How to Make Money from Gaming
Who wouldn’t like to turn his favorite hobby into a well-paying job? Since I am on my way to completing that challenge, I will try to help my fellow gamers. In this series of articles and videos I will discuss various methods of making money through gaming. There will be white hat methods, gray hat methods and black hat methods in discussion. My goal is to give you a better understanding of the kind of effort one has to put in and the kind of returns you can get from each method.
Is It Easy to Make Money from Games?
Unless you are a celebrity or have an army of slaves, there is no easy way to make money from gaming and gaming related projects. Making money is always going to be a challenge, so please don’t expect 10.000$ in the first week. It might help if you have some unique gaming-related or marketing-related skills, but not even that is going to do all the work for you.
Ways to Make Money from Gaming:
Coding / Programming Bots & Hacks, Running an MMO Shop, Botting & Selling MMO Items + Currency, Let’s Play Videos (Walkthroughs), Gaming Tutorials and other Helful Content, Streaming Video Games on Twitch, Game Testing, General Gaming Content and Website Monetization
Streaming Video Games for a Living
Just like it is possible to make money by monetizing videos, it is also possible to monetize live streams on twitch and other streaming platforms. Video monetization and stream monetization are quite similar and many principles that apply to let’s play video also apply to game live streams, so please do read that article as well to get the whole picture.
Streaming video games is a market that is growing fast, as there are more and more people that would rather see someone else playing a game and to be entertained that way, than actually playing the game themselves. Playing games, especially competitive ones can be mentally exhausting and watching someone else that is very good at the game is not only entertaining, but also a lot more convenient. The rise of eSports has accelerated the growth of this niche even more by hooking millions of viewers on competitive eSports games.
Is it Possible to Earn Money by Steaming Games?
Yes indeed. Playing video games for a living almost sounds too good to be true, but it is certainly possible to make a living by streaming games. However, you need to have a whole lot of viewers and getting those will not be easy, unless you are already established in some way in the gaming industry, eSports scene or have some other way of driving views to your stream. Also streaming takes a lot of time, since people tend to watch streams for extended durations, you will have to be streaming a whole lot. There is no question about it: Streaming is a lot more time consuming than making YouTube videos. You will be streaming for hours every day and will have to be entertaining is some way during this time, if you really want to be a successful streamer.
How to Stream and be Successful
Obviously, there are a lot of people trying to get into streaming that want to play games to make money. With other words: There is a lot of competition. In order to still be able to grow your subscriber base and you views, you will want to be better, more entertaining and more special than anyone else. There is simply no way that you are going to have success in this business by just being plain old boring you and not bringing anything special to your stream. Either you have to be insanely good at a game, be a celebrity of some kind and be insanely funny or otherwise entertaining. An intriguing personality always helps as well when trying to be a successful streamer.
How to Get Views
Well let’s start by how not to do it: You will not be able to get views by just streaming, streaming and streaming. You will need to promote your stream in some way or another. You would need to be literally one of the most talented streamers of all time in order to grow a subscriber base without any advertising what so ever. No matter how you are trying to make money online, marketing is always a part of the equation and there is simply no easy way around it. Because if no one knows about your stream, no one is going to watch it and you will not be earning any money.
The most successful streamers are already established in the gaming scene in some way before they started streaming and are using that influence to drive traffic (views) to their streams. If you have a successful YouTube channel then use it to promote your stream, if you have lots of Twitter followers, then share your stream on Twitter and so on.
As you can see it is really hard to get into streaming without any reputation what so ever and maybe if you don’t have an active online following yet, it would be better for you to look for another way to start growing a follower base. Streaming is one of the toughest places for newbies to make money and most successful streams are from people that have been making money with gaming for some time and are using it to supplement their already existing income.
How I would do it
I’m updating this article, because I realize that I am painting a pretty dark picture here. Yes, it is incredibly hard to establish yourself in the streaming market. However, it can be done and so I’am going to outline how I would go about doing it in a very practical fashion.
1. Get yourself a YouTube Channel. You need to get discovered by people and without any viewers, your discoverability on Twitch will be almost 0. So you will need at least 100 people that are following your videos daily.
2. Make interesting VODs and advertise your stream at the end. – Also tell people what times you are streaming at and why they should watch you.
