16 Ways to Make Money Playing Video Games: Get Paid $4000/mo to Have Fun!

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Yes, you really can get paid to play video games.

With the rise of Esports, Twitch, and professional gamers, there’s never been a better time to monetize your video game hobby.

And the cool part is, you don’t have to be a pro. Even casual gamers are getting in on the action, and in this article I’ll break down some realistic ways to make money playing video games.

How To Make Money Playing Video Games

1. Group Video Game Classes for Kids

One place to sell those group classes is Outschool. The K-12 online education platform has both academic and extracurricular classes.

In the extracurricular category, video game classes are a hot seller. Why? Parents love the idea of a safe, nurturing online environment for their kids.

I connected with Devyn Ricks, a mom of 4, in this video, where she reported earning up to $4000 a month playing video games on Outschool!

UPDATE: A couple years later, it was a 6-figure business.

YouTube video

In a way, she’s getting paid to be an online friend to these kids.

2. Play-to-Earn Game Apps

Several smartphone apps let you make money playing mobile games in your spare time. Here are a few of Side Hustle Nation’s top picks.


KashKick is a newer app that pays you to answer surveys, test new games (up to $150 each!), and redeem money-saving offers.

With the slogan “get paid to have fun,” KashKick is rated 4.2-stars in the Google Play store.

Best for Testing New Games

Get paid to test new games, complete offers, and answer short surveys.

Bingo Cash

The popular Bingo Cash game app turns classic bingo from a game of luck into a game of speed and skill.

Each game only takes about 2 minutes to play, and you can earn real-world rewards and cash prizes (except in AR, IA, LA, SC, and WA).

bingo cash app

With over 5 million downloads, the app has earned mostly positive reviews (players call it fun and addicting). In the negative App Store reviews, the most common complaint is that the ads claiming you can win big money with little effort are misleading.

As with all gaming apps, practice for free first. Then, never put more money at risk than you can afford to lose.

Solitaire Cash

I played my fair share of Windows Solitaire growing up, so Solitaire Cash got my attention.

solitaire cash app

The well-rated Android and iOS (4.6-stars from over 325k App Store reviews) game app pits you against similarly-skilled solitaire players. Everyone receives the same deck, and the top 3 players who finish with the most points win.

Of course, I recommend practicing for free first!

Solitaire Cash is free to download and play, but real money tournaments aren’t yet available in AZ, IN, IO, LA, ME, MT, SC, and WA.

Mistplay (Android)

With more than 10 million downloads, Mistplay is an interesting app that rewards you for discovering and playing new games on your phone.

mistplay app

The more you play, the more “units” you earn. Then you can cash in those units for gift cards to your favorite stores.

Check out the games with 3x or 4x unit “multipliers” to earn gift cards faster.

3. Video Game Testing

Before video games get released to the general public, they go through quite a bit of play testing. This is where your vast experience comes into play!

Knowing how a great game should work and providing that feedback to the developers can be super valuable.

If you like game apps on your phone, KashKick may be worth a look. At press time, they were offering $90-120 to play certain games and reach specific milestones. 

kashkick get paid to play games

Check out our full KashKick review to learn more.

Similarly, Cash Giraffe (Android only) connects you with new games that are trying to attract more players. The app tracks the time you spend playing and rewards you for hitting certain milestones.

cash giraffe

As you earn more Cash Giraffe tickets, you can cash out for gift cards or deposit directly into your PayPal account.

While Cash Giraffe is relatively new, it’s earned positive feedback so far. With over 5M downloads, its rated 4.3-stars on the Google Play Store.

In addition, some people actually turn game testing into their career! Most game companies hire quality assurance (QA) testers to spot bugs and other issues with games before they go on sale.

A quick search on Indeed found a number of job postings with salaries ranging from $30,000-85,000 a year.

4. Video Game Coaching

Video game coaching is a great option if you have a deep understanding and passion for specific games.

You can instruct other gamers through tutorials, screen-sharing walkthroughs, and group classes. Wouldn’t it be cool to get paid to share your tips, tricks, and advice?

