When it comes to easy income, the idea to make money while playing games is one of most appealing options. After all, it would be amazing if you truly could make a living and also do something that you enjoy. For that matter, even just making a little money on the side by gaming sounds like an amazing opportunity.
Making Money While Playing Games
It might be surprising but the of making money with games isn’t a complete pipe dream. There are some legitimate ways that you can make money from playing games. However, the process isn’t always as simple as it sounds.
Let's take a look at the various options and how they work in practice.
Using Game Sites
There are a number of different sites that specifically promote the chance to make money by playing games. This can include casino games and also games that are skill-based. Here's a list of mobile games that pay.
For casino games, the potential to earn money is exactly what you’d expect. So, you put money into your account and use that to play the game. Then, you basically hope you get lucky.
Sure, there is the potential to make money but that’s no different than trying to earn money trying to play games in an actual casino. So, you’ll only get somewhere if you’re exceptionally lucky. If you’re not, then you’re likely to lose money – potentially a lot.
Sites with casino games also use many of the same tricks that you find in actual casinos. As a result, it’s easy to end up spending more than you intend to.
The process with skill games is a little bit different. Here, some of the games may be ones that you’ve seen before or variations of them. In theory, you can earn money by doing well at the games but it isn’t as simple as that. My favorite skill games that actually pay money can be found on Swagbucks.
The problem is that being successful with these games is harder than it seems. Most sites have lots of members and they all want the chance to earn money. Some of those participants will be skilled at the games and almost impossible to beat.
For that matter, you’ll face some cheaters on the site as well, such as people using software to get better scores. Sites will often have procedures in place to deal with cheaters but that typically won’t help you much when you’re in the process of competing against them.
It’s also worth noting that you often have to pay for the chance to earn money with games. For example, one site that offers this idea is GSN. They have a range of free games but these are supposed to be used for practice.
If you want to earn money, then you have to sign up and pay an entry fee. Then, if you do well enough, you may possibly make some money.
Based on various reviews and discussions online, it also seems that the free versions of games make earning money seem much easier than it actually is. For example, you may have no problem getting on the scoreboard for a free game but may find it almost impossible to do so on the paid version.
This is partly because you don’t face as much competition and all the skilled players are using the paid versions of the games. At the same time, the company has every reason to make the free games seem easy because they do want you signing up to spend your money.
These patterns mean that you’re only likely to earn money if you are really good at a particular game. Even then, there are issues.
The biggest problem is that sites that let you earn money from games are very diligent in looking for cheaters. This often means that they’ll ban accounts without hesitation, particularly for people who are performing well. As a result, you may find your account gets banned if you do too well, regardless of whether you are actually cheating or not.
Additionally, some sites offer games as an extra way to earn money. This is something that you’ll sometimes see with survey sites, like Swagbucks. The exact approach varies from one site to the next but you’ll normally find that the games pay hardly anything, even though some of them can be fun.
Often there is a similar pattern as you find with sites dedicated to games. So, you may only earn anything if you get a high score or beat out fellow members.
Alternatively, some sites randomly reward you a small number of points after some games or a sweepstakes entry. In theory, this practice could help you earn money but honestly, most people aren’t going to be earning much.
Regardless of whether you’re looking at luck-based or skill-based games, the process just isn’t worth it. At best, you’ll earn a tiny amount of money and you’d have to put a lot of time and energy into making sure you perform well.
At worst, you would lose far more than you ever earn.
Obtaining And Selling Virtual Items
This option for making money mostly applies to MMORPGs, particularly the ones that are popular. The idea is to farm for in-game items and money that can then be sold for actual money. In some cases, there are even sites that act as brokers, where they pay you to source the items or currency that they are looking for.
In many games, this type of practice is directly against the terms and conditions. So, if you’re caught, you could easily get your account banned. But, despite this, the practice of selling virtual items remains popular.
That’s no surprise either because there is no shortage of demand. Many players simply don’t want to spend the time and energy that it takes to earn money in-game or find specific items themselves. So, they’re willing to pay people or companies to do so instead.
There are also some games where you can legitimately turn virtual currency into cash.
For example, Diablo 3 has a real-world auction house, where you can make actual money without worrying about your account. Likewise, the game Entropia Universe offers the ability to convert from in-game to real-life currency and has a fixed rate of exchange.
There aren’t many games that take this approach but there may be more in the future.
In theory, selling virtual items can work well as a way to make money. However, the processes involved are often extremely tedious. This can mean that you spend hours waiting for something to spawn in-game or you may have to do the same thing over and over again each day.
After all, other players are basically paying you to do things that they don’t want to. So, you probably wouldn’t be having that much fun even though you are playing a game.
There is also one fairly extreme example of this, which is the game Second Life. The game is an incredibly unusual MMORPG because the emphasis is almost entirely social.
With this game, you can directly convert between game currency (Linden Dollars) and real world money, and vice versa. As such, you can theoretically earn currency in the game and convert that into actual money.
Doing so successfully would involve perseverance and truly understanding the game, as it operates much like the real world in terms of making money.
Realistically, Second Life might not be appealing to many gamers anyway, as the style of gameplay is very different than what most people expect from playing games. Still, it is another option, especially if you like games that are less intense.
Creating The Items You Sell
There are also some games out there that allow you to create and sell digital items. The most prominent example of this is Team Fortress 2.
In this case, the game has a cosmetic item market, where members can buy a wide range of different cosmetic textures and models. To make money this way, users have the ability to submit their creations and have the community vote on them.
If an item is popular enough, then it will be sold in the Team Fortress 2 store and the creator receives a cut of the profits. This type of approach isn’t common in many games, although DOTA 2 does have the option as well.