3. The more people are following your YouTube channel, the more people will be linking over to your twitch and once you reach 100+ viewers and you are incentivizing viewers correctly and entertaining them, you may be able to get by without your YouTube.
This is a very short way of describing something that will require you to put in thousands of hours. The YouTube channel really is necessary if you want to grow your Stream. – Through VODs you are able to reach a much wider audience (1000+ times the streaming user base) and that will help your stream grow. So basically by converting people to streaming, you are gaining viewers.
I would recommend having a YouTube channel to any streamer either way. – Just publish your highlights there. Once you reach a stable 100+ viewers, try some OBS shenanigans that will announce subscribers and donations and so on. Give your viewers more and more reasons to stay using software. Look at the most successful streamers and learn from them how to make people feel important and welcome.
However, keep in mind that even using this strategy, establishing yourself will still take a lot of time and success is not at all guaranteed. Streaming, even more than VODs is about your personality and if your personality does not fit, there is not really much you can do, unless you are able to act for ours at a time.
How do I start without an online Following
Unless you are a girl, you will have a very, very hard time to establish yourself in the streaming market without doing any advertising. Your stream will be mostly invisible to 99.9% of viewers if you do not have any people watching you. – The only way to grow under these circumstances is to stream literally 24h per day for months and being interesting at the same time. With other words: You will invest incredible amounts of time without seeing a lot of results. If you are lucks, then at the end of that you might be able to take off, but it will take a long time IF it ever happens. If you are a girl it is a lot easier, since most of the stream viewers out there are male and some even look through the very small streams to find some pretty “grills”. However, as most “grills” are realizing that streaming is easy money for them, that niche begins to get saturated as well.
How Well Do I Get Paid?
I’m not 100% sure on this one, but I heard that Twitch is paying streamers 25% of their ad revenue. They are making 20$ per 1000 views and you are getting 5$. Obviously these rates are not all that good at all. In comparison YouTube gives content creators around 50% of the ad revenue. Obviously you can still make some decent money through streaming, but it will have a whole lot of views to do so. The only things that can supplement these earnings are donations. However, donations can be an incentive for people on Twitch to turn into beggars and turn their viewers away.
Streaming is not only less effective than YouTube videos when it comes to the monetary output; it is also a lot harder to establish yourself in the streaming business. If you are not already fairly successful online and have a base of followers that are interested in things you do online, then it is probably not the place for you to start your online career. However, bad odds don’t mean that something is impossible. If you are entertaining, streaming regularly, promoting your stream diligently and are willing to put in the time, you might still find success by starting from scratch.
Making Money with Let’s Play Video Walkthroughs or Gameplay Commentaries on YouTube
Many imagine this way of making money to be one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways of earning money with gaming related projects. However the truth is that the market is pretty much oversold and it is very hard to get into this business if you are a newcomer. – The reasons for that are obvious: Who wouldn’t like to make a living playing games and making funny comments about it? For many it is a dream job and most of those who are trying to get it working will ultimately fail. Only the best commentators survive.
How does it work?
Quite simple: You play a game, record your gameplay, record a comment and upload the whole thing to YouTube. You enable monetization on your video and start earning money through YouTubes Google Adsense ads displayed on your video. Each time someone clicks on an ad, you get paid a certain amount. Rinse and repeat. Sounds quite simple, doesn’t it?
You need that Certain Something and a Lot of Endurance
If you want to make a living from let’s play videos, then you will need that certain something that makes you special and has people coming back to your channel over and over. You need to be special, stand out from the masses. That something might be a funny voice, good humor, intelligent comments or whatever. I personally don’t have it. I tried to do let’s plays a few months back and I utterly failed due to lack of that certain special something. Good language and speaking skills are the base, but you will need more than that.
In addition to that something special, you will need endurance and conviction. It will not be enough to upload one video walkthrough per week, you will have to do a lot of videos. Especially in the beginning you will have to work all the time and never mind that you do not get anything back. In order to grow your subscriber base, you need to be really driven and a doer. After that you might be able to slow down a bit, but it will still be a lot of hard work.