On platforms like Gamer Sensei, you can set your own rates (typically $30/hour and up) and availability. But not all coaches who apply get accepted. While this keeps quality high on the platform, it can be discouraging if you’re just starting out.

An alternative would be to set up some coaching gigs on Fiverr for your favorite games, or try and find clients locally.

When creating your profile, put yourself in your potential customer’s shoes. Why should they hire you? What video game credentials do you have?

Your rates will vary based on your experience, the popularity of the game, and competition.

Most video game coaches charge by the hour — usually in the $20-200/hour range. However, you could earn even more with group classes.

5. All Skill Level Video Game Tournaments

You’ve probably heard of elite gamers winning big prize money from top-level video game tournaments. GameChampions lets players of all skill levels in on the excitement.

get paid to play video games with gamechampions

They use a “Fair Play Guarantee” to match you with players of similar skill, and have paid out over $10 million in prizes so far.

GameChampions is open to players 18 and older, but play-to-win money games aren’t available in all geographic areas. The company will give you a $5 sign-up bonus when you create your account.

6. Video Game Reporting

Another way to make money through your love of playing video games is to become a video game journalist.

The role involves reporting on video game news, upcoming games, writing game reviews, and even reporting from e-sport tournaments.

The two most common paths to get paid here are either as a staff writer for a gaming publication or as a freelancer. Your earning potential ranges from from $26,000 to $100,000 a year depending on your experience, writing skills, and portfolio.

7. Start a Video Game YouTube Channel

YouTube is still a popular platform where you can make money playing video games. Several avid gamers have created their own YouTube channel and stream their live gameplay or broadcast recorded videos that rely on followers and subscribers.

Video Game Coaching, Reporting, And Testing

In addition to streaming, you can create:

  1. gameplay tutorials
  2. engaging video game reviews
  3. helpful gameplay tips

Followers can recommend you to their gaming friends and the revenue can quickly become substantial. Video game YouTubers monetize with a combination of:

  • YouTube ad income
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Brand partnerships and sponsorships
  • Viewer support and donations
  • Merchandise and product sales

Typical advertising income for video game channels may be $3-5 for every 1,000 views. With a popular channel, that can add up fast!

Another common monetization strategy on YouTube is to make product recommendations, and use your affiliate link in the description. That way, you’ll earn a commission when anyone buys through your link.

8. Stream on Twitch

Twitch has become one of the most popular sites for gaming across the globe. It’s the go-to site for video gamers to earn money streaming their gameplay.

As your following grows, you’ll start to earn subscription and donation revenue. Top streamers make 6- and even 7-figures a year!

Twitch works best if you’re either very good at a certain game, and/or very entertaining to follow. Remember, you’re competing for your followers’ limited attention, so the content needs to be really compelling.

And similar to YouTube, as you gain trust and build a relationship with your audience you can monetize with donations, merch, brand deals, and more.

9. Crypto Gaming

The rise of cryptocurrency and NFTs have opened up another revenue stream for video gamers.

For example, in Axie Infinity, gamers raise, trade, and battle NFT pets known as Axies. As you level up, your characters become more and more valuable — and can be bought and sold.

The in-game currency, Axie Infinity Shards, can then be bought or sold on exchanges like Coinbase.

Crypto gaming is definitely an area to keep an eye on.

10. Create Video Game Guides

Years ago, a friend of mine was making thousands of dollars a month selling a Minecraft guide on Amazon. He’d self-published the book, had no audience, but people searching “Minecraft” on Amazon found it and bought it.

Video game guides or tutorials can show others how to complete tricky levels or improve their gameplay. It’s another way to convert your expertise into cash.

After you’ve created the guides, you can post them on your social media, upload them to YouTube, or sell the whole bundle as an online course.

This isn’t a video game example, but may still be relevant. Kat Norton created TikTok tutorials on how to use Excel better. Those went viral, and she ended up putting together an in-depth training program on Excel and other Microsoft products. (And turned those into a wildly profitable business!)

Could you do the same for your favorite game?

