Parents tend to worry when their offspring are so enthralled by video games they spend much of their free time up in their room, not studying or reading but playing online. But did you know there are ways to make money playing video games?
Your kids probably do.
Take for example, PewDiePie - they all know who he is. They may not know his real name is Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg. And they may not know his net worth is estimated at between $14.5 million and $30 million. But they know he is the most famous 'YouTuber' ever.
Most people can't make as much as PewDiePie has, because he started doing it back when few people even knew money could be made playing video games. But, just because you or your offspring won't likely become the next most famous YouTuber, doesn't mean there isn't money to be made.
How to Make Money Playing Video Games: 8 Ways
1. Quality Assurance Tester
Video games are ultimately the result of computer programming - getting a computer to react the way the developer and gamers want it to, to look right, and perhaps feel as realistic as possible, like Star Trek's 'Holodeck.' To achieve this, game design companies need some independent people to play them to tell them what is good or what is bad, what works and what doesn't.
That's where being a QA tester comes in. The designers and developers need to know how users feel about a new game or upgraded design, not just that it has some technical problems. They're not testing the wiring or circuitry or power supply. They're testing, like kids with a new toy, how much more fun a new or upgraded game is for players than those already in the market.
QA testers don't just play a game through to its highest possible level. They play different designs, different builds, multiple times, until they can find nothing to object to, and report they had fun.
Think of working in QA as being paid to solve multiple puzzles. Any glitch or mistake or thing wrong in a program has to be reproducible, so developers can figure out how to eliminate it.
Much of QA work is contract work, so don't expect to get rich. But it still could pay between $10 and $15 an hour, and that's better than your average minimum-wage job.
2. Game Tester
The most basic difference between a Quality Assurance tester and a 'Game Tester' or 'Beta Tester' is that QA deals with a product that's already met a certain level of quality as desired by the developers. Being a 'Tester' involves literally trying to 'break' a game, or find out ways to mess it up or analyze why it may or may not be fun for users.
3. Become a Professional Gamer
Yes, mom and dad, that's a 'thing.' Pro Gamers are now competing around the world, and winning millions at events sponsored by the Major League Gaming circuit, the International Dota 2 championship, and Intel Extreme Masters. MLG has built arenas across the country from which to host and stream live professional gaming events. It even has scouts and communities on the internet to find the best, untapped players.
The best advice for how to get involved is to pick a game, namely one you consider yourself already good at playing, and become an expert at it. Then, build your reputation as both a skilled player and a team player. Then, participate in eSports games.
4. Become an Entertainer and Streamer (Like PewDiePie)
Every gamer or YouTube follower knows the moniker "PewDiePie." But how did Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg become so famous? Well, he started out just playing video games, and uploading videos of himself playing on YouTube. He came up with his name because he thought it would be pronounced like the sound of the "shooter" video games he preferred playing. "Pew, pew," - the sound of electronic simulated gunfire or electronic laser shots.
He originally was calling himself "PewDie," then lost his credentials for that YouTube channel, and started another one, with the handle "PewDiePie." And a star was essentially born.
Justin Bieber, similarly, was discovered after uploading videos of himself performing some songs on YouTube.
The beauty of YouTube for entertainers is that essentially all that's needed now is a cellphone with a video camera and you can start uploading videos of yourself in a channel that people looking for entertainment online can see, and, ultimately, to which they can subscribe.
That being said, AdroidPIT advises streamers to be sure your equipment is reliable, and as close to professional as possible.
They suggest dual monitors, and perhaps two PCs, so you can play a video game on one and keep an eye one and respond to fans on the other.
To do that, you need a video capture card to connect the two machines, which will help with the streaming rate.
Also, keep in mind that, especially with a growing number of streamers, all inspired by PewDiePie's success and money, (he is reported to earn an average of $400,000 a month) your personality is the key more than what game you play or your equipment. You are there to entertain people, not just play a game in your room quietly by yourself.
The first step, of course, is to record yourself playing and upload it to a YouTube channel, like PDP (shorthand for PewDiePie).
To start a YouTube channel, you need a Google (GOOG) - Get Report account. In YouTube, go to Creator Studio. From there, it will tell you that you must create a channel to upload videos. Click "Create a Channel," and create a channel.
To upload videos to your account, go to "Video Manager," and in the upper right hand corner you'll see an 'upload' button. Click it, and you'll be ready to upload your first video (that you downloaded to your computer). There is also an icon for streaming "live" to your fans.
4. Join Twitch
Twitch, a live streaming video platform, is a subsidiary of Twitch Interactive, which was acquired by Amazon (AMZN) - Get Report in 2014 for $970 million. Twitch was, in 2014, the fourth largest source of internet traffic in the U.S. Twitch has a "Partner Program" that pays partners $3 for every 1,000 ad views; $5 a month for every subscriber and, combining it with sponsorships, Amazon referral links, and PayPal (PYPL) - Get Report donations, gamers can start to build both their audience and their income.
That's because, even more than YouTube, Twitch is used by gamers to stream video game playing. Among the common tips from people who have done it are: try to focus on one particular game, to narrow focus of fans on you and your channel; maintain a consistent, and reliable, schedule; consider streaming with a friend, so you have someone to interact with on your stream besides just the game; when your channel attracts fans, interact with them.
Twitch's Partner Program allows content producers to share with the platform the advertising revenue generated by their streams. Twitch partners also get a share in the monthly channel subscription, though there was at one time a requirement for prospective partners to have 500 or more average viewers.
Twitch launched an Affiliate Program in 2017, to allow smaller channels to generate revenue.
5. Contact Sponsors
After you get a following for your stream, whether it's on YouTube, Twitch or elsewhere, to generate more revenue you will likely want to contact sponsors - just as, in the past, television producers used to seek sponsors for programs.
To acquire sponsors, the first thing you need to do is prepare to impress them. Next, search for brands that you like, that might want to sponsor you. Consider as well: would you, or do you, use their product?
Next, find who in that company do you want to notice you? Use social media to find them, or to help them find you.
And remember, you're not trying to sell them anything; you're trying to convince them that you can bring value to them or their product.
6. Get Paid Directly to Play
Again, this may come as a shock to some, but yes, there are actually sites that will pay you to play their games.
You won't be paid in cash upfront. You may get paid in some form of electronic or cryptocurrency, like tokens or 'coins' that then you can turn in to gift cards or prepay cards, such as with Banatic, Swagbucks, and InboxDollars.
Most of these sites are looking for you to not only play their games for free, but also to review them. Some, like InboxDollars, are actually a service for marketers to reach potential customers, from which InboxDollars shares some of its advertising income.
8. Provide Game Play Tutorials
You can even make money producing tutorials on how to play video games. Your YouTube channel or streaming site will earn money with every person that clicks on it. Advertisers pay Google, for instance, to display ads on videos. Google, a division of Alphabet, owns YouTube.
To start, open an account at AdSense, and link it to your YouTube account. Choose whether you want video or banner ads to display.
But a warning: to make money with video game tutorials, or any tutorial, you need to get thousands of people to view it.
That's about it.
But it's enough to counter the argument you'll never make money playing video games.
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