How to Get Paid to Play Video Games

Chris Cerny

Our parents were wrong when they said nothing could come from countless hours playing video games. The video game space is growing rapidly, and billions of dollars are flowing through the market. Getting paid to play video games is a win-win – you get to prove your parents wrong and play video games all day. But how do you get paid to play video games?

If I had known about this years ago, I would have been trying to play games for a living. However, earning the amount of money that famous streamers like Ninja make is not easy.

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Get Paid to Play Video Games Online

There are many ways that someone can get paid to play video games. Being creative with how you build streams of income is key. The most accomplished gamers start with streaming, but that does not come without its challenges.

To make this your full-time job requires dedication and, like most day jobs, it requires passion. One of the most important and underrated abilities most famous streamers have is connecting with their audience.

This is not the only way to make money playing online video games, though.

Other ways include:

  • The Twitch Partner Program
  • eSports
  • Beta Testing
  • Video Game Reviewer

Make Money Play Video Games on Twitch

Acquiring a large following requires both dedication and consistency. However, once you have accumulated a steady following – defined as at least 600 consistent viewers – you can apply to be a Twitch Partner. Furthermore, you need a big following on other social media platforms to be a part of the Partner Program.

The Twitch Partner Program is free of cost and is for people who are dedicated to streaming and ready to level up. It is a step up from Twitch’s Affiliate partnership. Becoming a partner is essential to earning revenue for many gamers.

Twitch’s subscriber feature is also critical. A subscriber is someone who will be able to see if you are currently streaming. For each subscriber that you gain, Twitch will pay you around $3.00 per month, or 40% of the subscription price.

Each subscriber will have to pay one of three prices:

  • $4.99
  • $9.99
  • $24.99

Get Paid to Play Video Games on Twitch

Within Twitch’s Partner Program, streamers can run ads in their streams. Ads help creators immensely since you can make upwards to $250 or $300 per ad, per stream. This only happens when you have enough subscribers, however.

Through the Twitch Partner Program, you can choose how long and how often these ads appear because Twitch knows we all hate ads. This partnership works very well for streamers, which can lead to a more public viewership.

Get Paid to Play Video Games on YouTube

You can also start making money by playing video games on YouTube. YouTube live streams or gameplay are a way to gain fans before heading onto Twitch as well. YouTube is a lot easier than trying to start on Twitch because all you really need to start on YouTube is your cell phone camera. This is something that I spend hours a day watching and even tried my hand at (unfortunately, I wasn’t very good).

Joining an eSports Team

After you grow your following, the next step is to eventually go public and join a professional eSports team. To join an eSports team, you need two things: to be good at a few games and have good streams. If you have both, an eSports team can help you be in the public spotlight. There are numerous teams across the world and some even have professional sports teams or athletes backing them.

According to MoneyCheck, most eSports players average anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 per month. Annually, they make $60,000 which is nothing to take lightly.

Within eSports competitions, there are many cash prizes that you can win to boost your earnings. These competitions also can lead to sponsorships, streaming deals, and bigger prizes.


Within eSports, there are tournaments for some of the biggest video game titles out there such as Call of Duty and NBA 2K. While it is not as consistent as being a part of an eSports team and competing that way, you can still net some serious money. While competing in tournaments to win any kind of money, you must win the games you play. Then, there is a grand prize for those who make it to the final.

This is probably the quickest way to earn money, but it’s not a great idea unless you’re very good and consistently win.

Make Money from eSports

How much do eSports gamers make per year?

According to MarketWatch, Chen Zhihao, who is relatively unknown, has made $1.1 million in his five-year career. This is just the start of the eSports revolution in the gaming industry.

Newzoo says, in 2019 alone the eSports industry will bring more than $1 billion in revenue. However, being an elite gamer is not the only job in the eSports space.

A report from CNBC shows that there are more and more jobs coming out of the eSports industry with the first three months of 2020 showing a 43% increase in jobs on Indeed.

Other sports in the eSports industry include IT workers and engineers. According to CNBC, different companies involved in the eSports space are paying upwards of six-figure salaries for both IT workers and engineers.

Fo example, the average salary for an IT worker is $111,000 at Twitch, $103,000 at Blizzard and EA Sports, and $105,000 at Riot.

On the other hand, engineers earn anywhere from $79,000 to $163,000 on average, depending on the company. These numbers are even after the coronavirus epidemic that obliterated most industries!

Become a Beta Tester

Before a video game makes it to the general market, it usually goes through beta testing. This is an excellent opportunity to earn extra money doing something slightly unusual.

As a beta tester, you will be working with video games that have not hit the market yet. Companies utilize beta testers to test their games with real users before it makes it to the market for authentic data. Your job will be to play games to allow the creators to find flaws and figure out ways to improve the product before it makes it into the market. The average salary of a beta tester is $62,926 per year according to Glassdoor.

How to be a Good Beta Tester

Beta testers need to be more than just good at video games, though: they need to be able to communicate the flaws of the game to the company in a clear, concise matter. Furthermore, they they need to understand basic troubleshooting.

A broad knowledge of different genres of video games will help you navigate new controls and play styles with ease. Furthermore, being familiar with many games on multiple platforms will be incredibly useful.

Game Development

Game development is a great way to make money if you are good at coding and software. Even though it may not be playing games, it is still a way to make a good income. However, developing games does require you to know how to code (which I hate doing, so it’s not one of my favorite options).

Game development is not just for the big companies anymore. You can also start your own company, like Markus Persson, founder of Mojang (the makers of Minecraft). According to MoneyCheck, when Mojang was bought by Microsoft, it sold for $2.5 billion.

Make Money Reviewing Video Games

Another great way to earn easy money is by becoming a video game reviewer. Video game reviews are a great way to make money for those who enjoy blogging. One way you can start is through sites like Amazon and YouTube. Although you can also start your own blog somewhere else, you can also do reviews on your YouTube channel in video form.

The goal of a video game reviewer is to become a valuable and reliable source from whom people can gain information. Video game reviewers can also get free games or better compensation from writing good reviews.

Writing video game reviews has steadily increased over time as more companies want their games visible to more people. According to Glassdoor, the average base pay is $43,796 per year.

Video Game Journalism

Another way other than just writing video game reviews is through actual video game journalism. Even though journalism is on the lower end of jobs in the sector, at $26,000-$30,000 annually, it is better for those who love to write.

Also, to start as a journalist you may need at least a bachelor’s degree. You can also get many internships to start as a video game journalist. This could even be a side-hustle for many people!


According to CNBC, gaming is gaining strength and is on the verge of something bigger. From all this, we can see that all our parents were wrong when in middle school they said, “Stop playing video games! You can’t do anything with that!”

As with most things in life, if you are willing to put in the hours of dedication necessary, even video games can be a full-time job.

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Chris Cerny
Chris Cerny is currently a student and intern based out of New Jersey. He has written many articles for Financial Professional. He has been investing his money in the stock market for the last 3 years.