Building a Subscriber Base – The Flywheel Effect
If you are trying to make money as a gameplay commentator, then you will first need to build a solid subscriber base on YouTube. That is the hardest part: You will be uploading a lot of videos and at first not get any views. You will upload at least 3 or 4 videos every day for months. At first your videos will maybe get an average of 3 views per day, then as you upload more and more videos, people will start subscribing to your channel, your stats will improve and so will your earnings.
Beware: These first few months are really hard on your psychology. You will be working very hard and not get the results you feel you deserve. Everyone starts small. Once you reach about 10.000 subscribers, your work will feel a lot more rewarding and you will be able to slow down a bit. Also after that growing your channel will be a lot easier. It’s like a flywheel: At first it’s really hard to get it moving, but once it moves it’s really easy to make it speed up.
Timing and Optimization
On YouTube timing and optimization are key. That means that you are going to want to be the first person uploading a let’s play video for a specific game to YouTube. – Being the first person to upload will automatically get you a lot of views and subscribers. How do you get to be the first person to upload a commentary? Get a reviewers copy of the game ahead of release I guess or find another way of being really, really fast. It’s an universal rule on Youtube. The first one to upload takes the price.
Optimization is another issue with YouTube video related projects. You need a video title that includes all the important keywords that you want to rank for in YouTube and Google. Also you will need a good description and maybe a few links to other related YouTube videos of yours in order to extract as many views as possible from one single person watching your walkthroughs. Also YouTube still uses tags to rank videos as well, so put as many relevant tags as possible into the tags and description.
A custom thumbnail is really helpful as well. Once you are a YouTube partner, you will be able to upload a custom thumbnail for all your videos. This is a very powerful function, since more people will click the video if the video thumbnail looks great. Try not to use misleading thumbnails or your account could get deleted or your thumbnail privileges permanently removed.
Gameplay Monetization and Fair Use
Since fair use doesn’t seem to work for monetizing let’s play videos, you will either have to team up with a network that has the rights to monetize those videos or get all the permissions yourself from the publishers or developers. Try contacting people at the publisher of a game and get their permission to monetize your gameplay video. I know this is a pain, but it is necessary if you want to do this legally and you want to run ads on your videos.
Attention: Do not mess with YouTube. If they say you don’t have the right to monetize a video, and you don’t have a paper saying you do, then leave it at that. They will not think twice before deleting your account if you are causing them more trouble than you are worth. They really don’t care about small cannels. If you don’t have 100.000 subscribers or more, better just shut up and leave them alone.
How Much Money Can I Expect from YouTube Gameplay Videos?
Again it all depends on scale: Gaming is a niche where it is relatively easy to get a lot of views, but the amount of money you get per view is a lot lower than in other niches, since the average age of the viewers and their average income is lower. Somewhere between 1$ and 1.80$ per 1000 views is a realistic figure. – Running a few YouTube channels myself, I know that you rarely make more than that from gaming related videos. But as your channel grows, this can add up to a decent sum that might one day even pay your bills.
So you will need a lot of views in order to make a lot of cash. Subscribers help a lot with that. At 10.000 Subscribers you will get about 1.000 free views on each of your videos and with it come some thumbs up and comments that will help to rank your video higher and get you more views and subs.
What Do I Need?
As I said; you will need endurance, to be interesting and entertaining and some high-end hardware might be useful as well. Make sure you have decent PC and a lot of disc space in order to store all those recordings. If you want to edit your videos, get an even better PC, since exporting videos is one of the most resource-consuming things you can do with your rig. Also get decent recording software like Fraps and software to convert video files in order to save disc space. A decent microphone is quite important as well. Do not use a headset. It might cost a few bucks, but good sound quality is very important and pays out in the long run.
Update: YouTube Account Survival
I do need to update this article, since YouTube has started to close more and more accounts since mid 2013. YouTube will, if they feel it is right, delete any account for no reason at all. They are allowed to do that and I, being a website owner myself, respect that. However, I do recommend that you do not rely on one YouTube channel alone anymore. Especially in the gaming section more and more YouTube accounts get deleted. Some of these accounts have between 1000 and 20.000 subscribers. If your account gets deleted, you have no way of contacting YouTube or otherwise get your account back (I tried).
