In order to learn how to make money by playing video games, you need to get rid of any misconceptions or assumptions you have when it comes to playing video games for a living. When you play games for a living, it is much more than just playing games. In a sense you need to market yourself and your personality as much as your own skills.
You also need to forget about what you have been told about playing video games for a living. You have probably heard hundreds of times that it isn’t possible, or that you can’t make enough money to pay your bills. This is all false. Even the most famous of gameplayers like Swifty or Pewdiepie started EXACTLY where you are now. The only difference between them and you is that they have put in all of the hard work required to reach their level of success. If they can do it, so can you.
So, if you want to learn how to make money by playing video games for a living, read this post in its entirety. Who knows, you may learn something new in the process.
Common Misconceptions about Making Money Online as a Gamer
Unfortunately, with the mounds of misinformation that you will find online, there are many misconceptions about gaming online for a living. Some of the most common misconceptions regarding gaming online include:
1. It is a complete waste of time.
For many parents, this may be true, but for a majority of gamers, this couldn’t be any more wrong. While it is certainly not healthy for people to be playing video games for days on end without getting sunlight or being social, in small doses it can be quite beneficial. Gaming can help teach people important aspects of life such as teamwork, improving hand and eye coordination and even help to build up self-confidence.
2. Online advertisers don’t consider gaming a worthwhile investment.
This couldn’t be far from the case. While I know it may not seem like advertisers are not interested in investing in online videos and content, especially with the current Youtube adpocolypse currently occurring, advertisers know how highly engaging gaming videos can be. As much as 85% of gaming videos online today are matched with relevant ads and up to 75% of advertisers prefer advertising on gaming videos.
3. You can become rich off of playing video games professionally.
This is somewhat true. While there are plenty of people who have been able to make one hell of a living playing video games such as Pewdiepie, Muselk and Markiplier, the one thing that you need to understand is that success did not come overnight to these gamers. It took a few years of hard work, dedication and consistency to be able to pull in the kind of money they make.
While you can make a decent income off of playing video games professionally, you need to keep in mind that it will not happen for you instantly. It will mostly like take years of consistently uploading content, plenty of hard work, the investment in the right equipment and the dedication and passion for video games. Do that, and the money will soon follow.
What Equipment Do You Need to Get Started?
Luckily for you, if you are a gamer, you most likely have all of the equipment you already need in order to begin making a living from it. Some of the equipment you may need include:
- A computer-mostly for editing and livestreaming purposes
- Gaming consoles-can include next gen consoles and even retro consoles
- Gaming headset-for clear gaming audio while you are playing
- A good microphone-audio quality in your videos or streams are key for successful. I recommend a good condenser microphone so that your voice can be clearly heard.
- Recording software-most next gen consoles have the ability to record your gameplay for you and immediately upload it onto YouTube. If you are using an older console, look into getting yourself a capture card such as the Elgato. For PC gamers, I recommend using ShadowPlay or OBS Studio to record your gameplay.
- Video games-these can be whatever games you desire, from the new to even the old
Uploading Gameplay vs. Live-Streaming Gameplay
If you are going to be playing video games for a living, the most obvious choices are going to be using YouTube and/or Twitch.tv in order to do so. Depending on what you will want to do, you need to know what the difference is between these two options to see which option is going to be the best for you.
When I talk about uploading gameplay, what I am referring to is recording your gameplay, editing the gameplay to create an engaging video and then uploading it onto a video platform for people to view and comment on. You can use some video platforms such as Daily Motion, YouTube or Vimeo.
Pros and Cons of Uploading
- Great way to increase awareness to your brand.
- Videos have the potential to go viral.
- Great way to drive social traffic to get the video seen by more people.
- Ability for people to watch videos on mobile devices.
- Ability to categorize your content by playlists or tags
- Ability to track the performance of your videos
- You don’t have to worry about how much bandwidth you are using.
- Losing out of traffic by using a third-party source instead of sending traffic to your own site.
- Lose slight control of your brand as it appears next to related videos. Can draw clicks away from your video in the end.
- Have to deal with negative video comments and online trolls from time to time.
