Author Topic: Earning money for playing video games?  (Read 11953 times)

Grigory

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Earning money for playing video games?
« on: July 19, 2015, 11:59:23 AM »
Are there any video games that have a legitimate system for making money? :)

I'm trying to monetize my favorite pastime, since a) I like video games, b) I'm bored with my beloved old games and c) I feel bad about using my free time in such an unproductive (financially speaking, at least) way.

I know that World of Warcraft has an underground economy where you can sell high-level characters to other players, but that's against the game's official rules and you can get banned. :( When Diablo-3 came out, it had the Real Money Auction House (RMAH), where you could sell your gold, gems and items for real money. I managed to make about $100 from my casual gaming before they shut down the auction house in 2014.

Is there anything like that now? Any games where there's a real, official option to get paid for getting really good at the game?

Zamboni

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2015, 12:05:09 PM »
I have not tried this myself, but a friend's son tried it one summer. My understanding was that he did not make very much money.

Some people seem to make youtube videos that the narrate while showing a game character in action about how to solve certain things in games. Your best bet there is probably high volume games played by kids. I've heard that you can earn money based upon the number of views you get in youtube if you let them show ads, but I don't know much about this.

Grigory

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2015, 12:14:01 PM »
Sorry - I meant in-game systems, as in games that have an established, official and allowed system for converting your loot (or whatever it is you find) into money, like Diablo-3's auction house. I just want to get paid for relaxing - I don't feel like becoming a youtube entertainer haha

Cathy

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2015, 12:17:13 PM »
I know it's not quite what you are asking for, but there are various games that are played competitively in tournaments (sometimes with some level of support by the game creators, but sometimes not). If you are a top player, you can definitely earn a lot of money by consistently winning tournaments in certain popular games. This can earn you a wage comparable to a professional full-time job, if not higher. That may not satisfy your "relaxing" criterion, but it's viable.

Murse

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2015, 12:18:18 PM »
Sorry - I meant in-game systems, as in games that have an established, official and allowed system for converting your loot (or whatever it is you find) into money, like Diablo-3's auction house. I just want to get paid for relaxing - I don't feel like becoming a youtube entertainer haha

This is the only game that I know of that it is built in.

Psychstache

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2015, 01:19:20 PM »
It depends entirely on the game. In my experience, it is going to require a lot of time and energy and stops making it more of a game and more of a job. You need to behave in specific ways to maximize your profit and it can be hard continue to enjoy yourself when you are working in that manner. I did this with MTGO and made a good amount of money, but ultimately it killed my interest in the game since it stopped being a hobby that I enjoyed and became real work to keep my margins (plus they 'updated' the UI and made my job much harder).

If you want to make money playing games now, your best bet is to do streaming. I have friends that are notable Twitch personalities that are doing okay for themselves (one who is killing it). Find a game you like, develop your niche and audience (are you hardcore pro player who is helping people get better? goof off with great commentary? cosplayer for subscribers? guy who plays random challenges that get him killed but entertains the audience?), and keep at it till you can build up your subscriber base.


Sukotto

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2015, 02:03:27 PM »
The short answer? No, not really.

On Steam, there are certain ways to earn badges and stuff which you can sell on the Market for cents. But that requires a lot of games and a lot of hours, certainly no way to recoup those monetary losses.

Playing competitively is one option but I'm not sure if that falls within your criteria. League of Legends, Dota 2, Street Fighter and others all have huge tournaments with big prize pools.

I think the closest answer to your question is Twitch. But to be successful you have to treat it like a job. You have to cultivate and create an audience through advertising and entertainment. You have to be an entertainer. To be recognized by Twitch, and earn money, you have to have a large enough following to become a Twitch Partner.

So like a lot of other things in life, there is no get rich quick scheme

dsmexpat

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2015, 02:29:30 PM »
If you are very good at it and have a lot of time to put in you can fairly easily make a minimum wage in a lot of games. However you have to be the kind of exceptional mind that would be able to easily command several times minimum wage doing the exact same kind of thinking in the real world. MMOs reward problem solving, thinking outside of the box, being able to quickly digest, understand and exploit large rulesets and often a fair bit of programming. If you have those then you can look at a virtual economy, break it down, spreadsheet it and then come back rich (in game). But at that point you're doing actual work that someone would actually pay you for and you're doing it for fun for pretend money.