So with other words: Backup all your videos, stick to the ToS 100% and I know this will sound crazy, but do not upload more than 50 videos per account. I know this kind of goes against “getting many subscribers” if you cannot do more than 50 videos per account and you are certainly welcome to try, but I do no recommend it anymore. If you have more than 50 videos, chances are that some hater out there is going to falsely flag one them and your account is gone. And believe me you will much rather loose one out of ten accounts, than the only one you have. – Live for YouTube money earners has just become a lot harder.
Quality Content vs. Being a Leech
Another issue there is when it comes to gameplay videos on YouTube is that there are 2 kinds of gameplay videos: The cheap game footage with little to no added value through commentary that spoils the game and the high quality, scripted, edited gaming video content. The cheap game content might have worked in 2005 and made you some good money back then, but today it just gets your channel deleted because you are leeching off the game developers work by spoiling their game and not providing any added value at all.
If you really want to make money by publishing gaming videos on YouTube, then will want to script all your video, edit all your videos, create really high-quality content that makes your viewers want to see more and share it with their friends. If you want to see what high quality gaming videos are, then check out some of the most successful gaming channels on YouTube.
If you have some hardware, money and other resources at your disposal and have a certain talent for botting, setting up a bot army and having it farm for you might prove to be a profitable business for you. There is a lot of MMORPG players out there that would rather spend some money, than actually farming for gold, items, crafting materials and all the other good stuff that you usually have to amass in the standard MMO. So the income opportunity is certainly there for you.
There is actually a bunch of people out there that make a living running whole armies of bots. They will either level up characters and then sell those maxed characters or they will farm resources and then sell those through a MMO currency selling site or similar black market.
Script + Scale + Distribution = Success
The good thing is that the more you can automate the process of farming or leveling up, the more easily you will be able to make money. Some people merely have to enter a few serials and their custom made software will take care of the rest. Also you can charge quite a bit for currency or characters, especially in the beginning of an MMO when the resources are still very rare. – If you are able to set up and advertise your own “MMO gold selling site” (black market site), then your winnings will be even greater, since you don’t need to give the distributors their cut.
The negative thing about making money by running MMO bots is that you have to be highly adaptable. An MMO does not last forever, you will have to farm more than just one MMO in order to make a decent and stable amount of money. – So it helps to know quite a bit of programming. Relying on a 3rd party program might be a bit more risky, but I have seen it working as well.
How much money can you make doing this?
It all depends on the scale of your operation. Running 8 bots will make you twice as much money as running 4. All I can really tell you is that having been using bots myself, I managed to “make my money back” (ingame equivalent of 60$) within about a month in Guild Wars 2 and that with the bot running maybe 30% of the whole time. So it is quite possible to make money doing this. And there is certainly people that are running dozens of bots per game and making 1.000s of dollars every week.
The Problem is Distribution
Setting up bots and having them farm MMO stuff 24 hours a day isn’t all that hard. Especially since there are bots for almost any MMO out there and they are not especially expensive either. The truly hard thing to do is to get the Gold to the customer: Most botters do this by selling the gold to MMO currency selling sites, but the price they offer you obviously isn’t nearly as good as what the customer is prepared to pay. So having your own MMO currency selling site would be a way to circumvent that but is a huge challenge as well. You might also be able to advertise your offers on game related community forums.
I suggest that you check out the best distributers for MMO currencies and items on the web, before investing any resources into this business. Make sure you have a way to sell your spoils before setting out to farm the realms of the MMO universe. Only once you are 100% sure that you have a way of getting paid, set up and send out your loyal minions.
Partnership is the Key
As in almost all coding related niches it is very important to partner up with someone who knows his way around marketing. Having one person running the bots and adjusting to changes and one person taking care of promoting the selling site and getting the product to the customer is the optimal way of doing it. “Buy Game X Gold” is not that hard to rank for in Google, but if you are a coder and have never heard of SEO, you might have some problems in that regard. Also knowing how to set up paid ads might be a good idea, since it sometime is even more effective in selling a product.
Don’t get Detected
There is a lot of botters out there that are doing it completely wrong. It is not an uncommon occurrence that there are 20 characters walking in a line using the same gear and looking exactly the same. This is highly suspicious and will get you banned very fast. So make sure that your bots are not moving in groups and act as unsuspicious as possible in order to avoid your serials getting banned and you losing a lot of money.