Some other games allow for mods and user-created content. In most cases, there is no official marketplace to sell these. However, there are dedicated sites out there that sell mods, often allowing members to upload their creations and earn a cut of profits.
However, if you’re going to make money from creating items, then you have to be able to make things that people will want. At the same time, you will face considerable competition. As a result, being successful will partly depend on your creative talents and partly on how well you understand the audience of a given game.
Winning An eSport Tournament
The popularity of eSports continues to increase and there are now some major events out there with high cash prizes. In some cases, the prizes for events may be over $100,000. There is also the potential for sponsorship deals, which can mean that you get free products or even money from sponsors.
Nevertheless, this approach isn’t going to be relevant for most people. Like regular sports, eSports is a tough field and you have to be extremely good at your chosen game to stand a chance. Additionally, there are only tournaments for some types of games, with most of them being for shooters.
If you are skilled enough, this can be an interesting way to make money. However, players in this field are similar to athletes in that they spend a lot of time practicing and improving their skills. As such, getting involved in eSports is a serious commitment if you want to be successful.
Be A Game Tester
One commonly promoted way to make money with games is to be a game tester. This concept sounds like you are paid to play games and have to occasionally report bugs. However, that’s not entirely true.
Instead, game testers often end up working on games that they aren’t at all interested in. At the same time, the games themselves may be in early stages and filled with errors.
Additionally, game testers are rarely ever simply playing the game. Instead, they will often have specific tasks to do, which tend to be repetitive. After all, the idea is to make sure that there are no bugs in any part of the game and you wouldn’t figure that out simply by playing it through.
Not only is game testing not as fun as it sounds but the job doesn’t pay well either. Instead, you would often end up working at minimum wage, especially as a lot of game testing doesn’t require any specific skills.
To make matters worse, there is also a lot of pressure on game testers, especially as companies get close to the release date of a game. This can mean that game testers have to put in a lot of extra hours to get the job done, including late nights.
All-in-all, being a game tester is a job like any other. In fact, it may be worse than many jobs out there. Realistically, you’re not likely to have much fun as a game tester. For that matter, this job could put you off gaming entirely.
Turning To Live Streaming
With live streaming, the idea is that people are watching you play a game. This process actually attracts huge audiences, with some people being particularly successful. At the same time, live streamers actively talk to their audience, often answering questions as they go.
In many cases, a live streamer uses a setup that allows their audience to see them while they play. Doing so increase the potential for engagement and also helps the audience to connect emotionally to the person playing.
Live streaming is also nice because you don’t necessarily have to be good at the game. Instead, live streamers often focus on a specific angle. For some, this may involve showing off their skills, while others may focus on humor instead.
In terms of income, you make money from the ad revenue that the company makes. It is also possible to ask for donations on Twitch, although this can potentially upset your audience.
Unlike most of the other entries on this list, live streaming does let you make money by playing games that you genuinely enjoy. Nevertheless, it isn’t all fun and games (pun intended).
Instead, live streaming can be an extremely time-consuming job, especially as you’re growing your audience. In particular, your popularity is partly connected to how many streams you have and how long these are. You can certainly make a lot of money on Twitch, but it does take time and skills to actually earn “income” instead of side cash.
Beyond this, it also just takes time to get an audience. You could easily find yourself streaming for hours on end with next to nobody watching you.
There are other challenges to consider as well, including the sheer amount of competition out there. Plus, you have to be interesting constantly, which is no easy task. Sure, you might be able to stream and good video or five. But, how do you keep your audience engaged after more than 100 videos?
Now, the idea is achievable and some people genuinely do have a lot of followers on Twitch and YouTube. But, if you’re considering this direction at all, be aware that it is very tough to break into the market initially and even harder to maintain success in the long-term.
Make Money From Your Knowledge And Experiences
Regardless of the approach you choose, making money directly from gaming isn’t nearly as good as it sounds. In most cases, you have to do a lot of tedious work or you need to rely heavily on either skill or luck.
Whatever the outcome, the potential to make money isn’t fantastic. Furthermore, you’d probably end up killing your enjoyment of games in the process. One alternative is to use what you enjoy and what you know to make money indirectly.
There are a number of different ways to do this but perhaps the most powerful method is via affiliate marketing on your own website. Affiliate marketing is an interesting way to make money because you are earning money by selling products, without actually owning or selling anything directly.
Instead, you’re promoting the products that come from other companies – and there is no shortage of products to choose from.
Now, in theory, you can be an affiliate marketer and sell games directly. However, that’s one of the few directions that I wouldn’t recommend. Realistically, games are tough to sell, as you’re dealing with a tech-savvy audience. Plus, many people shop through options like Steam, which doesn’t have an affiliate program.
Instead, you could choose a slightly different focus, such as gaming merchandise or accessories. Creating a gaming website can be a powerful idea if you plan effectively and research your competition.
For example, you could have a site that talks about various products, like gamepads and Bluetooth headsets. Through that site, you might also share your experiences and your knowledge about games, along with tips and tricks.
The nature of affiliate marketing means that your options are pretty much endless. So, you can choose what your website focuses on and build it up as you see fit.
For that matter, you don’t have to do a site on gaming at all, if you don’t want to. Instead, you can pick a topic area that interests you, such as a hobby or a specific type of product.
Finding Affiliate Marketing Success
Affiliate marketing isn’t a way to earn a lot of money quickly. Instead, it’s a technique for growing a business that you can continue to develop and expand over time.
In fact, there isn’t a limit for how large an affiliate marketing business can get. After all, you’re not making sales directly or dealing with products. As such, increasing your income is fairly easy.
More than anything, being successful with affiliate marketing is just about keeping at it. If you learn the various techniques and consistently apply then, then you can create a site of your own that people are interested in and come back to time and time again.