I remember my first encounter with video games. It was the year 2000, and I was only 5 years old.
Someone I knew was playing the recently released game Age of Empires II, a medieval strategy game that pitted the greatest civilizations in ancient history against one another on the battlefield. I asked to try the game out, and after about 5 minutes, I was hooked.
Video games have that type of power. And they’re an amazing, fun way to connect with people from around the world.
But, what if playing video games wasn’t just a fun hobby? What if it was possible to actually make money online with gaming?
Well, thankfully, it’s actually possible to make money playing video games if you know where to look.
That’s why this post is outlining how to make money playing video games so you can start a new gaming side hustle that’s both fun and rewarding.
Let’s get to it!
How To Make Money Playing Video Games
I just want to stress that most of these video game side hustle ideas won’t let you quit your day job to game all day.
In reality, a lot of gaming side hustles are mostly useful for earning beermoney and some free gift cards in your spare time. However, this is all about making money while doing something you enjoy, so keep that in mind!
If you’re a fan of mobile gaming, Mistplay is a great way to earn cash by playing video games on your phone.
Mistplay describes their platform as ‘the loyalty program for gamers,’ and the concept behind the app is pretty straightforward. Simply download partnered mobile apps via the Mistplay app and earn reward points for every minute you play.
Mistplay points are redeemable for visa gift cards, popular gift cards, free Google Play credits, and other prizes. Just note that Mistplay is only available on Android devices so there’s no iOS gaming app for it.
There are other apps like Mistplay out there, such as FitPlay and many knock offs, but Mistplay seems to be the industry leader with over 1 million downloads and an average rating of 4.5 stars.
Signup for Mistplay or read my Mistplay review for all the details.
PlayVig.com is a relatively new website that provides gamers a way to earn money playing video games. Once you signup for PlayVig and install the system on your computer, you’re ready to earn!
Simply select the game you want to play from a list of popular games that have partnered with PlayVig, and complete quests to earn coins. Your coins can be redeemed for rewards such as free PayPal cash, gift cards, or prizes.
Before a match, PlayVig launches an advertisement that helps PlayVig generate revenue that can be paid out to players. Gamers can also earn money on autopilot by participating in weekly tournaments and climbing leader boards.
Some of the most popular games around like Fortnite, Overwatch, Hearthstone, CS: GO, and PubG are currently partnered with PlayVig, so there are plenty of opportunities to earn!
1,000 PlayVig coins equals $1, but various quests and games have different earning opportunities and caps that can reward skilled players with more coins.
If you’re going to play games that are partnered with PlayVig anyways, you might as well earn some passive income while you’re at it! PlayVig won’t make you rich, but hey, it’s free money.
3. Rewarded Play
If you’re still wondering how to make money playing video games, another option you can try out is the Rewarded Play app.
With Rewarded Play, you earn points for downloading and playing new Android games. You can then redeem those points for a wide range of free gift cards.
I like Rewarded Play since it has hundreds of games to choose from. Genres include action, strategy, adventure, card, and puzzle games.
Rewards also start at just $5, so you can make quick money with this app while exploring new and fun Android games.
Ultimately, it’s a fun job you can do from your phone. And new games come out all the time to keep things fresh.
Try out Rewarded Play or read my Rewarded Play review for more details.
4. Start Streaming On Twitch
Twitch.tv is a platform that allows video game players to broadcast their game play and personalities to viewers across the world.
I’ve written a guide on how to start streaming on Twitch, and when it comes to making money by playing video games, this is one of the most hit or miss ways to go about it.
If you can make it on these platforms however, the payout can be massive.
In terms of monetization, Twitch streamers pull in revenue through multiple streams, including:
- Advertisement revenue.
- Monthly subscription fees from their subscribed viewers.
- Affiliate income, sponsorship, or paid promotions.
At the highest level, this results in streamers like Ninja making around $500,000/month through Twitch and YouTube revenue.