Making Money by Coding / Programming Bots, Hacks and other Scripts for MMO Games
As a talented programmer, your chances of being able to make a living from gaming-related work are generally very good. One application of those skills that promises to make you a lot of money is programming bots and hacks for MMOs. Since the MMO crowd is growing every day, this market has a lot of future potential. This way of making money is completely white hat (legal and non-controversial) if done right.
Demand Is Always There
99% of all MMOs require a lot of farming and that is the exact reason why there is always a demand for bots in order for one to be able to outsource the grind to a robot. And since MMOs recently show no signs of turning down the grinding, that demand will probably continue to grow in the future.
Time is money and a lot of hardcore MMO players do not want to waste their lives farming mobs or gathering resources for 100s of hours. A lot of those players are willing to spend a bunch of cash on automatizing the tedious and boring process of farming, leveling up and gathering.
It’s a Service, Not a Finished Product
Whether one is trying to sell a bot or a hack, there is always going to be a lot of work. And most of that work will be keeping the hack or bot up to date and working for longer periods of time (years). If you expect to be able to program a piece of software, after that leaving the project alone and profit from the sales, then you are wrong. Keeping a cheating program for an MMO working is a lot of work.
Every time a developer of an MMO pushes an update, you will be expected to provide an update that keeps your hack or bot working. How often an update occurs depends on the game and the developers. There is no warning and you will be expected to update your software ASAP.
The Main Problem: Marketing
Programming a bot is one thing, advertising and selling it is a whole different game. This issue is what keeps a lot of programmers and scripters from actually monetizing their work. Most programmers just do not possess the skill necessary to get a product to the customer.
So for any programmer to be able to make money from his software, he needs someone to do the marketing and distribution of his product. – That might be the most challenging obstacle to overcome for a new scripter trying to make a living from selling his product.
In order to sell Cheating Software one should ideally have an existing audience in the field of MMO hacking and botting. So I suggest you team up with people that are active in that field. And since HackerBot.net is also a part of the hacking and botting niche I can also offer you my partnership. (contact me)
Mostly when it comes to flash games this is a huge problem. You are not allowed to sell a product that contains code from any game. So selling hacked clients is impossible. The only way to sell hacks is if they are 100% your own work and are able to work like a trainer: Implementing or editing game functions from an external path.
Finding a Niche
This is very important for any hack or bot developer. You have to find a demand and then offer the right product. So for example coding a bot for World of Warcraft might not be the best idea, since there are already dozens or working WoW bots out there. – Try finding a new MMO or an MMO that has no working bots yet, then make sure that a demand exists and get coding.
There are a lot of ne free to play games out there that have huge communities but no farming bots available. Even small scripts are a good way to go, even if it doesn’t have many customization options. As long as you are the only one or are offering the best product, it really doesn’t matter.
If you need help finding a niche, then you are free to contact me. HackerBot.net is trying to rank multiple MMO cheating pages and I can give you an idea of how many people you might be able to reach with your product if you should decide to work with me.
How Much Money Can You Expect
As a MMO hacking site we have a lot of data about how many people are looking for specific MMO bots or hacks: If we were ever to release our own bots in cooperation with coders, we would probably go for a subscription based system. 39$ for a 1 year subscription. Depending on the game and the amount of effort put into advertising and SEO 1 to 10 sales a day is a realistic figure. That adds up to 1.000$ to 12.000$ a month.
In that case HackerBot.net would take care of advertising and SEO while the coder (you) would take care of keeping the bot up to date. To go at this alone and without a basic understanding of marketing, advertising and SEO, your project will certainly fail. So team up with someone who knows how to effectively monetize a product. Want to team up with people in the industry? (contact me)
Conclusion: It is possible!
Making money from coding MMO hacks and bots is certainly not an easy thing to do and you will most likely need a reliable marketing partner in order to get your service out there, but it is very much possible if you have the programming skills and the time to support your product and deliver fast and reliable updates.
In order to really live of your earnings as a game hack developer, you will have to script and support multiple hacks and bots, since most MMOs only last few years (excluding stuff like WoW). But if you are able to code, maintain and support about 3 hacks or bots for 3 different MMOs, ten you should have no problem to make a living that way.
Are you a coder looking to team up? Contact me now.
