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How To Make Money Gaming

Updated on January 15, 2016

Earn Money By Playing Games

If you want to learn how to make money gaming, you've come to the right place. Or so every other page on this topic starts, to lure you in while promising you riches.

Before I continue, however, let me clarify what exactly I mean by it, because it is probably not what you think. To earn money by playing games is a recent trend that many young people have latched onto, because $ and a freer lifestyle.

Now here I'm not talking about games like Bingo and other 'money making' activities which advertise 'play free games and win cash prizes' kind of thing, which you play in the hopes to win a coin or two. I'm talking about something much different, catered to a very particular group of people: the online MMO gamers (MMO = massively multiplayer online), whose main interest is not to make money, but to have fun playing.

Even though this group of folks is very niche, we are quite a few out there playing all sorts of online games - from World of Warcraft (WOW), to Lord of the Rings Online, Planetside 2, Eve Online, Battlefield 4, Rift, Neverwinter and countless other games that require an internet connection and quite a good computer to go with it.

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During the last couple of years, a series of opportunities have arisen for us gamers. Opportunities to actually make some money from our passion.

To aarn money by playing games means something else for different people. Many gamers are students, who are now able to pay for a part of their education. Others simply want to get extra money for a slice of pizza and a Coke. Yet others are so enthusiastic about all this that they're not only making a full time living playing video games, but have managed to earn millions (yes, millions) in the process.

So if you want to make money playing video games, here I will give you some ideas to get you started. The rest - how far you take it - is really up to you.

Do you know someone who plays games to earn money?

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Earning Cash While Playing Video Games Is Not Something New

While this trend of wanting to earn while playing is something that many people here now for the first time, people have been earning money (and winning big prizes) for several years now.

Back in 1997 Dennis Fong (also known as Thresh in his earlier gaming years - now is a retired pro-gamer) took part in what is now called The Red Annihilation tournament. In a 1-1 Quake battle he won his opponent and went home with a Ferrari, which was previously owned by one of the game developers. Over time Fong accumulated enough to be able to start his own business and start various new companies, all related to gaming.

Fong is only one in the many gamers who have made tons of money from their passion. Which only shows that if you follow your passion, money might just come. Sure, tons of dedication and hard work is involved, but isn't it better to work hard doing something you love in the first place?

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Fong in his new Ferrari after the Quake tournament

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Playing In Tournaments or E-Sports

As I described above, competing in gaming tournaments (also called e-sports, or electronic sports) is nothing new. For over 20 years now avid gamers have taken part in tournaments and gone home with awesome prizes, which often include money.

At first your wins will be less, but the more you advance, the more you will earn. If you like playing games against other players, if your reflexes are fast and have an eye for that next move, e-sports can be a way for you to get those first extra dollars doing simply what you love to do in your spare time. Professional gamers are abound today and with good reason.

Farming For Gold Or Other Items

Farming for gold invariably takes us mentally to the popular game WOW (World of Warcraft) as this is strongly associated with the idea of 'farming'. However there are several other games where buying and selling virtual gold on the real auction sites is as common as selling anything else on various auction houses.

For example Diablo III is one such game. For every such transaction Blizzard, the maker of the Diablo series would take $1 for themselves, making this entire transaction legal. Diablo III did close off their auction house April 2014, but there are several such games that still allow it.

For example in Runescape some players make quite the money. Such a guy is Miroslav Josh who made $10,000 in just 3 weeks in 2013. And such examples exist in all games where farming is a regular activity.

So yes, to earn money by playing games can be quite the lucrative gig for many - but you have to put in the time, talent and passion.

Becoming A Video Game Tester

Testing video games for gamers is like wanting to work in a chocolate factory for chocoholics. Which doesn't necessarily mean it's a good thing. How many chocolate lovers stopped eating it once chocolate became their 'job'. And this is very true for game testing as well.

At some point I wanted to become a game tester and applied to a company. I didn't get approved (maybe because I am a female gamer?). There were over 2000 applicants and only 5 got in.