- May have to deal with ads that aren’t relevant with your own videos
When I talk about livestreaming gameplay, what I am referring to is streaming whatever game you are playing in real time on a streaming platform. The best platforms to use include Twitch.tv, YouTube gaming and UStream.
Pros and Cons of Streaming
- Fun and exciting way to play video games and share the moments with other people live.
- A great way to meet new people.
- It is incredibly easy to do.
- A great way to build an audience fast.
- Can become a lucrative form of revenue after you have built a loyal audience.
- Must stream for long hours and for a few months before you begin to build a loyal audience following.
- Sometimes you have to deal with online trolls.
- Can become stressful over time.
- Will have to stream for a while without pay before you can actually make a living from it.
- Will have to deal with technical errors from time to time.
While both live-streaming and uploading have their various pros and cons, using both methods to advertise your gameplay will help you to make a living from it faster than if you used one alone. Streaming your gameplay, saving those videos and then uploading them onto YouTube can help you to build your audience faster than if you did nothing.
Five Ways to Monetize Your Gameplay
Once you have figured out how you want to get your gameplay online, the next step is to figure out how you are going to monetize your gameplay. There are plenty of different ways to monetize your gameplay and earn money for your gaming skills. However, you need to keep in mind that each of the ways that I am going to explain in this section WILL take time for you to implement and WILL take time for you to see any rewards that are actually viable.
This is perhaps the most popular way to make money from your gameplay. The way this monetization option works is by you displaying advertisements on your gameplay videos or livestreams in exchange for compensation. Most of the time, the only way you earn money through this method is by having your viewers click on the advertisements and you earn money from each click.
One of the advantages about this monetization method is that you can start placing ads on your gameplay videos sooner rather than later, as long as you meet the qualifications the videos sites or livestreaming platforms have in place for ad revenue.
While there are many people who are not fans of Patreon, one cannot help but admit that Patreon is an excellent source of revenue, especially for gamers. Patreon is technically a membership service content creators can use to add value to their content and to share with their fans. The way it works is that fans pay a subscription based on the options you set forth in exchange for exclusive content and experiences from you. This subscription service can help ensure that you earn money on a regular and consistent basis doing the very thing you love: playing video games!
Patreon offers two tiers of subscription: monthly and per video basis. You can add tiers to this service and with each tier you can add rewards for your subscribers to receive. Whether that is behind the scenes exclusive content, access to your personal Discord server or access to play with you on a monthly basis, there is no end to what you can give to your subscribers for helping to support you.
Sponsorships are becoming increasingly popular for gamers, especially with the rise in eSports thanks to games like Overwatch and Call of Duty. A sponsorship is merely a deal between a gamer and a company such as a computer company or game developer where the gamer plays their game or on their equipment for advertising purposes in exchange for gear or money.
The problem with sponsorships is that they are incredibly hard to get, especially if you don’t have a large audience or if you don’t have skills most pro gamers have. However, it is not impossible.
There are plenty of corporations that are willing to work with gamers of all skills, you just need to know where to look. The best sites to use include:
- Hello Gamers
- The Controller Shop
- Cinch Gaming
4. Donations from Viewers
Another popular way to earn money from your gameplay is to receive donations from your viewers. Most live streamers and game creators rely on this monetization method and it can prove to be incredibly lucrative, depending on your fan base. It is nothing special for a live streamer to earn thousands of dollars a day while they are streaming, just from donations alone.
However, this is one of the most hated methods as well and why wouldn’t it be? Who wants to ask their viewers to give them money? The good news is you don’t have to ask your viewers directly. You can just add a disclaimer in the description of your gameplay video or livestream with a link to where they can donate and that can be just enough.
5. Product Placement
This is one of the most used ways to monetize your gameplay videos and unfortunately it is the one that can make creators the most money. This monetization option is where you can create t-shirts with your branding on it, mugs, or controllers that YOU CREATE. You can also promote products that aren’t made by you in a version of “affiliate marketing” in order to earn money. Look on sites like T-spree, Amazon, eBay or Razer to see what the latest products are that you can pimp out.
Remember, when creating videos, you want to make sure that every video earns you money. Whether that is by promoting your own t-shirt or mug, promoting a product for another company in exchange for a commission, asking viewers to donate, pimping out your Patreon page or creating consistent content to add ad revenue onto, this will be a on-going journey to make sure you can eventually make a living out of the gameplay you show off to your viewers.
