Gamers spend a massive amount of time each year playing video games. Recent data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the average American aged 15 years or older spends 15 minutes playing games each day.
While playing games is fun as is, time is money and so many have asked themselves how they can turn this time spent playing games into a viable career. Here are some ideas:
Make Content for Games
Have you ever played a video game and felt that something was missing? Maybe you wished your character could equip an incredible skin or hoped that the main hub town was just a little bit bigger? It’s likely that you aren’t alone and many fans, who don’t have any technical game design or programming skills, will be willing to pay top dollar to make that happen. Several game developers and publishers support modders financially, with Bethesda’s Creation Club being an example of that. So if you have an idea that you think fans will love, this is one way to make money with games.
Become a Game Tester
If you’re more into breaking games than building things for them, becoming a game tester may suit you better. Video games these days are huge in their scope and scale and this means that there are many more aspects that can go wrong and thus, need to be tested before release. You would need to be thorough testing not just obvious areas but ridiculous possibilities including finding bugs that occur when you try to ride a horse into a tavern and speak to the bartender. But if you’re talented, you can make bank, with ZipRecruiter estimating that the average game tester makes more than $62,000 a year.
These days, being a talented video game player means more than just local fame or a coveted spot on top of an in-game leaderboard. Going pro can actually see you swimming in riches. Competitions such as Dota 2’s The International offer millions of dollars to the winning team (the 2017 prize pot was worth $24 million) and there are additional bonuses through sponsorship deals and endorsements as well as fan donations through platforms such as Twitch. It requires an intense training schedule, just like any sport (digital or traditional) but it’s a route to consider if you’re just that good.
Become a Gaming Tutor
Good at games but not good enough to go pro? The professional scene is a tough nut to crack so instead, you could try your hand at becoming a gaming tutor. There are amateur and more intermediate players looking to up their game and gain a better understanding across many disciplines. Multiplayer titles such as League of Legends and Overwatch all have big educational scenes, driven in part thanks to their esports leagues, but even players of casino games like baccarat and blackjack demand tutors. Again, becoming a tutor isn’t easy and in order to teach your students about things such as the different blackjack variants, e.g. when to stick and when to hit means that you’ll have to study the game first by opting to play online casino games and to read up as strategies and all of the top tips.
Start a Podcast or YouTube Channel
By now, you can tell that there are many, many aspects of games to discuss and explore. This ranges from the rich and engaging lore of a sci-fi shooter like Destiny, with its galaxy-hopping adventurers, its different races and character classes to the Call of Duty franchise, which has more than a dozen games and regularly introduces new maps and abilities that make it difficult for fans to keep up with. Fans love an excuse to discuss all of these concepts which is why starting a podcast or a YouTube channel may be a lucrative venture. It can be difficult to get traction with these but if you’re committed, knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the games or genres that you’re discussing, success may come your way eventually.
While there are quite a few Vita podcasts out there already (and we did produce our own short-lived one here too) there are always Vita owners eager for more news, reviews and opinions on games and as long as you have passion and basic recording and editing software you’ve got everything you need to go live on the podcasting front. YouTube is a little more complicated these days for the Vita depending on the focus you would want to take. News and commentary channels can be covered through the use of press stills and officially sourced in-game footage accompanied by voiceover work or appearing on screen yourself. When it comes to reviews you have something of a dilemma thanks to an omission from the Vita’s hardware which also affects making…
Let’s Play Videos
Incredibly popular on YouTube, the combined review, play-throughs of games not only give players a much needed feel for a game and whether it’s worth investing time and money in, but can be a great source of income for the would-be YouTuber. Whether it’s PC, console or retro gaming there are channels covering everything but there’s a slight problem for Vita owners… the console doesn’t offer any form of video output for recording game footage. It’s easier for those wanting to use the PlayStation Portable though. For those who own the 2000 and 3000 series console you could simply use the video output and record directly through any video capture device and get straight into making your own review channels. Not so with the Vita.
In that instance you have two options and neither is particularly pretty. First is to take an original 1000 series console and have it modified. Remember the unknown port at the top of the console? That’s where video out port was planned. There are people out there who specialise in modding Vitas to give them micro HDMI output ports but it’s not a cheap task but if it is something that you want doing, it may be an option to consider. Alternatively, you may want to invest in a PlayStation TV. While its native HDMI output is protected and can’t be recorded from, there are ways to bypass this so you can record game footage directly from the PSTV for all you budding let’s play creators out there.
Write Gaming Guides
The visual and audio mediums might not be your thing – that’s understandable and not everyone has a natural charm and some people feel nervous on camera (or microphone.) People may still want to hear your thoughts and top tips on how to beat a game, which is where game guides come in. Plenty of games are built on strategy, from the magical decks of cards in Hearthstone to the characters you choose in Heroes of the Storm, gamers are eager for someone to guide them and producing these guides could well make you money.
Who says that gaming is a worthless hobby? The above list could potentially become a career for the patient gamer – few hobbies allow you to make money by playing a lot but video games show that this is possible.
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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