In hindsight I'm glad I didn't get in, because while talking with a friend last year about his new job at the time, he told me he no longer wanted to play any game in his free time any more. He no longer even wanted to touch the computer at home. Why?

Because he not only puts in countless hours in his job as a tester (way more than the average 40 hours at a 9-5 dayjob), but the pay is minimal (I won't use the word he used instead). He told me that being a bartender pays more. Not to mention the fact that more often than not he was testing games he never really cared about.

However there are still many game testers out there, and I guess as long as games will be made, there will always be people who will jump at this dream job - at least for a short while.

First Day In A Video Tester's Life

Writing Guides And Walkthroughs

If you're good at playing online games and like to write, then you might start creating unofficial walkthrough guides. All gamers know that the official gaming guides and wikis from the companies are lacking, to say the least. They're good for getting you started, but from then on it's up to you to learn the rest.

This is why game guides written by actual gamers have quite the market. Such games give invaluable tips, step by step walkthroughs on how to get to the next levels, how to kill that almost invincible creature or how to end the game without losing face.

So how do you get started? It's a two step process really: first you write an e-Book and then you sell it at the various places that allow such gaming guides. Two very popular places where you can sell your guides are Killerguides.com and Amazon.com.

On Amazon, if you search for 'unoficial strategy gaming guides' for example, you'll have a list of guides for plenty of online games. So yes, this market is pretty alive and well, where money can be made, indeed.

PewDiePie's Youtube Video Channel

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Engaging In The Let's Play Youtube Phenomenon

Oh man, where do I start. For any real and passionate gamer, this is a golden opportunity to make money and gather a strong following to your Youtube channel. But what is 'Let's Play' in the first place?

Basically Let's play is a cultural phenomenon which involves posting a Youtube video of yourself playing a game - any game really. What? People will sit there watching some random guy (or gal) playing a computer game?

You'd be surprised just how popular this is. Playing a game is fun, but so is watching an excellent gamer play and comment while recording this session for the world to see.

And you can make money with it - you ask?

Yes, big money in fact, and if you don't believe me, there are thousands of gamers making a full time living from gaming, while some have already achieved a status of multimillionaire just by doing this, like the popular Swedish gamer PewDiePie, whose videos have been watched 5.4 billion (yes that's with a 'b') time so far, which made him around 7 million dollars to day, if what Celebrity Net Worth article and other news sites say is true.

But how do those Youtube videos make them money in the first place? I mean it's not like viewers will pay them to watch their videos, right?

Well, basically if your Youtube channel gets many visitors, you can apply to Youtube's Partner Program (basically Google's Adsense program, as Youtube is owned by Google). People watching these games will often click on ads that interest them and this will make ka-ching for the video owners.

I've checked today PewDIePie's latest video, updated on the 20th - i.e. yesterday. Currently he already has 1,333,351 views, in just a few hours of the video being live (see video below).

So it's true, the more visitors and subscribers a Youtube channel has, the more money is to be made. Of course a fun personality to go with it (afterall it's a video) is pretty much a must.

One of PewDiePie's Latest Recorded Videos - Check The Traffic!

Making In-Game Items That Can Be Sold For Real Cash

Here is a great example of making money with a a game related activity. SOE (Sony Online Entertainment) is a well know publisher of several awesome and popular MMO games. One of them is called Planetside 2 (it's the game I'm currently playing for the last several months).

Planetside 2 is what it's called MMOFPS (a multiplayer online first person shooter) game, which is quite fun, addictive, with a larger player base.

SOE has a marketplace for the players where you can buy various items, including cosmetic ones. Through a software called Player Studio, SOE allows players to make their own virtual items which can be added to the game's official marketplace. When a player buys your custom made helmet or other item that you have created, you will get 40% commission (in real money) from the sale.

One player is said to have made over $100,000 from selling helmets and other in-game items. Of course you should know a bit of graphics design and 3D modelling for this to work for you.

There are several other games that allow creating custom and selling custom items within the game, such as Dota and Team Fortress 2.

Avatars in Second Life

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Earn Money With Social MMOs

There are a few social MMO games that allow you to earn money within the game itself. I'm sure you've already heard of Second Life, the biggest social virtual MMO game. There are several ways to make money there, and just to give you an example, a friend of mine is giving regularly $10 to a tarot card reader.