Making Money by Running an MMO Game Shop or Currency Selling Site
Making money by running an MMO based item and currency shop is something that I personally did for about half a year and that’s why I know that it certainly can be a huge success. There are a few little things that one has to watch out for when doing this, but it is very much possible to make a living selling virtual items online. Although I would consider this a white hat kind of business, there can be some gray hat techniques involved in making this work.
How Does This Work?
It’s quite simple: One gets a lot of influence within a certain game community, then pays people in exchange for items or ingame currency, after that one creates a website where one sells aforementioned items or currency to the customers. Doesn’t sound all that difficult, does it?
The most difficult thing about this job might be setting up an efficient supply network and advertising ones site. The site itself is not that big of a problem, since there is a lot of free PHP based shop scripts out there. – But a little bit of knowledge when it comes to web design and basic web programming might be quite helpful in order to optimize the site.
Setting Up a Supply Network
Having a network of reliable and trustworthy suppliers is a must for anyone trying to make a living selling MMO items and other virtual MMO related things. Here I recommend working together with dedicated botters. People running bots will be able to offer you items at low prices and will constantly be able to resupply you, as you sell your products. – For that purpose it might be helpful to join some hacking and botting communities out there and make friends with people running multiple bots.
Make sure you know your suppliers personally (Skype ect.), since that will reinforce the trust between you and your suppliers. It will also make it more unlikely for them to scam you, since that way you are more than just an anonymous internet person that they don’t care about.
Setting Up a Shop Site
In order to set up a shop site, you will need some basic knowledge in setting up PHP sites and some basic HTML skills. Of course you will need a host, domain name and a database. There are a lot of great free shop scripts out there and even more paid ones. – I personally prefer Joomla, but you use whatever you want to use.
Make sure you get a decent design on your site, since the first impression when a person visits your site is very important. There are probably countless free templates for whatever software you are using. All you have to do in most cases is editing the HTML code just a little in order to customize the logo and some other details here and there.
Eventually, if you should decide to sell MMORPG items professionally, you will have to master HTML, CSS and maybe even PHP. But if you are just looking to start, you might be able get by without it. I personally learned all the things I needed to know whilst I was working on projects. However, learning by doing is not for everybody. I realize that. So don’t forget to educate yourself in whatever way works best for you.
Advertising Your Site
This is without a doubt the most important part of running an MMO shop. Setting up a site is easy, buying a stock of items is easy as well, but doing efficient and effective advertising is a real challenge. If at all possible, outsource your advertising to bots. In a lot of MMOs it is possible to send messaged or chat. Using these features you might be able to set up a bot that will advertise your site in the game itself.
If you can’t do any ingame advertising, try SEO. Ranking for “buy Game X items” should not be all that hard to do. If you don’t know what SEO is (Search Engine Optimization), then type it into Google and you will get an overview quickly.
Paid ads like Google Adwords can also be an effective tool. But you should really do some research on that before you spend a lot of money on ads. There is a lot you can do wrong when it comes to paid ads, but if you are doing it right, then it will be the only advertisement that you will ever need.
Watch Out for Credit Card Fraud
When it comes to selling virtual items online, you will run into some fraud problems. With payment processing platforms like PayPal it is very easy for people to get their money back. Especially if no package or letter has ever been sent. Only accepting verified PayPal accounts helps a lot, but you will still get scammed once in a while.
The best thing to do is to send them an actual letter with a tracking code in order to be able to prove to PayPal that you “sent the goods”. That way PayPal seller protection will protect you from fraudulent customers. I lost a few 1000$ to frauds like that, so please trust me when I tell you that you need to watch out for people trying to scam you.
How Much Money Can I Make This Way?
It really depends on a lot of variables and on your competition. Generally I would say that it has the potential to be a huge money making machine if it is set up correctly. If you find a game where some items are really, really rare, then you are in luck. Some people will pay 100s of dollars for an item that is quite rare. But again it really depends on the game and a lot of other different variables, but I think it’s always worth a try.
Hey, I’m Sammy and I have been part of the online gaming industry for a whole long time now and have made a whole bunch of experiences in monetizing my content that I would like to share with you. We all know that gaming traffic is not necessarily the most valuable king of traffic, but there are still ways of getting some money out of your views, impressions and sign ups.
