QA testers play through games prior to release, looking for glitches, trying to break things, and ensuring that everything is ready for the public
You can find quality assurance tester positions on job search websites like Indeed. These aren’t generally highly paid positions, but they are great stepping stones into the game development field.
If you’re passionate about video games and want to share that with the world, consider becoming a game developer. Game developers design and code the games, and can also assist with character and world development.
To become a game developer, you need a background in computer science and programming, and also experience with a variety of game development software. The average pay for game developers is nearly 100K per year.
Graphic Designer/Game Artist
If you don’t have the programming skills to become a game developer, consider a career in designing video games. This career field is great for creatives, artists, and illustrators who love gaming.
The top of this field is the creative director position, which can earn $80k per year. Lower-level artists, graphic designers, animators, and illustrators can make between $45K-75K per year.
Video Game Journalist
If you want to write about gaming but don’t want to start your own blog, consider becoming a video game journalist. Journalists make on average $50K per year, and can cover topics such as gaming conventions, tournaments, and professional gaming events.
As a journalist, you don’t have to be tied to a specific company. Many journalists make a full career from freelancing, pitching their stories to a wide array of publications.
Video Game Customer Service
Being a customer service representative isn’t glamourous and it’s traditionally low-paying. However, working at a retail outlet like Gamestop has its advantages. Although you don’t get free games, you can test out used games for up to three days (if there are enough in stock) and you can play at the “demo station” during your downtown.
Another perk of working at Gamestop is the employee discount. You can get up to 15% off on all games if you are an employee.
How to Make Money Playing Video Games
If you’re looking for great ways to make money online, playing video games is a great option. There are tons of ways to make extra cash and get paid to do what you love.
Although it takes a lot of time and effort to make a full-time income playing video games, it’s relatively easy to make money with gaming as a side hustle or earn a few extra bucks with a gaming app. Clearly, with all the different ways to make money playing video games, we’ve proven once and for all gaming is not a waste of time!
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.