Ultimately, you need to be sensible about the whole streaming video games to make money concept. It is possible to turn this into a decent side hustle, but it requires time, dedication, and skill.
If you are serious about streaming on Twitch, I highly recommend you do some more reading and planning before deciding to make the commitment.
Extra Reading – Do Twitch Moderators Get Paid?
Another gaming side hustle you can test out involves using Swagbucks, a popular rewards website.
I’ve been using Swagbucks since college to make money. And it’s a fun, effective way to make money online as a beginner.
I like Swagbucks since it offers several ways to make money, including:
- Playing games for cash
- Watching ads
- Shopping online
- Downloading apps
- Surfing the web
Gaming offers change all the time, and you basically get paid to download and play various games.
You can cash out via PayPal cash at $5 and various gift cards at just $1. And Swagbucks usually has a sign up bonus for new members as well to help you get started.
6. Start A Gaming YouTube Channel
Video games are incredibly popular on YouTube.
And, clearly, there’s a massive demand for gaming content on YouTube, which meansmit’s possible to make money by playing video games if you grow an audience.
Once you reach 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time, you can also start making money on YouTube.
Personally, I started my channel in 2020. It now has over 15,000 subscribers and makes $50 a day or so in passive advertisement revenue.
Granted, it’s not a video game channel. But I have a video about how to make money playing video games. And it also proves that making money with a new YouTube channel is possible.
If you factor in things like adding affiliate links for gaming related companies in your description or even getting sponsorship opportunities, it’s clear there are a few revenue streams on the table.
If you stream on Twitch, you can also port over footage to your YouTube channel, taking care of two birds with one stone.
Plus, as you scale and earn revenue, you can begin outsourcing some of your editing work to free up time for other projects.
Additionally, I also recommend checking out this guide on how to start a successful YouTube channel from my friend Peter at Dollar Sanity for a great resource on getting your YouTube channel off the ground (and optimizing it).
7. Write Video Game Guides
If you have a knack for writing, another way to get paid to play video games is to write gaming guides as a freelance writer.
Players are always looking to improve their skills in gaming, and video game guides are always in demand.
Currently, there are hundreds of different websites where players can read video game guides, build orders, or strategy tips to improve their play. Thankfully, many of these websites will pay authors to contribute articles or their unique video game guides.
If you have a knack for writing and have mastered a game or two, you can make decent money by writing video game guides for various websites or publishers.
Some websites looking to pay for thorough, high quality guides include:
- www.proguides.com (you can become a partner if you have a decent following on social media or Twitch/YouTube).
There are plenty of other video game guide websites out there that have writing positions, but they don’t specify if they pay of what the rates are.
However, never be afraid to reach out and inquire about paid writing positions! You might be surprised at what publishers are willing to pay.
Ultimately this option is one of the tougher ways to make money with video games, but I wanted to include it in the list because it will appeal to anyone with a love for writing.
Extra Reading – How To Make Money As A Creative Writer.
Kashkick is a get-paid-to website that lets you earn real cash for completing paid surveys and playing new games.
If you want to get paid to download apps and for answering short surveys, this is the site for you. And it lets you cash out with PayPal money after you earn $10.
Kashkick also has some pretty lucrative gaming offers when I check my account. Some of the best ones include:
- King of Avalon: Earn $20
- Coin Master: Earn $6
- Kings Throne: Earn $5
- Scrabble Go: Earn $2
- Mafia City: Earn $9
- Harvest Lands: Earn $3
Different games require reaching a certain level of achievement to get paid, so you can’t just download the games and immediately earn.
For example, Harvest Land requires reaching level 16, and Kings Throne requires reaching level 10 within three weeks.
However, if you enjoy playing these games, this is free money for doing something you’d do anyway! Plus, there’s always other offers as well if you want to reach the reward threshold faster.
Sign up for Kashkick or read my Kashkick review for all the details.
9. Players Lounge
If you have a competitive streak, another way to get paid to play video games is to use gaming sites like Players Lounge.
