Has anyone ever said to you, in a futile bid to cut back your gaming habit, “you won’t make money playing video games”?
Well here at MoneyMagpie we disagree with them. You may well be able to make some money from your favourite past time. You probably won’t make a huge amount, you almost certainly won’t get rich, but you can earn enough to reward your gaming expertise. And, let’s face it, what gamer wouldn’t like to earn a little dosh for playing the games they love?
So here are five ways to start to make money playing video games.
- Set up a gaming blog
- Write video game guides
- Monetise your YouTube videos
- Become a games tester
Setting up a gaming blog is probably the simplest and easiest way to start earning money from video games. Gaming is a hugely popular topic on the internet and there are countless amounts of things you could write about that are video game related. For example you could set up a straightforward review site, where you give your verdict on all the latest releases. You could set up a site that looks back at games of the past, or even one that looks at particular topics in video games, for example there are currently very popular feminist blogs looking at the portrayal of female characters in video games.
Don’t forget to make your blog stand out. Writing reviews is great, but what is going to make readers take a look at your review rather than those from an already established source? Readers will be looking for something unique that only you can give them; if you can manage that you’re likely to gain a substantial loyal following.
Make sure to get your blog out there once you’ve written an article. Share it on social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, and post links on some of the countless gaming forums online where you have a ready made source of interest for your article. The idea is to build up as much traffic as possible because this is what will begin to earn you money.
Sign up to Google AdSense or Yahoo! Publisher Network, which use specialist search technology to target your site with suitable advertising. Every time a reader clicks one of the adverts you get a percentage of the revenue. The more informative your site is the more likely it is the reader will click on an advert. Make sure you pick relevant targeted advertisements, and don’t go overboard because no-one wants to go onto a blog that is predominantly advertisements.
Also, if you are reviewing games and generating a healthy amount of traffic you can approach game manufacturers to ask them for a free copy of a particular game so you can review it. Smaller game manufacturers in particular will often appreciate the chance to get their games noticed. You might not be getting money from them but if you’re a true gamer then receiving free video games is just cutting out the middle man, right?
For more information on making money from a blog go here.
Video game guides are an odd part of gaming culture. In our humble opinion they are a bit like buying a puzzle and then buying a book that kindly numbers all the pieces so you know how to put it all together. But there is no denying that video game guides are big business, with an ‘official guide’ easily being able to sell at £10 or more. There is also, however, opportunities for everyday gamers to make some money by writing video game guides.
Sites such as killerguides.net are always looking for authors to write guides in eBook form which they then sell on their website.
They have a strict focus on MMOs (online games) which means you’ll have to be knowledgeable about that area of gaming. You’ll need to write well, make deadlines, and realise that this is something that will take a fair bit of time.
Many of the guides are over 80 pages long, but a lot retail at $29.99 (about £18.00) so there is reasonable money to be made. Be aware that you are contractually expected to keep updating the guide every time there is a change to the game until the guide is taken offline, so there is some commitment involved.
If MMOs aren’t your thing there are other ways to earn money writing guides. Yahoo! Contributor Network allows you to make money by contributing articles and guides to their website. You will receive Performance Pay for your guide, which earns you 70p for every 1000 views. You may also be eligible for an upfront payment (which works as an advance on Performance Payment), which is usually £15-£20, but can be higher, and is paid at Yahoo’s discretion. Payments are made through PayPal and are made twice a month. It’s a great way to earn a little money as your guide will hopefully continue to get readers long after it is published, so there will be nice little payouts for you in the future.
Another way of making money is to record footage of the video game as you play it, and then upload it onto YouTube. There are various issues here revolving around copyright law and there are very few applicable case studies to draw upon to create strict parameters but the general understanding is that if you are recording a commentary as you are playing then you are covered by ‘fair use’ (which means it is an exception to the exclusive right of the copyright holder.) YouTube rules say the video can only be monetised if there is a step-by-step commentary tied to the footage on screen and if the video is of educational or instructional purposes.