The reader has a virtual booth and you can pay for readings, for $10 a piece. The more customers the lady has, the more money she will make of course. There are other activities you can earn with in Second Life, including giving tours, teaching things, selling virtual objects (from clothing to buildings anything goes), but there is a rather small number of people who really earn good money in this game.

Another game worth mentioning is Entropia Universe. I've played it for about a year before something else caught my fancy.

Entropia Universe is what it's called a 'real cash economy' world, which is basically the means of earning dollars in the game. It is really a one of its kind game, and while it frustrates lots of people a great deal, others have become quite wealthy playing it.

For example a few years ago an Entropia player made $335,000 in a virtual real estate deal. Yes, this high amount of money is rather rare, but it does that it can happen if you really put your mind to it.

You Can Make Money from Your Hobby: Building a Business Doing What You Love

A Cautionary Last Note

If playing video games is one of your major passions in life, you might find one or more of these ways to earn while play intriguing, to say the least, and you might decide to give it a go. Afterall it does have its own allure.

However before you get started, you need to know what you want to get out of it and how much of your time you want to invest.

While some gamers do really 'make it', many - just like in any other areas of life - will make pennies or not even that. Some will indeed earn enough to afford a new computer or buy a few new games. But don't get me wrong, making a living with playing games is a wonderful but difficult to achieve dream, mostly realized by the few absurdly dedicated and crazy in love with playing computer games.

Just like with anything else in life, do it with passion, dedication and total time involvement - and then the money will follow (notice I didn't mention 'how much money'.)

How Do You Find The Idea Of Earning While Playing Games?

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    • Ahdilarum profile image

      Ahdilarum 

      4 years ago

      This page looks like a trip to gambling tutorial, I have never heard about these..

    • profile image

      mumsgather 

      4 years ago

      My son is always telling me this. Well, he's just 10 so I had better hide this page from him or he'll say "See, I told you?" when I try to stop him from playing the addictive games. ;)

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi kislanyk, congratulations on your first hub. I am not really a gamer but this was very interesting information on the world of online gaming and how there is money to be made there in various ways. My son and daughter are avid gamers but as far as I know they don't make any money from it. Voted up interesting and useful.

    • profile image

      valmg @ Mom Knows It All 

      4 years ago

      Great info to have! I hadn't heard of some of those before.

    • kislanyk profile imageAUTHOR

      Marika 

      4 years ago from Cyprus

      Thank you so much for your kind comment and up vote, much appreciated. Gaming is indeed addictive (I should know, I even left making jewelry by side for a while, just to play :) )

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 years ago from USA

      Interesting hub! I'm not a gamer but can definitely see how it can become addictive. Voted up and more and pinning to my Technology board. Found this on What the Hub? Glad to have you aboard at HubPages!

    • kislanyk profile imageAUTHOR

      Marika 

      4 years ago from Cyprus

      I know exactly the feeling, gaming can be quite addictive and one loses soon interest in real life. It's good to keep it in perspective, but when you're 'in', it's tough to see outside.

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 

      4 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      Good hub, yes I've tried gold farming on WOW (probably the most overfarmed game) and made quite a bit ingame at selling through auction houses. My biggest issue with it was that it was so addictive, I found myself not paying much attention to my kids and had to let it go! Voted useful.

    • kislanyk profile imageAUTHOR

      Marika 

      4 years ago from Cyprus

      Oh yes, the market is just as strong - if not stronger, since now people got the feel for 'making money online' and gaming is a nice platform for it. Everquest is also made by SOE, the same company is making Planetside 2, the game I'm playing these days. The latest EQ game is Everquest Next, they say it's awesome as well.

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 

      4 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      Years ago I played Everquest and I made a load of cash selling in game items and coins, I mean loads. I would sell armor, weapons as well as platinum. Would meet buyer in game at the EC tunnels (EQ players will remember the old Everquest meeting place)

      Not sure if the market is still strong on the various game platform, but in the early 2000 I made good money doing it.

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