The right way to Monetize Gaming Websites and Content
The most important thing when trying to monetize a gaming related audience online is to know your audience. Now in order to analyze my own audience a bit more in depth, I personally look at my YouTube stats and can therefore see that my audience is pretty young and male. – This will apply to most of the gaming industry with a few exceptions here and there. Now this is not necessarily the best audience to monetize, since they often do not have any income at all. And as we all know, where there is no money, there is no money to be made. However, their parents do have money and that is how gaming traffic can still be monetized fairly successfully. What is also important to note is that most gaming websites do not have an audience that is looking to buy something while on the site.
Your Best Chances: Adwords (Google Ads), Affiliates, Subscriptions and Donations
I have tested a lot of ways to monetize my own websites and especially game specific ad networks, but nothing can compare to your standard adsense ads: Google can serve content-specific ads that may interest your audience and their parents may then buy the product for them. I tried a lot of other ad networks in my time, but the best games specific one I found had an RPM of about 20 cents. – o with other words: Noting compared to Goolge ads.
Alongside that you should focus on building an email list. Even though the open rate in the gaming industry is often far below 20%, it is still an effective way to monetize your signups. If possible, set up an automated responder and send then affiliate offers from clickbank or other affiliates that are interesting to the general gamer or your specific niche. Again, the RPM is a lot lower than in most industries, but it still does work if you do it correctly. I am personally working of providing new offers that people in the gaming industry are able to use to monetize their mailing lists and ad space. (More at the bottom of the page)
Subscriptions and Donations may work as well, if you can provide your users with something in return. Gamers are obsessed with ranks and other shiny stuff that makes them “better” than other users. So if you have a fairly dedicated community, you may want to consider making a special forum rank for donators. Subscriptions only work if a user really, really wants something: In my case I sell subscriptions to cheat reviews for online games and that works, because my users really, really want to find legitimate cheats. – However, this will only work for very specific kinds of gaming websites.
Don’t Punish Adblockers – How to Deal with Adblocking
Adblockers are a problem in the gaming industry. For many gaming related sites the ad blocking rate is a lot higher than for normal websites. However, punishing adblockers with annoying popups or even blocking them from the site is and entirely wrong way to fight the problem. – All this will lead to is that your bounce rate will increase and your Search Engine Rankings will fall. Let them visit your page and instead focus on branching out to the point where you are able to sell some kind of product, even if it’s just a simple subscription. – Adblocking is a sad reality that we have to deal with.
Another thing you can do against adblocking is serving alternative ads to an affiliate. - So the people that are blocking your adsense ads will simply be seeing the underlying ad for your affiliate. This will however make your site load slower. But since the adblocking rates are pretty high, it might just be worth it.
Why Affiliates? What are Affiliates?
Affiliates are programs that allow you to promote a certain product and be paid a certain percentage of the sale price if you make a sale. Usually you will get some kind of referral link that you then place on your site, send in your emails or put in the description of your video and if people click on it, a cookie will be saved on their PC, identifying you as the referral. You will then receive a certain percentage (usually between 40% and 70%) of the sale if that user ever decides to buy the product. – This is an awesome way of monetizing adblockers, your email list and site in general.
Game Tester – Dreamjob?
Playing video games for a living and being able to play the latest games that have not even been released yet. – This does sounds so good; it’s almost too good to be true, right? There are indeed people that are able to make a living playing games for developers, reporting bugs and reviewing the experience. However, this job does sound a whole lot more appealing than it actually is. Economics tells us that no one will pay us for having fun, because us having fun really does not produce any value for anyone but ourselves. So if you are looking for a job that is easy, fun and lets you play video games for your pleasure, then you will be very disappointed by the actual reality in this profession.
Game testing is hard work just like any other job and not very well paid either, since there are a lot of people looking for this kind of job and it does not require any special skills or education. As a game tester you will be playing unreleased game that is quite true, but most of these games will be absolute crap and only very rarely you will get to play titles that are actually any good. Also your job is it not to just play through the game, you are expected to look for bugs and document them. Most of your time will be spent writing bug reports on where exactly to find the bug and how to reproduce it. Most of the time the game that you are playing is not even complete and you may spend 50h or more just scanning one single level or map for bugs.
