For decades it seemed as if only publishers and developers were the ones making money from video games. Today, the situation is very different. Almost every player has a chance to earn good money in the games industry. Of course, success is not guaranteed but the most talented and motivated ones will have a chance at financial success. But you need to understand that games are different: very big sums of cash can flow around big name games and there’s not always as much to earn at the opposite end of the spectrum. It’s also worth remembering that there’s a lot of competition out there with the same plans…
So how can you make money from gaming? What games are in demand? To start off, you should look to Twitch to answer this question. The streaming service has been one of the leaders and the competitor of such giant as YouTube for years. Who is at the top of Twitch? These games are: Dotа 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Overwatch, and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, and League of Legends (LoL). All games have their own esports disciplines, which gather millions of viewers all over the world.
While the PS Vita isn’t going to be able to help you in the world of esports thanks to the short-sightedness of Sony, Twitch and the aforementioned YouTube can still be of use to Vita owners in making money while having fun with the console. But it’s not the only way….
Professional players are just the top of the gaming world. They have significant skills in their disciplines, knowing all aspects of the games they play. Like any other professional sports, esports has an opportunity to be for those with the right abilities. The best teams and players can become personalities in their own rights, and their popularity amongst their peers and personalities will have – as with traditional sports – have an influence on the level of professional players’ income. It’s worth notiing that Esports is incredibly popular in Asia – more so than major “real” sports (football, hockey, etc.). Gamers are treated with higher regard than footballers, basketball players or those in other sports. The situation is a bit different in Europe: games haven’t been considered seriously for years. But the situation is starting to change.
What elements are included in the salary of a professional gamer? First of all, it’s a salary under contract with a team. Usually this will be through team sponsorship (as you’ll see from shirts worn at tournaments). Players contracts usually involve some commitments beyond playing, granting the sponsor various rights and publicity. Rewards for the player usually extend beyond financial though so it’s. The more popular players can have individual sponsorship deals in addition to their team ones. The average salary in the esports amounts 10-12 thousand dollars per month depending on the games the teams are involved with and their success. But the biggest earnings are made in Dota 2 and CS:GO.
The esportsman’s salary roof depends on his team’s success at various championships. Many famous players have earned about a few million dollars in their career. For example, the annual income of the most successful player, Kuro ‘KuroKy’ Salehi Takhasomi (Dota 2), is higher than 4 million dollars.
Casting and analysts
Gaming broadcasts are followed not only by former gamers but by studios of analysts and casters. The main thing in this business is gaming knowledge, a glib tongue, and a proficiency in gaming. The best casters and analysts usually work salaried in-house for specific broadcasters but can often work as “secondary” casters at friendly tournaments as well. For example, Russian-speaking casters cover American or Chinese tournaments and vice versa. A row of analysts and casters play well, which they are not shy to show during their streams.
While PS Vita owners can’t take advantage of eSports, the growth of gaming from a spectators perspective is something that we can make use of. Even with the cancellation of the console itself, there is still a vast opportunity for new content providers to produce reviews, walkthroughs and other video content featuring PS Vita games. Unlike some consoles (and the PC for that matter), the Vita was never equipped with video output but that hasn’t stopped the more determined Vita owners out there.
Using a PlayStation TV and a suitable capture card, the majority of PS Vita games can be recorded allowing game play to be uploaded to YouTube. It’s not going to make you rich overnight but for established channels it can earn a comfortable amount with successful channels being able to earn their creators thousands of pounds a year. While you’d need to reach a few million views a year to be able to consider making a living from YouTube alone, it’s not impossible.
On Twitch, regular users and professionals, casters and analysts can demonstrate their gameplay skills. There are three ways of monetizing your work in this business.
First, you can earn a small income from paid subscriptions by owning a gaming channel. Obviously the more subscribers you have, the bigger reward will be. But income from a subscription may sound strange to some, liking it to viewers’ donations. Many streamers talk with viewers during their broadcasts. In such a way, they become closer to their audience.
Some streamers will offer perks and benefits to those who subscribe including greater levels of interaction, as well as merchandise for sale using one of Twitch’s partners. Popular streamers can earn large sums daily from subscriptions or even one-off donations from viewers. Again in Asia, streamers may earn anything up to 800 thousand dollars in a year, working 90 hours per week. But it’s worth bearing in mind the size of the audience, which is much larger in Asia than in other regions. There are even profile TV-channels in South Korea and China, which show PC games. So the gaming culture is developed very well in Asia.
The final option, and probably the most obvious, is for streamers to take sponsorship and advertising.
The creation of in-game content
There are people who spend their money on purchasing clothes in real life and there are those who buy equipment in a game. When it comes to online multiplayer games, this allows to stand out from other players and gives you a competitive edge. There is always a demand for inventory items. Valve’s Steam platform has succeeded here the most, having created a multi-game trading platform where everyone can sell and buy in-game items. Those fortunate (or astute) enough to get the right items at the right price could do well as virtual traders.
What about those of you who may be talented 3D artists? If you have skills in 3D object modelling then you can Steam Workshop. Develop a positive reputation there from your peers in the community and make your work available for sale to players worldwide. According to Valve’s reports, about 50-70 million dollars go to 1,500 third-party developers’ pockets every year. If you count, this is about 38 thousand dollars for each.
Many people may find out equating esports with traditional sports strange but bookmakers have a different opinion. Bookmakers have been receiving bets on esports events for a long time. A strong gambling culture has already grown around esports and is building daily. Obviously, betting is a big risk. But it’s pretty possible to earn money here too. First of all, you need to deal with bets responsibly and try not to get emotionally involved. Keep a clear head and think logically to maximise your chances of success and earning good money.
Husband, father and lifelong geek. Originally from the West Midlands, now spending my days in South Wales with my family and a house full of animals. Passionate about video games, especially retro gaming, the Commodore 64 and PlayStation Vita. Love pro wrestling, sci-fi and I’m an animal lover and vegetarian.
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