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5 ways to make money while playing video games

Make-money-playing-video-games

For all the gamers out there, we’ve all had that thought at the back of our heads wondering if we can make a living out of playing video games all day long.

It definitely sounds like a recipe for the perfect job: you get to do something that you’re passionate about, you get to use your talents, and you earn money along the way. But having a stable career playing video games is easier said than done. 

Earning a living with video games may be risky and require a lot of patience and hard work, but it is possible. With the right set of tools, determination, and a strong passion for gaming, you can make that dream job come true.

Today, we’re showing you 5 different ways to make money while playing video games. We also detail why it’s difficult to enter the field for each job, and some ways of how to get started. 

Apply as a video game playtester.

Video-game-playtester

How does it work?

Many video game developers look for outsider eyes to look at and test out beta versions of their games prior to their release. As a playtester, you are asked to try their game, assess the gameplay, and check for any bugs and issues. 

How difficult is it to pursue?

While there are considerably many opportunities to be a playtester, the pay is not as inviting unless you land a job with a big game developer company. The work can sometimes get routine and boring, so it may not be the best place to test your gaming skills. Additionally, most opportunities are for mobile games, so PC game enthusiasts may not find this job as rewarding. 

How do you get started?

To try out your hand in playtesting, check out websites like PlaytestCloud and BetaFamily to connect you with game developers for on-demand playtesting. You should also consider getting hired by larger game developers as an internal playtester. Be on the lookout for job openings and send in your best application. 

Monetize your gameplay while live streaming.

Make-money-livestreaming-games

How does it work?

Pick a game, and start streaming your gameplay on Twitch, Facebook, and YouTube Gaming for the world to see. The ultimate goal here is to build a large and loyal audience, so you can monetize your streaming with either ads, patreon donations, and subscriptions. Live streaming is one of the higher-paying options out there, depending on how many watchers and subscribers you have. 

How difficult is it to pursue?

The streaming landscape is already oversaturated, to say the least. There are millions of streamers on Twitch alone, so it is an uphill battle to build your audience and make people choose to watch you instead of other channels.

To be a full-time video game streamer, you need to have hundreds of regular viewers, but most gamers that try it out streaming never reach that point. 

How do you get started?

Setting up your streaming channel on Twitch or YouTube Gaming is relatively easy. But to be really successful in earning with streaming, you need to have the proper set of tools: a decent computer, streaming equipment and software, a likable personality, and most importantly, a uniqueness to your channel. Early on, think about what will make your channel stand out, like infusing your stream with humor or playing a game nobody else is streaming.  

Participate and win in esports tournaments.

Make-money-esports

How does it work?

For the pro players out there, e-sports tournaments are a fantastic avenue for you to showcase your gaming skills, as well as earn some big money on the side. Especially for popular games with large userbases like DOTA 2 and Fortnite, the prize pool goes up and beyond.  

How difficult is it to pursue?

It’s already very hard to earn a spot playing in a tournament, much more so is winning one. In a tournament, those participating are some of the best in the game, and you may end up leaving empty-handed if you don’t play well. Additionally, the risk runs high in esports tournaments, and sometimes even the most skilled players don’t earn as much prize money as they spent on participating in the tournament itself. 

How do you get started?

First of all, consider tournaments as an additional venture with a different gaming career, and not as your main source of income especially if you’re just starting out. This works well with a live streaming stint because you can broadcast your tournaments, as well as get your name out there to find potential sponsors and teams. To get better in tournaments, the key is to practice, practice, practice. 

Host a gaming YouTube channel or podcast.

Earn-money-video-games

How does it work?

If you’re a gaming enthusiast who has a lot of opinions on the newest releases or has valuable insights, tips, and tricks on different video games, consider creating your own YouTube channel or podcast. Much like live streaming, a gaming YouTube channel or podcast can be monetized with ads or via patron subscriptions. 

How difficult is it to pursue?

Again, much like live streaming, the competition is rife in the gaming channel landscape. You really need to produce your content boldly and uniquely to have people listen to you and stand out from the million other channels out there. Without a decently sized audience, your channel may never get off the ground enough to monetize it. 

How do you get started?

More than just the video editing or podcast equipment, you’ll need a strong idea of what content you will be creating early on in the planning. You need to plan how you will make your channel interesting to your audience. 

Be a gaming journalist at a gaming website (or start your own)

Gaming-journalist-salary

How does it work?

Get paid writing about the video games you love by applying as a journalist or content creator for gaming websites. You can either be hired as a full-time or part-time journalist, or as a freelance writer with a per-article payment scheme. For the brave who wants more control over what they write, you can also start your own gaming website and monetize your traffic with ads. 

How difficult is it to pursue?

It takes a long while before you can establish your career as a games journalist because you’ll need to build a solid portfolio for websites to consider you for their team. The pay is also not great at the beginning of a writing career, so many get discouraged and bring their gaming talents to other fields.

If you build your own site, there’s a lot more work involved such as managing the site and creating graphics. It will take many months or even years of hard work to build a strong readership for your website. 

How do you get started?

Whether you’re applying as a writer for a gaming website or building your own, effective writing skills are a prerequisite to be successful in the field. Partner that with a wide knowledge of video games and the gaming world, and you’re set.

If you’re just starting with your career, consider applying to a credible gaming website before building your own site to avoid the risks and to gain much-needed experience. 

Some things to remember

Video-games-jobs

It’s a long and risky journey before having a stable career in video games. 

Kind of like a summary of all the points we’ve mentioned above, earning a living through video games is not for everybody. You will need the necessary skills and talent, lots of hard work and determination, and many years of building your craft. And even then, success in the field is still not guaranteed. Only a few gamers end up making it big enough to make playing video games into a full-time lucrative career.

This isn’t to discourage you from pursuing a career in video games. We only want you to be aware of the risks involved if you’ve already made up your mind about this career move. 

Making money by playing video games means mixing work and play. 

Some people say to never make your hobbies into a job, and they mean it with good reason. Mixing work and play like this means that you will be treating playing video games as a day-to-day chore you need to do to earn a living, instead of something you simply enjoy. If you let it, a career playing video games sucks the fun out of the game itself, and you might end up hating something you once loved doing. 

If you do intend to pursue this career path, make sure that you find a way to separate your work hours and recreational hours of playing video games. This way, you can keep enjoying video games without feeling burnout from your gaming career. 


A gamer’s dream of making a living out of playing video games is a difficult one to fulfill, but it can be done. Look at all the successful full-time video game players out there, but know that it wasn’t an easy ride for them to be where they are now. It takes a lot of will and courage to pursue a gaming career, but it is definitely worth a shot. 

What did you think about this article? Do you know of any other ways to make money while playing video games? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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