As a gamer, it’s within our wildest fantasies to make ends meet solely through playing our favorite video games.
This would mean we won’t have to commit a significant part of our daily lives to attend to our 9-5 or part-time jobs. Instead, we’d be sitting in peace within the comfort of our own homes, playing games and grinding levels as a primary bread-and-butter. What a life, right?
We’re here to tell you— yes, it’s actually possible to make money off playing video games. However, it is not as easy as most gamers actually believe.
Can you make money playing video games?
There are three major paths you can take if you want to make money playing video games. You can either be a video game streamer, a professional eSports player, or both.
Video Game Streamer
If you want to become a successful video game streamer in the long run, it is your job to deliver high-quality game plays to your audience and portray a vibrant and entertaining personality.
The absence of both might just lead to online flak. For one, you need to be at least adept at the games you play and prove to your audience that you have some potential.
You also need to be entertaining enough to make your viewers stay in your livestream. Nobody wants to watch a boring game streamer when they can enjoy the action better in another streamer’s channel. Talk to your audience and reply to your chat. Be as immersive as possible.
Big-time streamers also need to invest in their gaming set-up to avoid any issues during their live broadcasts, such as possible FPS drops or connection problems.
Typically, video game streamers get paid through subscriptions and donations depending on their streaming platform of choice. Some also prefer attaching their direct accounts, such as PayPal links, to receive monetary donations directly.
You can also upload video montages of your best gameplays on YouTube, where you can also earn some bucks through ads. Just make sure your channel has met all the criteria needed to be eligible for monetization on the platform.
Professional eSports Player
Many have tried but only a selected few have succeeded in the pro eSports industry so far.
Keep in mind that the cutthroat environment and competitiveness of the industry isn’t for the faint hearted. Professional gamers must be strong, both in-game and IRL, if they want to thrive in such an environment.
ESports prize pools are also only getting bigger by the day, such as the likes of Dota 2’s The International 10 which has been breaking records left and right when it comes to having the largest prize pot ever in eSports.
The career also doesn’t offer any sense of security of tenure. You may be one of the highest-paid eSports players today, but in the next tournament there’s a chance you might go back to being a nobody. Hence, pro eSports players need to seize any opportunities thrown their way before it gets too late.
Both (Streaming & pro eSports)
Gaming icons such as Michael “shroud” Grzesiek and Richard “Ninja “ Tyler Blevins prove that talented gamers can also enjoy the best of both worlds.
Although they initially started actively competing in the pro eSports scene, Ninja on Halo 3, H1Z1, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) while Shroud on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) respectively— they both shifted to full-time streaming later in their career.
This is an option some gamers may consider especially if they have built a generous following online. They can still make money off playing their video games of choice, but without the pressure of competing in various eSports tournaments.
Those who both stream their games and play competitively might also even get brand sponsorship deals and get signed by eSports organizations.
What to Keep in Mind
Although it seems like a dream job to many, playing video games for a living can actually take a toll on yourself if you don’t put yourself first.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to successfully thrive in the gaming industry in the long run:
Take care of yourself physically
Sitting in front of your Gaming PC and Consoles for long hours at a time only gives little to no room for active movement. Take it upon yourself to do some stretches in between your gaming grind.
Stray away from drinking too much coffee or energy drinks if you’re pulling occasional all-nighters over your games, as it may only bring you harm in the long run. Drink plenty of water in a day and make sure your meals are filled with vitamins and minerals.
For pro eSports aspirants, it is important to keep themselves fit, active and healthy to better prepare for long hours of practice sessions. Fortunately, big eSports organizations support their players with gym access, a personalized fitness regime, and personal trainers.
Keep in mind that being a good gamer and a healthy person at the same time is always possible.
Prioritize your mental health
Regardless of whether you choose to be a pure video game streamer or an eSports star, gamers are susceptible to various mental health issues.
There will always be bad days, and at times you feel full of it and you can’t go on anymore— remind yourself of the reason why you started in the first place.
If you’re feeling frustrated because you’re underperforming on your games lately or having slow channel growth, take some time off to clear your negative thoughts. In gaming, you can always try again. Once you feel a bit better, give yourself a needed nudge to try again.
Having a positive mindset will help you thrive in the gaming industry and overcome any challenges that may come your way.
Patience is your best friend
Everyone starts as beginners, even the big icons we all look up to nowadays. Unless you successfully go viral on the internet, best expect it would take a while for your channel to see some steady growth.
It’s not a valid reason to be discouraged, though. Have faith in yourself and celebrate small victories, even if it means 2-3 new followers in a week or a little increase in your stream’s average concurrent viewers. Remember that small progress is still progress!
This applies to your journey as an aspiring pro eSports gamer, as well. You have to be patient and remain humble as you work on your gameplay and improve in your game of choice. Never get too cocky
There are hundreds to thousands of other better players in your game, so give it your best shot as you spend long hours on practice matches if you want to be one of the best.
Don’t do it for the money alone
If making money is the sole reason you’re streaming your games or aspiring to be a pro eSports star, that mindset will likely lead you to a burn-out.
We’re not saying you shouldn’t motivate yourself through money. Practicality is okay, but having a real passion for video games and doing it because it actually makes you happy are some other reasons you might want to consider as you venture into this career on a long term basis.
If your monthly earnings didn’t meet your target or if your channel takes too long to be eligible for monetization, you might just lose the drive to continue doing what you do.
Sometimes, this industry can rather be cutthroat. Instead of drowning yourself in the toxicity, do your part in practicing “healthy” gaming— both physically and mentally.
Strive for self-improvement
There is always a room for improvement, especially in Gaming. Even if you’re hailed as a two-time eSports champion, you still need to continue playing often to know what the current META is.
A game’s META, which refers to the “Most Effective Tactics Available,” is considered as the most effective strategy in the game to outplay others and claim that victory for yourself.
This is common in most multiplayer ranked games, where your skills will be put to a test as you play with other players who are often on the same skill level as you.
If you want to be successful in this career, better work on your in-game skills, study what the META is, and learn from other skilled players. Your skills will give you an advantage if you want to enter the professional eSports scene, and it will lure in some new audience if you want to become a big-time game streamer.
Ask any gamer if they’d want to make a living based off playing their favorite video games, and we can guarantee you they would most likely say yes.
Having a job playing video games with it as your biggest passion in life is just as fulfilling as achieving your childhood dreams.
We’re here to tell you it’s possible, of course. You can definitely make some money by playing video games— but it’s not an easy journey just like any other jobs out there. Be prepared to give it your utmost commitment, dedication, and perseverance.