Playerslounge.co provides gamers with the chance to make money by playing video games in a competitive, high-risk high-reward environment.
The concept behind PlayersLounge is simple: you pick your game, get matched against an opponent, and the winner gets cash.
PlayersLounge allows for players to compete in head-to-head matches (which require a buy-in) or in free tournaments (which are harder to win, but require no buy-in). Free tournaments are still quite lucrative however, and there are regular $5,000 competitions for popular games like Madden or NBA 2K.
For head-to-head matches, the minimum buy-in is $2.50, and the maximum challenge amount is $500. PlayersLounge also takes 10% of each player’s entry fee.
Currently, PlayersLounge requires all their users to be 18 years or older, and allows gamers to compete in games like Fifa, NBA 2K, Madden, Call of Duty, Street Fighter, Apex Legends, and several other games.
PlayersLounge is also legal in the United States, with the exception of Arizona, Iowa, or Louisiana.
If you want to make money with competitive gaming, PlayersLounge is definitely the go-to platform.
Sign up for PlayersLounge and receive $10 plus a free match after making a deposit.
10. Play In Video Game Tournaments
While this method to get paid to play video games is not as direct as websites like Players Lounge which match players in head-to-head games, video game tournaments are still a viable option to earn extra cash.
Now, depending on your game of choice, there may or may not be a vibrant tournament scene. However, you’d be surprised at how many games have tournaments with prize pools…even if they aren’t triple A titles.
However, one awesome way to find video game tournaments is by using the website Battlefy.
Some games that regularly have online weekly tournaments include:
- Starcraft 2.
- Call of Duty.
- Counter Strike.
- Magic the Gathering.
- League of Legends.
- Dota 2.
You can also use websites like Smash.gg or Toornament.com to find even more games if Battlefy isn’t for you.
Tournaments aren’t easy or steady money. But hey, who doesn’t like fighting for a shot at a prize pool doing something they love?
If you like apps like Rewarded Play and Mistplay, another video game side hustle you can try is to use JustPlay.
JustPlay is a loyalty program for Android gamers that pays you to download and play new games. You earn coins the more you play, and you can cash out every three hours right to PayPal.
Cashing out this fast is pretty unique, and it makes JustPlay one of the most popular apps that pays you real money instantly.
I also like the game variety, and JustPlay adds new titles all the time to help keep things fresh.
If you like how this app sounds, you can also check out some apps like JustPlay, such as Money Well and Cash Giraffe, to earn as much as possible.
12. Become a Video Game Tester
I’m sure many of us thought it would be cool to make money as a video game tester when we were younger.
Just picture it: your 9-5 job involves testing video games, playing through campaigns, leveling up characters, and trying to find errors in games. Pretty neat!
Realistically, being a video game tester isn’t that simple. In fact, video game testing is basically a QA job where the majority of work is centered around finding bugs, recreating them, and reporting them.
Additionally, a lot of video game testing work is contractual, and full-time work can vary in pay quite dramatically,
Just check out this graph from gameindustrycareerguide.com on video game tester salaries:
There are a number of job marketplaces that frequently look for qualified game testers, and this is ultimately how you can find either full-time or part-time work in the industry.
Having a high degree of attention to detail and previous experience in QA will dramatically increase the odds that you are hired.
You can turn to a variety of remote job website to look for contract work. And there are also specific companies looking to hire game testers like UserTesting and PlaytestCloud.
This game testing platform is a great option for people looking to use game testing as a small part of their side hustle routine.
PlayTestCloud works with game testers in the United States, Canada, and the UK, inviting users to test mobile games around 1-2 times per month. Most testing sessions require 15-30 minutes of play time. Payout is typically $9+ per testing session.
Video game testing isn’t for everyone, and that’s because QA work isn’t for everyone. However, if you’ve ever wondered how to make money from video games, this is one of the more legitimate routes to take!
13. Offer Video Game Coaching
If you’re a pro at a specific game, chances are, you can make some decent side money by teaching other players how to improve.