I wasted a childhood making a truly vast online virtual fortune because for some reason I thought that using my talents in game was fun but out of game was boring. I'm now selling off said fortune and making four figure amounts monthly but I'm not still playing the game, as such. I couldn't work out what I make hourly etc because I'm not making the currency and then selling it, just selling the stockpile from years of casual accumulation. I treat it as a windfall effectively.

OneCoolCat

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2015, 04:22:51 PM »
Stream games, thats about it.

When the RMAH was rolled out for D3, I made $800 in the short period of time it was out there.  I quit playing once they disabled it.  I found a pair of Firewalker boots that were nearly perfect in everyway; by far the best boots in NA.  Sold them for $250 within 24 hours.  I couldn't believe someone would pay that.  A month later Blizzard revamped all the items and those boots became worthless, i felt bad; Blizzard is lucky they didn't get sued. 

fb132

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2015, 05:46:36 PM »
I remember selling a World of Warcraft caracter I had created to level 70 (that was the maximum cap back then) and someone actually paid 400$ on ebay (before they started banning WoW caracters sales). I can't believe someone would buy that.

vagon

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2015, 06:50:39 PM »
Video games are a past time, you consume a game development studio's work.
To make money off them you have to produce something:
  • A stream
  • How-to guides
  • Skins/items
  • A level of skill worth watching
As with anything you produce, your success will also be correlated to how well you market it. So even if you are producing quality, you are only as good as how many people actually know about what your selling and convert.

My view is if you want to get paid for "getting really good at a game" then the only objective way is to win tournaments - if you are not winning you are not really good. You can spin off the other money makers if and when you succeed.

Pooperman

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2015, 10:14:24 AM »
To make any real money with video games, you need to be an entertainer. It takes tons of work and tons of time, but it can be done. It also takes the skill to be able to commentate about what you're doing while you are doing it. Most people cannot do this.

The top 5 gaming YouTubers make several million each. The average gaming YouTuber makes a couple hundred a year. Streaming is where the money is right now, but the real money is from sponsorships. Again, it's entertaining. The best players at whatever videogame do not make nearly as much as the people who are mediocre but have the ability to self-commentate.

immocardo

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2015, 11:04:49 AM »
Stream games, thats about it.

When the RMAH was rolled out for D3, I made $800 in the short period of time it was out there.  I quit playing once they disabled it.  I found a pair of Firewalker boots that were nearly perfect in everyway; by far the best boots in NA.  Sold them for $250 within 24 hours.  I couldn't believe someone would pay that.  A month later Blizzard revamped all the items and those boots became worthless, i felt bad; Blizzard is lucky they didn't get sued.

I haven't read the ToS for diablo, but 99% of online games have a disclaimer that says literally everything in game, including your character is owned by the game company.  They can delete your character if they want to.  It's not a great move PR wise, but legally they are completely in the clear.


Axecleaver

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2015, 11:37:55 AM »
15 years ago I was a guildmaster in Dark Age of Camelot with a guild of about 70 people. We played way too much, but it was addictive and fun. One of my officers got burned out and sold his character on ebay for $1000. This was a high realm-rank Scout that was in the top ten of player kills for any given week. Another member sold an infiltrator for $1200 a few weeks later.

An underground gold economy was active on the game, but it was against TOS and as with any black market activity, people were nervous and many deals went badly. After a couple of years, Chinese gold sellers dropped the bottom out of the market and the game got a lot less popular. My guild went on to WoW and Warhammer (which was awful) but we never again found player vs player that was as addictive and rewarding as DAoC.

I haven't gamed seriously lately, but the model that I saw which worked was:
- Find the newest/hottest MMORPG that includes playerkilling
- Minmax your way to a "flavor of the month" class
- Sell the account via ebay
- Wait for the developers to do some class rebalancing to create a new FoTM
- Repeat

MrMoogle

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2015, 02:19:02 PM »
There are some professional gamers out there.  For fighting games, Justin Wong is notable:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justin_Wong

If you find a game that you can make money in, like D3 originally, let me know :)

dsmexpat

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2015, 04:56:02 PM »
Update on my post from 2 weeks ago. Holy shit $6000 in less than a month from video games. It's not sustainable and I have to alarm clock to do transactions with people all around the world but there is money in this.

