10 ways you can earn money by playing video games
Everyone wants to earn money by gaming. The idea of turning an enjoyable hobby into a worthwhile career is hard to turn down, and it’s something that has become far more realistic in recent years. Gaming is the largest entertainment industry on the planet, comfortably beating the likes of music and TV, and while some parts of the industry are more developed than others, we’re here to tell you how you can make money from that love for games we all share.
After all, that’s what we do at Hitmarker. We’re the largest video game job platform and have helped hundreds of people find careers they love over the past five years.
Ready to get started then? Let’s go!
We’ll start this guide with a job sector that virtually anyone can enter. QA—short for quality assurance—is the process of testing a game before release to make sure it functions exactly as it should do. Think about your favorite game for a second. Chances are there are more objects, interactions, missions, and areas of the map than you can count, and in order for these all to work smoothly they have to be tested rigorously from top to bottom. That’s where QA testers come in.
The reason we’ve put this option at the top of our list is because it’s nearly always geared at entry or junior level candidates. Most QA jobs won’t ask for formal experience; instead, they’ll want a love of video games, strong attention to detail, and communication skills. That’s it! What’s more, these jobs exist all over the world, with the occasional remote option popping up as well. It’s no surprise, then, that it’s considered one of the most effective ways to break into the industry.
So if you’re looking to make an income from video games and feel up to the challenge of testing the next big release, QA is a great option to consider.
It’s no exaggeration to say that livestreaming is huge. With some of the top streamers on Twitch, YouTube, and other platforms raking in literally millions of dollars per year, this has to be an option to consider if you’re looking to make money while gaming.
So, what do you need to make it work? The simple answer is a decent internet connection, a PC/console to play on, along with a headset, mic, and webcam (optional).
But, in order to get to a level where your stream is regularly bringing in money, you’ll need to have grown a community of regular viewers, and that’s more challenging. Still, we’ve heard advice from numerous streamers over the years and here are some of the key tips to build a stream that will last.
- Stick to a regular schedule.
- Invest in making your stream look professional and polished.
- Be present. Especially as a small streamer, your chat will expect you to acknowledge and engage with them.
- Find a niche and own it. When you’re starting out, it’s easier to solidify yourself in one area than as a variety streamer.
If this all sounds up your street, then the revenue options that are available to you include channel subscriptions, donations, Bits, and brand deals (including those secured through Bounties).
YouTube content creation
Like with Twitch, YouTube is a platform that is very accessible to get started on and, as your audience grows, has a number of revenue sources to tap into. While Twitch focuses on live content, the bulk of gaming videos on YouTube are presented as VODs (though it does have a growing livestreaming vertical).
This means the requirements to get started are very similar between both the platforms: you’ll need a stable internet connection, PC/console, headset, mic, and webcam. If you only want to share gameplay, then a mic and headset aren’t even needed as you’ll just be recording your screen.
Here are some topics you could produce videos on:
- Game reviews
- ‘Let’s play’ videos — commentating over your gameplay as you play through a title
- High-level gameplay compilations
- Funny, meme-style content
- Mission tutorials
As a YouTuber, your main forms of monetization will be through YouTube’s AdSense program, where you’ll earn from the ads displayed on your channel. The amount of money you earn will vary based on the length of your videos and channel size, but if you can build out a large audience then other monetization routes will open up including merchandise, private “Join” videos, and brand deals.
Creating video game guides
Video game guides have been around since gaming began, a saving grace to any of us who’ve previously been stuck on a mission. Every gamer needs a handy guide at one point or another, making these a legitimate option to consider when it comes to earning money through video games.
To create gaming guides, you’ll need to pick between presenting your information in either a web article or video. If you choose the written route, then you might be able to find a gaming news website that will pay for your guides on a freelance basis. We’ll post any of these opportunities that we see in the Editorial section of our website, so keep your eyes peeled there for opportunities.
For video guides, you may be employed by an outlet to create short, to-the-point video walkthroughs and guides, or you could tie this in with the YouTube content creation method we mentioned earlier and host them on your own channel. The rate of pay will depend on whether you’re being contracted by a company or going it alone. Check out our Talent tag to see if we have any of these positions on our platform currently.
Game reviewing & journalism
When a game is released, lots of gamers want a second opinion on how good it is before buying it — after all, nobody wants to waste time on a boring or buggy game. As a game reviewer, it’ll be your job to play through a section of a game before public release in order to write a solid review about it. As you can imagine, this type of role is rather opinionated, so if you like the idea of playing games, writing, and speaking your mind, this could be for you.