To make money you need to monetise your YouTube account by using AdSense which will play adverts before your video plays. You then earn money every time someone clicks on the advert. For step by step instructions on how to monetise your YouTube account click here. There is a payment threshold that you will have to reach and once you have crossed it you will receive the money you have earned from your videos.
If you think YouTube might be a little overcrowded or you want to find a new outlet for your videos you can also check out twitch.tv, a growing video sharing site dedicated entirely to video games. To earn money on Twitch you have to become a partner by applying through their website. This will allow you to earn a share of the revenue generated from the videos you broadcast. Unlike YouTube, however, there are minimum requirements you have to meet to become a partner, such as demonstrating that you’re a regular broadcaster and being able to prove you get a healthy amount of views. This means you’ll have to be slightly established before you can start earning money on Twitch but, once you can, this is a great place to share your gaming videos.
There are a lot of people doing similar things on YouTube and Twitch so to attract any real attention you’re going to have to stand out. This will naturally suit people with a charismatic personality who are capable of captivating a viewing audience. It would also be good to show people things that few others can, for example specific video game ‘Easter Eggs’ or your unique style of playing the game. If you think you’re up to the task though, this could be a nice little earner.
Becoming a games tester is one of the ways you can make a reasonable amount of money from video games. Large video game companies employ people to play through their games before release to find any glitches and bugs. Games testers log any mistakes they find and then repeat what they did to see if the problem happens again. There are strict deadlines and testers are expected to find a certain number of faults.
Starting salaries are around £12,000 – £18,000 a year, but with some experience a games tester could earn up to £30,000. There are no necessary qualifications you need before you apply, but a passion for playing games and finding mistakes is necessary. Any knowledge and qualifications in programming, game design or other related fields would, however, be an advantage.
Finding a job is about looking at the right time, as companies will tend to hire when the game is not far from launch. Websites that list game testing jobs include:
Be aware that although this may sound like a dream job (after all, who wouldn’t want to make a living playing games?), the truth about the games testing industry may be a little more sobering. The popular gaming website IGN have written a great article made up of employees experiences in games testing. Game testers work long, often unsociable hours, are not paid great amounts, have little job security and must continuously work to tight deadlines and targets. Many of the employees also said they did not feel they were treated well by the company who hired them.
If you are passionate about becoming a games tester then such facts shouldn’t put you off because, let’s face it, there is probably a dark side to most jobs and a huge amount will depend on the company who has hired you. Just go in knowing that your job is not ‘playing video games’ but is instead finding a certain number of glitches and bugs within the software.
If you have been put off the idea of games testing as a full time career there is still money to be made by more casual games testing. For example, Playerresearch.com, based in Brighton, offers gamers the chance to play a game for 45 minutes and then share their thoughts with the team afterwards. For about an hour of your time you will get paid £30. There are certainly less fun ways to make money!
For the real hardcore gamer there is the possibility of winning some quite serious cash prizes by taking part in e-sport tournaments. This involves refining your skills on a particular game and taking on other players, either alone or as part of a team, to compete for a cash prize. The current highest grossing e-sports competition earner is Jae Dong Lee, who has won over
$500,000! The highest earning UK player, Marc Mangiacapra, has earned nearly $65,000.These tournaments are becoming ever more popular so if you think you can compete with the best players in the country, or even the world, there is no reason not give it a go.
A good place to start may be the Insomnia Gaming Festival which has a range of e-sport tournaments available. The festival will be awarding £35,000 in prizes, with a lot of competitions awarding prizes between £3000-£5000. You do have to pay an entry fee, however, and for the competitions with the biggest prizes, the ticket price is £97. Another website to look at is epiclan.co.uk which is offering prizes of between £1,000 -£4000 and is currently offering tickets at the discounted rate of £50.
It is worth bearing in mind that these competitions really are for the skilled player and, as entry costs are reasonably high, you shouldn’t enter unless you’re confident you can hold your own against professional players.
There you have it, five ways to make money from video games. It might not be the easiest way to earn cash, but it is certainly one of the most fun, so monetise your gaming skills and start collecting coins faster than Mario!