Skalm

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2015, 09:13:38 PM »
Update on my post from 2 weeks ago. Holy shit $6000 in less than a month from video games. It's not sustainable and I have to alarm clock to do transactions with people all around the world but there is money in this.

How did you manage it?

Ricky

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2015, 09:30:35 PM »
CSGOJackpot.com - you can throw all your skins in a pot, and your percentage of winning goes up based on the total value of all the skins you throw in. It's not nearly as bad as blackjack, but definitely still gambling. To actually mix playing games with this you'd have to wait for boxes to drop and buy the keys to open them, otherwise you'd have to buy the skins directly which would be a much higher risk.

So no, there's no easy way to make money playing video games, especially at your own leisure. To make money, you're always going to have a customer. If you're beta testing, you're going to have to report to someone since you're actually looking for broken things, not just enjoying the game. If you're streaming, you have to take into consideration your fan's needs to an extent, etc.

dsmexpat

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2015, 10:34:55 PM »
Update on my post from 2 weeks ago. Holy shit $6000 in less than a month from video games. It's not sustainable and I have to alarm clock to do transactions with people all around the world but there is money in this.

How did you manage it?
An in game contact who had a fair amount of experience with RMT (Real Money Trading) sold me his account on a third party in game asset trading website. His account had a lot of positive feedback and history and kick started my selling of in game currency by giving me the appearance of a reliable and trustworthy seller from day 1. From there it was just offering good prices and building up a decent client base who I could contact independently (I just had them all add me on skype). For a week and a half my prices were a good 15% lower than anyone else's and I had business every hour of the day. It got a little too much so I pushed them up to just a few % lower than anyone else's while focusing on keeping my regulars. I still get 2-3 new buyers a week but my regulars know to schedule their buys in advance now which is awesome for planning and for keeping a normal sleep pattern. Cultivating regulars also allowed me to deal with them directly rather than through the third party site which let me cut out their fees in exchange for giving the buyer a discount equivalent to half the normal fee I would pay.

Obviously this isn't something anyone can copy immediately. I started with a fortune in online money and am just converting it, if you don't have the first fortune you can't have the second. But I was good at the game and I was pretty innovative with some money making techniques. I know for a fact that a large number of my competitors just leave bots earning in game currency all day and sell that which would be a strategy that could be copied.

DeltaBond

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2015, 06:40:45 AM »
If you want to convert your hobby into something more worthwhile and lucrative, surgeons now do endoscopic surgeries where your skill set would really come in handy... you'd get out of the house, and you'd be helping people AND making money.  Just sayin. 

pennyhandlebar

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2015, 12:53:23 AM »
I'm pretty sure that the space combat MMO EVE Online allows real-money transactions, though I haven't followed the ins and outs closely.

Cromacster

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #21 on: August 10, 2015, 06:23:46 AM »
15 years ago I was a guildmaster in Dark Age of Camelot with a guild of about 70 people. We played way too much, but it was addictive and fun. One of my officers got burned out and sold his character on ebay for $1000. This was a high realm-rank Scout that was in the top ten of player kills for any given week. Another member sold an infiltrator for $1200 a few weeks later.

An underground gold economy was active on the game, but it was against TOS and as with any black market activity, people were nervous and many deals went badly. After a couple of years, Chinese gold sellers dropped the bottom out of the market and the game got a lot less popular. My guild went on to WoW and Warhammer (which was awful) but we never again found player vs player that was as addictive and rewarding as DAoC.

Ah, reading this brought back some good memories.  I loved DAoC.  WoW basically killed it, which was too bad.  DAoC was a much better game.

Axecleaver

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #22 on: August 10, 2015, 08:54:18 AM »
Quote
$6000 in less than a month from video games.
Wow, that's impressive! I'm surprised the overseas gold sellers haven't killed your market. Do you mind telling us what game this is?