Just take a quick look at the video game coaching offers on websites like Gamer Sensei:
You heard right: people are charging upwards of $100 per hour to coach people to be pros at games like League of Legends, Counter Strike, Dota, Call of Duty, Fortnight, Starcraft, and more.
Now, if you want to make money with this option, you have to be in the top percentile of players for your game. However, this route does offer a potentially incredible hourly wage and the chance to earn money playing video games.
Extra Reading – How To Make $100 A Day Guaranteed.
Like Swagbucks, another popular gaming side hustle you can explore is to use InboxDollars.
InboxDollars is a rewards site that lets you make money with paid gaming offers. It also lets you earn by surfing the web, answering surveys, shopping online, and more.
You can sign up for free if you’re 18 or older and live in the United States. And new members get an instant $5 sign up bonus to sweeten the deal.
InboxDollars lets you cash out with PayPal or various gift cards once you earn $10 to $15, depending on your reward.
Overall, websites like InboxDollars won’t make you a millionaire. But it’s a fun way to get paid to game and complete short online tasks.
15. Use The Drop App
If you want another option to play video games for money, downloading the Drop app is a must.
Drop is actually one of my favorite cash back rewards app. I’ve been using the app for years and have earned a fairly steady stream of free gift cards just for shopping.
However, Drop has recently added an option to play games for money that’s similar to apps like Mistplay.
Each game you download has a certain task you have to complete to earn Drop points, which are redeemable for free gift cards.
Tasks commonly include reaching a certain level in a mobile game. However, Drop’s game list is pretty extensive, and some of the offers pay a lot just for gaming on your phone
When you consider that Drop also pays you for shopping at your favorite stores and is completely free, I think this app had to make the list of ways to get paid to play games.
Signup for Drop and start earning rewards!
Extra Reading – The Best Apps That Pay You To Play Games.
Another video game side hustle you can try involves using the website Gamehag!
Gamehag, like Mistplay, lets you earn rewards for trying out new mobile games. However, Gamehag also pays you for playing popular PC games like War Thunder, Guild Wars 2, and other exciting games.
The fact that you can play PC games is by far Gamehag’s best feature.
In terms of rewards, you can redeem Soul Gems, Gamehag’s currency system, for prizes like:
- Free Steam games.
- Prepaid Mastercards.
- Free gift cards.
- Skins to game like CS Go and Fortnight.
If you want to get paid to play video games and want the choice between mobile and PC games, Gamehag is one of the best options.
Checkout our Gamehag review for even more info!
17. Play Trivia Games for Money
I’ve covered ways to make money with trivia apps before, and while this isn’t a high paying hustle, it can be a fun side hobby if you’re a trivia fan.
Most trivia apps are fairly similar. If you make it through all the rounds without getting a question wrong you get to split the prize pool with remaining contestants.
Some of the most popular trivia apps that pay cash include:
- Swagbucks Live – Another popular trivia app from the popular GPT website Swagbucks.
- Givling – Win cash and have a shot at having your student loan debt paid off by Givling.
- HQ Trivia – One of the most popular trivia apps that pays cash prizes.
You won’t become rich by playing trivia apps, but if you’re a trivia fanatic, these games might be a great way to earn some additional income!
If you want more ideas, you can also checkout this list of game apps to win real money.
18. Use Paid Gaming Apps
In recent years, there’s been a rise in paid gaming apps that let you compete against other players to try and win cash prizes.
So, if you’re willing to bet on yourself and feel competitive, these apps are one way to start a new gaming side hustle.
Some of the most popular paid gaming apps include:
This is just scratching the surface. You can find even more paid gaming apps from companies like Skillz and others in this space.
Personally, I prefer making money online without paying anything. But if you feel competitive, these apps could be what you’re looking for.
19. Rent & Run A Gaming Server
While this is certainly a niche way to play video games for money, being a serve admin and running your own private servers can actually turn into a pretty cool side hustle.