Being a game tester is not the awesome, easy and fun job people make it out to be in their minds. It’s a hard job like any other and you will have to work hard for your money. If you are looking for a viable way to make money in the gaming industry and you are not looking for a job that offers you a decent perspective for the future, then you might feel at home here. However, if you are more ambitious, then you might want to check out other more scalable ways of establishing yourself in this industry.
Earning Money by Producing Unique Gaming Tutorials
A very interesting way of making money in the realm of gaming and video games, is to create useful content, such as gaming tutorials and walkthroughs. Every day millions of people are using the internet to get unstuck in games or to learn useful tricks, find easter eggs, get cheats and so on. – I should know, because HackerBot.net is a site geared towards satisfying exactly this same demand. Since this is actually one niche I am currently successfully working in, I should be able to give you guys a few guidelines when it comes to tackling it.
There are Several Ways
When it comes to providing game-related help to people there is several ways of doing it, but really only one way of monetizing it. If you should decide that earning money by providing them with helpful content is your perfect fit, you will be monetizing your content through ads. Now the problem with ads is that you need a lot of people looking at your stuff in order to get some decent cash rolling your way. We are talking 1000s of people daily. – So you will need to put in a lot of work and find a niche that works for you.
When it comes to providing the actual content, you have several options as well: You can either do video content or written content. I however recommend doing both, since having your own website is a lot saver, than relying on one single source of income alone (your YouTube channel). The reason why I do not recommend only using your YouTube channel to put out content is because YouTube has been closing a lot of accounts in the gaming industry and I have been one of the people hit as well. It seems that YouTube only really cares about the channles with 100k+ subscribers these days. If you are below that, they will close your account for no reason, if they feel it’s right or one of their mods has a bad day.
So if you want to make money with your experience and knowledge when it comes to gaming, then better get yourself a website. I do recommend you host your own website and get your own domain name instead of a free blog. It really pays out to get into web design, SEO and online marketing a bit as well in order to be more effective and speed up growth. However if you want so solely rely on your knowledge and the value of your content, then just keep posting that useful content and you won’t need to do much to get a lot of traffic to your site and videos and even simple wordpress blog might suffice.
Finding a Niche
You will want to post useful information and tutorials on a topic where there is not too much competition. For example deciding to do WoW tutorials in 2013 is too little bit too late. So you are going to want to find a niche that is up and coming and you will want to be one of the first or even the first person to put out content about it. So for example if a new MMORPG is released, you will want to be the first one to post video and text on how to build and play any class in that MMORPG or on how to craft most effectively ect. Being one of the first people to do it alone will get you a lot of attention, but if you really want to dominate your niche, you will also have to deliver better quality than your competition.
You have to see the internet as a market: People are looking for help and information. Topics that are old, are already covered and people know where to get information about that topic, but if there is a new trend; a new game or even a new genre of games, people start looking anew and find new places to get their content. – You are going to want to be that source of content that they find and get to like. Of course you can also try to get into an older niche that has already been covered and try to do better than anyone else, but that is about 10 times as hard.
How long will it take to reach Success?
It all depends on the quality, quantity of your content, its relevance and the niche you choose. If you are in a niche where there is no demand for information, you will never be successful, because no one is looking for what you are offering. However, if demand is high, you might and your content makes people happy, you might be successful within days.
On average, if you have no experience in the online marketing world and content marketing sphere, you will probably take years to learn all the things you have to learn and years after that to actually make it work. Or at least that’s how it has been for me. I started experimenting at around 14 years of age and now 8 years later I am actually on my way to making it work and have it be my primary source of income.
Making money on your own is always hard. It is much easier to just be employed somewhere and not having to worry about the overall success of a business, but only the small role you play in it. On the other hand there would be no jobs, if there weren’t those weird people that take risks and start their own businesses. – It certainly requires a certain amount of conviction, endurance and intelligence to make something like this work, but I think there are a lot of people out there that have the potential.
Examples of “helpful content”
I know people are going to ask for examples so here we go: Walkthroughs, Cheats (that’s me, so don’t do that;), Technical Tipps, Mods, Tutorials (how to do stuff ingame), Guides of all kinds. Something that I would be glad if it existed is a person that publishes tutorials on how to force any game into window mode, since I regularly encounter games that can’t do that. There are many niches waiting to be filled.