I think the best returns are still going to come from games that are new on the scene. The way online game economies work, there's massive inflation over time as the money supply never stops flowing, and gold sinks are sometimes hard to implement well in a mature game.

Now, if we could get a truly balanced economy in an MMO, that would be pretty cool. What do you guys think, G7 Online? Yeah? Anybody?

dsmexpat

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #23 on: August 10, 2015, 10:12:30 AM »
I'm pretty sure that the space combat MMO EVE Online allows real-money transactions, though I haven't followed the ins and outs closely.
EVE Online system is a subscription based game so you pay $ per month to play it. However there is an in game item that can be converted into extra game time. This item can be bought from the game creators for $ and then sold within the game for game currency.

What this means is that people with surplus wealth in game can have their subscription paid for by other players. A player needing extra game money might buy a few surplus subscriptions which will be bought by players who have extra game money but want to save a few real $. You can't get any real $ out of the game through this system, it's not true RMT, all it does is moves a necessary expense from one player to another. However it does allow people wishing to buy game currency to do so without hurting the in game economy. No currency is created from air, it is simply moved from one player to another with an equal and opposite transaction happening to the game time.

The game creators are able to loosely control this market by controlling the $ price of an extra month of game time which they can adjust by offering sales and the like. This number of subscriptions they have is increased by this, allowing the extra money that would normally go to RMTers to be rolled back to them as the ability to have extra accounts "for free" has made it normal for lots of players to have more than one subscribed account.

This has been incredibly successful and they jealously guard their monopoly on this. They offer a legal way to buy extra game currency and aggressively pursue anyone operating outside of their system. It incentivises having multiple subscriptions which don't really increase their operating costs but do increase their income so the money which normally would go to the pockets of RMT sellers goes, indirectly, to them.

Quote
$6000 in less than a month from video games.
Wow, that's impressive! I'm surprised the overseas gold sellers haven't killed your market. Do you mind telling us what game this is?

I think the best returns are still going to come from games that are new on the scene. The way online game economies work, there's massive inflation over time as the money supply never stops flowing, and gold sinks are sometimes hard to implement well in a mature game.

Now, if we could get a truly balanced economy in an MMO, that would be pretty cool. What do you guys think, G7 Online? Yeah? Anybody?

EVE has a truly incredible functioning economy and inflation is under control. Also China has their own EVE server. While botters and the like do lower the margins there are bigger fortunes to be made than simply having a few accounts grinding 24/7.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2015, 10:36:07 AM by dsmexpat »

Meowkins

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #24 on: August 10, 2015, 11:46:12 AM »
I second Pooperman. I think either YouTube or Twitch would be a great bet. You can build a following by being interesting and playing the games you love.

I mean, in theory. I'll let you know how that goes for me. *tries really hard to be interesting*


homehandymum

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #25 on: August 11, 2015, 02:19:38 AM »
The Mr says that DOTA2 has got the ability to make real dollars - you design cosmetics for the characters and players can buy them.

Killerbrandt

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #26 on: August 11, 2015, 06:06:23 AM »
Have you ever tried Second Life? My friends in college played it all the time and made a few hundred bucks a month. One person was very successful and made virtual ships and set up a shop (in game), which sold them all the time.

Apocalyptica602

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Re: Earning money for playing video games?
« Reply #27 on: August 11, 2015, 01:09:04 PM »
Definitely possible.

I used to be an avid MMO player throughout High School and College (Everquest, Anarchy Online, Final Fantasy XI, XIV ARR, World of Warcraft, Rift, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dungeon Fighter Online, and many more I can't even remember right now)

Everquest and SW:TOR were the only ones I made a decent profit on, although that was never the goal. I was always just happy to make back the money that I spent on the game + subscription while having hundreds of hours of essentially free fun.

I'd argue that professional eSports is never the way to go unless you're an extreme outlier. (That's similar to saying to someone oh if you want to make money with football just go join the NFL) I believe the DOTA2 world championships or something was recent and the team who won split a $6,000,000 pot.

RMT of either in-game currency, items, characters, or powerleveling services is best if you're not comfortable in front of a camera or Twitch / Youtube if you think you have a good personality, a niche, and can entertain and grow a fanbase.