Do you remember all the times your parents chastised you while you were growing up because you played too many video games? It turns out that they were wrong after all since people can now secure relatively big money jobs simply by doing what they love. While you might not get rich quickly as a professional gamer, there’s no reason that you can’t earn a living blasting aliens and saving lost kingdoms.
Beta testing and e-sports competition were really the only avenues for people to earn a living playing video games for years. Things are much different today, and it’s quickly become the streamers and casters who make the most stable incomes in the scene.
Getting Paid to Play Games Online
Unless you’re lucky enough to break out into the professional scene or earn a spot with one of the top competitive teams in Korea, your best bet is to become a caster who comments on their games they’re playing while people tune in online to watch. Gamers who go this route can collect recurring donations from fans who can’t wait to hear what crazy thing they’ll say next.
Donors are often attracted to those who fulfill a certain niche. Streams attract a crowd that isn’t always about StarCraft and Overwatch, even if more than a few casters wouldn’t mind living it up like D.Va does! Some people have found a substantial amount of success streaming retro games. Old school Game Boy RPGs, for instance, are popular with those who want to experience funny commentary while avoiding some of the complexities that plague modern FPS titles.
It doesn’t cost that much to get started, either.
What Gamers Need to Stream Online
Considering that you can get several fairly good gaming laptops under $500 at this point, there’s no reason someone has to go all out to be competitive. Relatively inexpensive machines should offer more than enough power for those who want to stream reasonably complex MMORPG titles and edit video. A simple external USB hard disk is more than enough to provide sufficient storage for many hours of gaming content that can then be played back online.
That’s helped to make this kind of setup particularly attractive with those who post Let’s Play-style videos to popular social sites like YouTube. In some cases, the built-in microphone is even good enough on these machines to use for narrating commentary. While monetizing these kinds of streams has proven difficult without a steady stream of donors, one recent trend is helping to drastically change that fact.
The Rise of Off-Beat Playthroughs
For a while, Nintendo attempted to regulate what gamers could do with their titles on the Internet. As a result, many people who previously made at least some portion of their income from streaming games had to give up whatever they were earning. While this program no longer seems to be in effect and the tech giant has helped to mend ways with gamers, there’s still some concern that the same thing could happen all over again.
Some people started to explore tabletop gaming and other avenues. A few of these projects became extremely popular and have encouraged donors to support crowdfunded ventures based on them. Other gamers, however, started to explore a world full of more off-beat options that weren’t as tied to extant developers.
A few have taken to using virtual machines to play classic MS-DOS games with friends, which has become a popular genre with those who long for the days of Doom, Raptor and Duke Nukem. Others have begun posting videos of games running on far more esoteric platforms, like the Commodore Amiga. These have started to attract quite an audience based on novelty alone.
While these feeds might not get nearly as many views as some of the bigger eSports events, they’re relatively easy to monetize since they tend not to step on legal department’s toes.
Beyond Simply Playing Games
In a few cases, gamers have been able to make a living by developing their own games and selling them online. This is a dream come true for anyone who sat down in front of their Sega Genesis as a kid and thought that someday they’d be the one doing the programming. While learning to code is a difficult proposition for many, there are some relatively simple tutorials available that can help beginners get started on their own titles.
No matter how they do it, though, gamers are going to keep finding new ways to make money while having fun.