Five Ways to Make Money While Playing Video Games

Anyone who grew up with a computer or a console knows how engaging video games can be: dazzling storylines, stunning graphics, challenging mechanics.

Then again, anyone who grew up with a computer or console experiences that moment when a concerned parent says, “That’s all good and fun, but when are you going to do something productive?” Who’s to say video games can’t be? Here are five ways you can make money playing video games.


Many players nowadays take to live streaming. While there was originally a “stream war” kicked off by YouStream in which different platforms fought to be the primary source of streaming, Twitch has now established itself as the winning site. With the majority of both streamers and a streaming audience on one site, streaming is made accessible. Streamers portray themselves through carefully crafted personas, playing games with impressive dexterity. Many streamers start off playing games that are popular at the time and from then on gain a following. Between sponsors and devoted followers, streamers can turn a profit. Tyler Blevins, or Ninja, recently made a place for himself in streaming history through his streams of the battle royale game Fortnite. His streams earn him several thousand followers at any given time and, according to CNBC, over $500k a month.

2YouTube content creation

What started as a small video creation platform in 2005 has blown up into an empire capable of turning people into billionaires. Although Youtube does offer live streaming facilities, where gamers have found their place is in its edited video arena. Some players find a niche in making videos analysing video games, doing play-throughs and acting as critics. Others record themselves playing and then splice together the best moments. In either case, by monetising videos and working with ad companies, with enough followers, Youtube can generate a sizeable income for their content creators.


There are few differences between e-sports stars and sports stars apart from the platform they perform on. They spend several hours a day training and practising, they have to establish a healthy team dynamic and do team building exercises, they get traded among several teams across the globe, they participate in tournaments, and they have to start from a very young age if they expect to compete at a professional level. Tournaments are these eSports stars’ primary source of income.

According to EsportsEarnings, the total prize money that has been awarded through online sports is $507,031,081.51 across over 28,000 tournaments, and that number is constantly increasing. Currently, the esports with the top income are:

  • Dota 2 with over $143 million and 2,539 players
  • Counterstrike: Global Offensive with $57 million and 9,919 players
  • League of Legends with $54 million and 5,525 players
  • StarCraft II at $27 million and 1,771 players
  • Heroes of the Storm with $14 million and 1,040 players.

Like in offline sports, esports players retire young, with plenty to retire on, or go on to become esport coaches.

4Online casino games

Like sports, casinos have also found a way to take their market online. In the last few decades, there has been a booming online casino environment, with new players every day. Where some players come to them casually, like the tourist that takes the occasional trip to Las Vegas, others are far more serious. Like offline gambling, online gambling has real potential to turn a profit.

Online slot spin games are generally the casino games with the highest payouts, as well as the most popular ones out there. Unlike offline slots, online slots also come with bonuses and extras: some bonuses mean you get in-game credit to start playing risk-free without your own money (and possibly turning a sizeable profit off of little-to-nothing). Moreover, there are several online slot machines that have a high Return-to-Player percentage, the percentage a game pays out over its entire existence.

5Selling in-game items

According to Medium, the virtual items trading industry is worth $50 billion. In both paid games and free-to-play games, there are always items or skins that can either be bought from the game company or found by luck. Depending in the rarity or worth of these items, they can be worth either a few dollars or several thousand. Games such as World of Warcraft, where the longer you play, the more you accrue, can become very valuable at higher levels. People take these games seriously and are willing to dole out for valuable items. Moreover, if someone high level lost interest in a game and chose to sell their account, that can also bring in an income.