Whilst we’re on the topic of reporting and opinions, we’ll quickly touch on gaming journalism. Games journalists typically have a ‘beat’ that they report on based on their speciality. Some may report on general gaming news such as new releases and updates, some speak on what’s happening in esports, and some, of course, review games. In any of these roles, the main traits you’ll need to succeed are compelling writing and strong research skills.
Your revenue as a journalist or game reviewer will usually come from freelance work, however there are salaried jobs at the larger gaming publications if you have the background and portfolio to secure them. Check out our Editorial jobs to see what we have that might suit you.
This is one of the most well-known ways to make money by gaming: competing in tournaments at an amateur level and seeing if you have what it takes to go pro.
However, it’s also the most sought after, and for that reason there’s a very high barrier for entry. With the esports industry maturing all the time, there’s a much more established route to becoming a professional player than there has been previously, with amateur competitions largely to thank for this.
To get started on this path, you’ll need a PC or console that can run your game of choice, a good internet connection, dedication, and teamwork. Start honing your skills through amateur tournaments and utilize team-finding websites if you need to pick up some squad mates. Some platforms that host amateur tournaments include Battlefy, UMG Gaming, and eFuse.
So if you can see yourself playing on big stages in the future, we’d recommend getting started on one of those and seeing where you can take it.
While you might think of somebody standing behind a set of players and passing on strategies when we say the word ‘coach’, there’s another way in which you can monetize your gaming knowledge. Private coaches work with individuals who are looking to improve at a specific game, usually on a per-hour basis and very often remotely. As long as you’re elite at the game you coach in, there’s demand for your skills.
VALORANT, CS:GO, and League of Legends are some of the most popular games for people to coach in, but this extends to any widely-played title out there. The earning potential for this option varies based on a coach’s ability, achievements, and reputation in the scene. If you believe you have the skill and knowledge in a specific game, along with the teaching ability to pass this on, then you can become a coach.
A solid place to start your journey as a private coach is through a site like Fiverr, where freelancers can offer their services to people. There’s no cost to using Fiverr and you can set the price of your own sessions, so consider setting up a profile if this sounds right for you.
Game capture artist
You may not have heard of this job type but you’ve certainly seen the work stemming from it. Game capture artists are responsible for capturing footage for use in a game’s marketing materials, such as trailers and screenshots. These might appear on a game’s store page and can be the difference between someone purchasing the game or not.
Many positions in this field are entry or junior-level roles and often only require basic filming experience. As such, filming fundamentals like lighting, shot composition, and more are requirements in some roles. If you’re interested in this sector, you should consider capturing game footage in your own time to learn the best way to frame different shots. Then you can present a portfolio to hiring companies, which makes it a lot easier for them to trust you with the marketing of their game.
Keep an eye out for these types of jobs in our Videography tag.
Able to speak more than one language? That’s an in-demand skill in the gaming industry!
Games are played all over the world, but typically produced in a central location by a team that communicates in one language. This means, in order to make a game available to everyone who wants to enjoy it, the dialogue, in-game text, and all other language used needs to be localized.
‘Localized’ essentially means translating, where people adapt the game to fit another country’s market, taking into consideration any different phrasing or language trends used there to ensure it slots in seamlessly.
A benefit of localization jobs is that a large portion of them are online, especially if you choose to work as a freelancer, meaning you can get started anywhere in the world. These positions also tend to be entry-level, with the only requirement being that you’re bilingual (usually English + the specified language), although some do look for those with prior editorial or QA experience as well. See what Localization jobs are live here to put your skills to work.
Be a part of the game production process
When it comes to making money through games, we have to mention working on the production cycle. It takes numerous talented professionals to develop a game, and the jobs involved each require a different skillset.
- Game developer
- Skills required: Programming ability and knowledge of game engines
- Game designer
- Skills required: Knowledge of game engines and storytelling
- Game artist
- Skills required: Digital and traditional art
- Game producer
- Skills required: Project and people management
- Narrative designer
- Skills required: Writing, storytelling, and knowledge of game engines
- Audio engineer
- Skills required: Audio composition and music production
Degrees in a relevant subject are sometimes required in these positions, but they’re usually interchangeable with equivalent experience if you have that instead. Since a lot of these positions are heavily portfolio-dependent, aspiring professionals interested in this area should build up their own body of work to use as a reference. In lieu of an internship or degree, this is how you can show a company that you have the technical skills required to join them.
So if you’re looking to bring your love for games right into the production cycle, check out the tags linked above!
Now that we’ve covered some of the most popular ways to earn money by gaming, we hope that you have a clearer view of which steps you might need to take to get to that perfect job you’ve been dreaming about. You can count on us to be rooting for you every step of the way. Good luck out there!