Some people play video games casually, while others spend almost as much time on their consoles as they do at work. We’re always being encouraged to find a job doing something we love, so those whose passion is pixelated will be delighted to hear that there are genuine ways to make money playing games. Whether you want to put yourself in the limelight or work behind the scenes, here are some of the best ways to make money from video games.

Live Streaming/YouTuber

If you want to be associated with your gaming career, you’ll almost certainly need to be prepared to go on camera. Live streaming has really taken off in recent years, with players loving to log on and watch how other people play some of their favourite games. Some streamers advertise challenges they are hoping to complete – often achievements which are difficult or entertaining like getting through GTA without breaking the law – so that people will want to watch. Others offer playthroughs of games as a way of helping less-skilled players complete in-game activities.

Getting started with a streaming career is easy – all you need is a decent computer with streaming software and good internet. It helps if you’re also good at presenting, as streamers connect with their audience by narrating over their gameplay. Those who are funny, witty, and entertaining, are more likely to build up a repeat audience. And it’s the building up of the audience which takes time – but without them you won’t be making much money at all. Putting advertisements on your videos or asking followers for donations and subscriptions are all ways to make money from videos, but they’ll only bring in pennies at a time until you hit thousands of followers.

Professional Poker Player

One type of game where money is always plentiful is online poker – although it isn’t always flowing in the right direction! Online gambling has become very popular in recent years, and the quality and quantity of poker games has kept up with demand. More and more professional poker players start off playing the games online, and with online tournaments now posting seven-figure jackpots, the online world is no longer playing second fiddle to the land-based casino circuit.

Previously, getting into professional poker games was difficult and often involved a significant commitment to travel. All that has gone out of the window now, making it even easier to make a decent living playing poker. You will need to commit time to learning and practising the game, analysing past hands and crunching the numbers to determine the best plays to make, but it’s worth it to put yourself a step ahead of the casual players. Another big advantage to playing poker online is that you have access to a huge pool of lesser-skilled opponents, and you can make a fair amount of money just playing cash games rather than entering tournaments.

Game Creation and Testing

There’s obviously a huge team of people behind every successful title, and it’s not just developers and programmers. Modern video games have teams of researchers, scriptwriters, artists, and testers who also make important contributions to the look and feel of each title. If your skills lie in the creative spectrum then it’s worth keeping an eye open for opportunities to work with developers on a freelance basis, as this if often a great route into the industry.

If you’re more interested in playing games than designing them, game testing will give you an opportunity to get paid for just that. However, don’t imagine that you will be rushing through the storyline: testers are paid to find broken code, and this will often involve hours of performing systematic actions in different areas to see which cause the game to glitch. It’s an easy job to get started at though, with websites like PlaytestCloud offering freelancers the chance to get involved with the testing of mobile games. You can pick and choose assignments which work for you so it’s a great way to fit around a day job.

Another important type of playtesting is the Quality Assurance tester. They won’t get involved until the game testers have already ironed out the bugs in the code. Instead, they are looking for what makes the game as good as it can be. If you have enough experience with a certain type of game, you’ll know the aspects which are important to really make one stand out from the rest. QA testing is more about playing through different versions of the game and reporting back which parts weren’t as fun as the others. Most QA testers are freelancers and contractors, so it’s another good career option for people who like to be masters of their own workload.

Professional Gaming

Of course, if playing games is your passion, there’s no higher calling than that of the professional gamer. eSports are on the rise and there are plenty of PVP tournaments out there with decent cash prizes. However, it’s an unpredictable arena – even the best-of-the-best can have a bad game and get knocked out by a teenage noob with more luck than skill. You will probably need to specialise in one game and hone your skills until you can play it blindfolded – so make sure it’s not something you’re going to ever get sick of playing.

Those who manage to garner some success in the tournaments might start to catch the interest of sponsors and eSports teams. These will offer you money to play under their banner, which might be enough to keep you living comfortably as you jet around the world from tournament to tournament.

Most professional gamers also supplement their winnings with streaming channels, gaming journalism, and even testing. The eSports industry is so new that salaries and sponsorship deals aren’t competitive. However, in a few more years, who knows where they could be?


No one is going to become a millionaire overnight from playing video games – even the YouTubers who seem to have managed it, have been grafting away since before YouTube was popular, you just hadn’t heard of them back then. However, it isn’t impossible to supplement your income with gaming, you just need to choose the right way that works for you and is still fun.