For example, one way people make money playing Minecraft is by hosting their own virtual servers and letting players pay to join it.
Private servers can also earn money by selling special items, cosmetic items, and accepting donations.
Minecraft isn’t the only video game where you can make money as a server admin/owner. This idea is popular in games like Runescape, CSGO, Rust, Team Fortress 2, and others.
Of course, you need to monitor the server you own, so it makes sense to host a game you actually play so you can be a player-admin.
Extra Reading – 18 Things You Can Rent Out For Profit.
Can You Really Play Video Games For Money?
Yes, you can play video games for money by using the apps, websites, and ideas in this list. However, it’s important to note that most video game side hustles are just fun side hustles and aren’t going to replace your full-time job.
Additionally, for many games, it’s difficult to make any money unless you’re in the top 1% of players and can compete in tournaments or make compelling content that people want to watch.
But, if you want to earn some free money or PayPal money, a lot of the gaming apps in this list are reliable options.
I also made a YouTube video on some ways to play video games for money that you can check out if you want even more ideas.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s The Highest-Paying Video Game Side Hustle?
The highest-paying video game side hustle is starting a gaming YouTube channel or streaming games on Twitch.
The top gaming YouTubers and streamers can make millions of dollars. However, this is a saturated niche and there isn’t a lot of room at the top; only a handful of content creators make this amount of money.
You can still turn YouTube and streaming into a full-time job, but for most people, I think it is a small side hustle or simple hobby, not a major income stream.
Can You Play Video Games As A Career?
I think playing video games for money is sort of like starting a blog or online business.
This is because you can’t really set out to turn it into a career; you just have to put in the hard work and see what happens in the end.
My advice is to chase your video game side hustle while holding down a regular job so you have some income. If you start winning tournaments or doing well on YouTube or Twitch you can consider making a career change.
Extra Reading – 20+ Jobs That Pay $5,000 Each Month.
What Are The Best Playvig Alternatives?
One of the best sites like PlayVig out there is Buff, a gaming rewards platform for Overwolf.
Like PlayVig, Buff lets you earn points while you play games like:
- CS GO
- League of Legends
- Rainbow 6
- Apex Legends
However, you earn points a little differently than PlayVig.
According to Buff, “We have our AI-based algorithm that collects data, calculates statistical probabilities, and generates the reward allocation accordingly.”
So, in other words, the better you do in a game, the more Buff coins you earn.
Coins are redeemable for prizes like free gift cards, skins, and even gaming hardware. If you want a legit PlayVig alternative, I think this is your best option.
Extra Reading – The Best Ways To Make Money With A Laptop.
I hope this guide on how to play video games for money helps you start a new, fun side hustle that involves your favorite games.
However, I also want to remind everyone that sometimes a hobby is just a hobby, and there isn’t a need to monetize it in the first place.
There is nothing wrong with just playing video games to have fun or to learn something.
On the flip side, if you find it hard to justify spending a few hours on video games, maybe adding some revenue into the equation can make things worth your while.
Ultimately I think it is immensely difficult to make a full-time income from gaming, and I would advise against anyone sacrificing their job or education to attempt doing so.
But, it’s certainly possible to make money by playing video games, even if it’s just a modest side hustle.
Happy gaming, and thanks for reading!
Looking for more money-making ideas? Checkout:
Tom is a full-time blogger and freelance writer with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and the gig economy. His work has appeared on dozens of personal finance websites like Money Crashers, The College Investor, Investor Junkie, and more. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!
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Reward XP says
Hi Tom. This may overlap with a couple of your sections, but there are a couple ways to earn money using gaming rewards site like ours, https://rewardxp.com.
1) Game companies pay people to play their game as a form of user acquisition, and you can make $10 or more just for downloading a game and getting to a certain level.
2) Streamers will partner with us and make $ from all the referrals from their channel.
Tom Blake says
That sounds like a really cool concept and nice way to make money by playing video games! If you shoot me an email with some more info I can add some info into this post!