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.
I stuck with the Age of Empires series for several years, and I also dabbled in other popular games as they were released over the next several years.
I haven’t played video games for a few years now, and save for the odd Halo night with some friends, I don’t really get many chances to.
As we get older, responsibilities and life have a way of taking up more of our time and some hobbies just don’t seem worth it anymore.
But, what if playing video games wasn’t an absolute waste of time?
What if it was possible to make money online with gaming?
Well, that’s also the reason I decided to write this post.
I want to outline how anyone with a love for gaming can take their hobby and incorporate ways to make money by playing video games.
Let’s get to it!
How To Get Paid To Play Video Games – 13 Side Hustle Ideas
I just want to stress that most of these 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 another 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.
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 1M downloads and an average rating of 4.5 stars.
Mistplay points can be redeemed for visa gift cards, popular gift cards, free Google Play credits, and other prizes.
Note, Mistplay is only available on Android devices but there is now an IOS waiting list.
Signup for Mistplay and start earning free gift cards for playing mobile games!
Alternatively, check out our official Mistplay review for all the info you need!
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:
1,000 Drop points is equal to $1. So, as you can see, you can earn $5 to $28 per game you download and level up on.
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.
Extra Reading – The Best Apps That Pay You To Play Games.
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 PlayVig coins. Your coins can be redeemed for rewards such as PayPal cash, gift cards, or prizes.
Before beginning a match, PlayVig will also launch an advertisement that helps PlayVig generate revenue that can be paid out to players. Gamers can also earn rewards 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.
I’d guess that you can earn $0.20-$0.30/hour with PlayVig, and that more skilled players could earn $1-$3/hour before capping out the highest paying quests.
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 break the bank, but hey, it’s free money.
If earning passive income by completing quests or watching advertisements isn’t your thing, perhaps competitive gaming and putting money on the line is up your alley.
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.
PlayersLounge has metrics such as their PLR (Players’ Lounge Rating) to match players of relatively equal skill against one another, and there is also a dispute system that can address concerns of cheating, disconnections, or foul play.
However, at the end of the day, head-to-head matches are not easy money, and this is a risky platform. You can win big or lose big in a matter of seconds.
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.
Signup for PlayersLounge and receive $10 plus a free match after making a deposit.
5. 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.
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!
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!
7. 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.
In recent months, trivia apps have exploded in popularity, and have provided app companies and major corporations the ability to market to a highly engaged audience with the allure of substantial cash prize pools.
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:
HQ Trivia (no longer active)- The app that sparked the surge in trivia app interest and massive venture capital funding.
Givling – Win cash and have a shot at having your student loan debt paid off by Givling.
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.
8. 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.
On Twitch, streamers are currently broadcasting to millions of viewers a day, with over 44 BILLION minutes of streams being watched every single month.
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.
Just remember, streaming on Twitch TV is extremely difficult.
After all, the industry is only becoming more competitive. Check out these stats from TwitchTracker.com:
People are spending more time watching streams, but the number of content creators is also growing.
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.
9. Start A Gaming YouTube Channel
Video games are incredibly popular on YouTube.
In fact, according to Think With Google, 2 out of the most popular YouTube channels in the world are gaming channels, and 48% of YouTube gamers spend more time watching games than actually playing them.
Clearly, there is a massive demand for gaming content on this platform and it’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.
If you factor in things like adding affiliate links for gaming related companies in your description or even getting sponsorship opportunities down the line, 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 2 birds with 1 stone.
Plus, as you scale and earn revenue, you can begin outsourcing some of your editing work to free up time for other projects.
I recently wrote a guide on how to get your first 1,000 YouTube subscribers which can help get the ball rolling!
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).
10. Write Video Game Guides
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.
11. Play In 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.
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?
12. Offer 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 Money With Online Coaching.
13. 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, cosmtic items, and accepting donations.
Minecraft isn’t the only video game where you can make money as a server admin/owner.
This stuff 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.
I hope some fellow video game enthusiasts will find this post to be a refreshing take on how to make the most of your time spent in front of a screen.
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 is certainly possible to make money by playing video games, and with some time and attention, I am sure you can take a childhood hobby and spice it up a bit. Even if you don’t break the bank, a bit of extra cash never hurts!
Happy gaming, and thanks for reading!
Tom is a 23 year old recent college graduate from Canada with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and marketing. 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!
If you’re interested in freelance writing services or want to partner with This Online World, please visit Tom Blake Digital to get in touch!