How to Make Money Playing Video Games Step-by-Step
Now that you understand what it takes to play video games for a living, what equipment you need and the pros and cons of uploading videos or live-streaming gameplay, it is time to actually jump into the hard work you will undoubtedly have to put in, in order to be successful.
Step One: Creation
The first step to making money playing video games is to create your video game content. Whether that is recording the latest gameplay for your next let’s play series or streaming live on Tiwtch.tv, do it. If you are going to upload gameplay, as a rule of thumb, I highly recommend recording at least 1 to 2 hours of gameplay, that way when you edit, you can make 3 to 4 videos out of one recording. If you are live-streaming, stream for a minimum of 2 to 4 hours to start.
As you are creating your gameplay, make sure to be yourself. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. Be sure to add commentary to your gameplay so your viewers don’t get bored as they watch you.
Step Two: Uploading your Gameplay
Regardless if you recorded or livestreamed your gameplay, the next step will be to upload it to your favorite video platform, regardless if that is Dailymotion, Vimeo or YouTube. When uploading, I recommend taking the time to edit the video to make it even more unique and stand out against other gameplay videos out there. Throw in some text, a facecam and some visual effects to make it much more enjoyable to watch.
When uploading, make sure to use the appropriate tags and give a detailed description of what you are playing. Make sure to include a call to action to subscribe or check out more of your content towards the end of the video as well.
Step Three: Rinse and repeat
One video isn’t going to make you an overnight success, even if the video manages to go viral. Your next step will be to do it all over again, again and again for months to years. Reaching a high level of success as a gamer takes time, and most likely will take you years to achieve. But hell, it is possible. It just takes a lot of work on your end.
4 Tips From a Pro to Increase Viewership
Once you have started gaming routinely and have begun uploading or livestreaming content, the next step is to begin increasing how many people view your videos. There are many ways to accomplish this such as:
1. Be Yourself
Many people will immediately know if you are faking it in a video, whether that is to be too over enthusiastic or too full of energy. Instead, just be yourself. Laugh at whatever truly makes you laugh, make dumb snide comments and just allow your personality to shine through in your content. Trust me, more people will like you for you rather than a person you are trying to pretend to be.
2. Create Impressive Thumbnails and Video Titles
Most people will click on a video or livestream, just from the title and thumbnail alone. With that in mind, make sure you are taking the time to create a impressive thumbnail and coming up with a video title that will cause people to click on it. Use bold text in the thumbnail and the appropriate pictures to show viewers what they will be watching in the video. Also, keep the clickbait of videos to a minimum. While, it does work, it tends to cause viewers to hate your videos especially if the title is misleading.
3. Have Giveaways
Another great way to increase viewership is to host a giveaway every now and then. Now, I don’t mean give away a new Apple Macbook pro or a PS4. You can have a small giveaway such as a $10 giftcard to gamestop or to the PSN store. Not only will it increase views to your videos, but can also increase the number of followers you have in the process. However, if you are going to do a giveaway, make sure the giveaway is legit and you will be giving away actual products. There is nothing more that will kill your career than faking a giveaway.
4. Add valuable commentary
As a gamer, most people are watching your gameplay for you and your commentary, not necessarily the gameplay itself (unless you are really good). With that in mind, make sure you offer valuable commentary to your videos or livestreams and constantly keep talking. There is nothing more boring than a gameplay video or stream where the person isn’t talking. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and talk with your viewers. Discuss the mechanics of the game, your favorite things about the game, the things you hate the most or even laugh when you mess up. Trust me, it will go a long way.
My Final Thoughts…
Well, there you have it.
I hope that by the end of this long post you have learned how to make money playing video games and even feel encouraged to begin this exciting career. The next step for you to take is just to get out there and start playing!
Remember, as someone who makes a living online herself, I can tell you from experience this is one of the hardest routes you will take when it comes to making money online. That does not mean it is impossible, but it does mean that you will have A SHIT TON of work ahead of you. Gaming is not the only thing you will end up doing. You will end up marketing yourself, your skills, constantly editing content and building a following with your fans. While the work may be emmense, I promise, the rewards are well worth it it in the end!