In the current age of hybrid working and focusing on work/life balance, more people than ever are looking for side hustles that generate some extra income with minimal effort, or through some activity that they would do anyway for pleasure. Side hustles are sometimes tech based, such as running an affiliate website or monetizing a blog or social feed. Others are more traditional, for example buying and selling collectables or making craft products to sell.
But how about earning money from playing games? It sounds too good to be true, but if you choose the right game on the right platform and develop the right skills, it can be highly lucrative.
Johan “n0tail” Sundstein is a Danish gamer who has won more than $7 million playing DOTA 3, and has yet to turn 30. Korean players Faker and Flash have also accumulated seven figure sums playing League of Legends and Starcraft respectively. Granted, that is a little like citing Cristiano Ronaldo or LeBron James and saying you can earn money playing soccer or basketball, but the point is there are hundreds of eSport teams playing in dozens of leagues for substantial prize funds.
The average pro gamer will not become a millionaire like n0tail, but as a side hustle, earning a place on a CS:GO or DOTA 2 team can definitely generate some worthwhile cash rewards if you’ve got the necessary skills.
Here’s a game that has been played for money since time immemorial and just like eSport, the financial rewards are there for the taking if you’ve got the skills. With most games that are played in a casino, like blackjack or roulette, you’ll usually end up losing money due to the house edge. Poker is different, as you are up against other players, not the house. If you choose your games with care and stick to your own skill level, then you stand a good chance of coming out on top.
The internet has made poker more accessible to novice players, and you don’t have to be the next Daniel Negreanu to play poker profitably. You can click here to find out more about the best online poker sites and how they operate.
Dozens of new games are developed every month, and every single one of them needs to go through a rigorous process of testing to iron out any bugs prior to release on the general market. There’s no easy way to do that other than through hours of gameplay.
Game studios tend to subcontract this out to freelance contractors, who provide general feedback on the gameplay and offer suggestions for improvements as well as identifying bugs and glitches. The average QA game tester earns about $50,000 per year working full time. If you are just testing as a side hustle at evenings and weekends, that can still easily amount to an extra $1000 in your pocket every month.
Pro gamers like Ninja and PewDiePie have earned tens of millions just from sharing their gameplay on live streams. It might sound too good to be true, but the facts stand up for themselves. There are scores of streamers out there who make a good living. They are not all multi-millionaires like Ninja, but full-timers make an average $4,000 per month.
You don’t have to be a Fortnite fanatic to make a go of it, either. There are live streamers out there who specialize in everything from retro 80s games to live casino slots. Streamers generate income from donations, subscriptions, advertising, brand sponsorship, affiliate marketing or most commonly, a combination of the above.
Game streaming looks like a fabulous money-maker at first glance. However, you have to be ready to make some investment, both in terms of finance and personal time and commitment. For one thing, a streamer needs a good quality kit, from the mic to the chair to the quality of the internet connection. Secondly, the only way to build an audience and a reputation are to be broadcasting fresh content at regular dates and times.
If your only experience of blockchain games is crypto kitties, don’t throw your hands up in despair just yet. A new generation of Play 2 Earn blockchain games has appeared, and they cover a range of genres. The concept is simple enough – progress in the game is rewarded by in-game tokens that have tangible value in the blockchain ecosystem and can ultimately be used for other purposes or even converted to fiat currency.
The exact mechanisms and models by which P2E games deliver returns vary completely from one game to another. To take a common example, some games have native tokens for in-game purchases and trading between players. This creates a marketplace in which virtual assets appreciate as they are traded, thereby injecting value into the game’s economy. Of course, we cannot rule out the other option, which is that people will tire of the game, participation will dwindle and the games will end up forgotten.
P2E is still something of an unknown quantity, and if a game doesn’t take off, its coins stand every chance of joining so many alternative cryptocurrencies that are languishing and doing very little. But P2E game are going through a peak area of interest at the moment, and if you are keen on gaming and on cutting edge trends, you’ll be curious to give them a go anyway.
Don’t expect miracles, these little games are still very much a work in progress. They will not provide you with free access to the Bitcoin Billionaires Club in the real world, but any free money is worth having. What’s more, and if P2E really does turn out to be the shape of things to come, there will surely be benefits to having been there on the ground floor, when those first games of a new generation first arrived in the virtual world.