11. Sell Merchandise

As a gamer, you know that a love of video games can be part of your identity. That’s why game-themed or game-inspired merch can be such a hit.

If you have some design skills, take a look at sites like Etsy and Redbubble to see what’s selling. You may not be allowed to use licensed characters in your design, but you can get creative to sell other products gamers would love.

make money selling video game merch on redbubble

Thanks to print on demand technology, you don’t have to carry any inventory or deal with shipping. Simply upload your designs, set your prices, and the platforms take care of the rest.

Another angle would be to partner with popular streamers to make merch for their fans. Do they have a particular inside joke or catchphrase that would make a fun shirt? Reach out with your design samples and see if they’d be open to splitting revenue with you.

12. Build Your Own Video Game or App

How cool would it be to have your own popular game on the App Store? If you don’t have coding or game design experience, you can learn from top-rated courses like this one.

Developers earn a 70% royalty on any sales of the app or in-app purchases. For a popular game, that can turn into a serious income stream.

Sometimes the biggest hits are the simplest. Take Wordle for example, where you have 6 chances to guess a 5-letter word. Creator Josh Wardle sold it to The New York Times just a few months after starting it for more than $1 million!

Should the proposal be a hit, you can use your own gaming skills to develop the game you have always wanted to play.

13. Be a Video Game Developer

Be A Video Game Developer

Your skills as a gamer can also be used behind the scenes as a video game developer. Becoming part of the video game industry itself can be a lucrative career choice and a video game developer is an in-demand skill.

In this role, you’ll be responsible for turning game ideas into reality through code and collaboration. Plus, per ZipRecruiter, game developers earn an average of $100,000 a year.

14. Teach Video Game Design

If you already have some experience in how video games are made, you could turn around and teach others. Instructors can make money teaching video game design techniques and basic coding vocabulary and concepts.

If you like working with kids, take a look at Outschool. Here you’ll create an engaging class for future game designers and developers.

If your content is better for adults, you might create a pre-recorded class for Udemy or Skillshare. For every student who joins, you’ll earn a small royalty, with top instructors earning thousands of dollars a month.

15. Be a Professional Gamer

Do you have the skills to go pro? There are video game tournaments across the globe, often with serious prize money on the line.

Choose a game you know you’re great at, look for some local or online tournaments to get experience, and keep leveling up.

While elite-level gamers earn millions of dollars, the majority are just scraping by. This is similar to professional sports or acting, where the average income is quite low, but the pursuit of getting paid to do what you love is a huge draw.

16. Become an E-Sports Star

ESports — short for electronic sports — is a form of competition where you can earn prizes by playing video games.

The typical format involves professional players that compete against each other individually or as part of a team in a multiplayer contest. The increasing popularity of esports has a lot to do with how streaming has developed in the last decade or so.

As more gamers want to see competitions featuring their favorite games, more game developers have started competitions to showcase their games and provide funding for those tournaments.

Typically, the games that are involved in competitions are first-person shooters, multiplayer online battle arenas, battle royale, fighting, real-time strategy, and sports.

If you excel in competition and need to push the boundaries in a particular game or format then there are several e-sport franchises to choose from. These include:

  • Dota
  • Counter-Strike
  • League of Legends
  • Valorant
  • Overwatch
  • Super Smash Bros.
  • StarCraft
  • Street Fighter

Huge tournaments like the League of Legends World Championship and Intel Extreme Masters attract a big audience and even bigger paydays for the winners.

Getting Paid to Play Video Games: Final Thoughts

You can turn your love of video games into a money-making hobby. There are opportunities to get paid:

  • playing
  • coaching
  • reviewing
  • streaming
  • testing
  • developing
  • teaching
  • and more

Which option is right for you depends on your unique skills, interests, and goals. But one thing is certain: the days of your parents telling you that playing video games is a waste of time are over!

Serious About Making Extra Money?

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Get Sponsors For My Video Game Playing?

Once you establish a following for your video game playing, consider contacting sponsors directly. Focus on specific brands you’re already a customer of that you know your audience will love. Impress them with the popularity and quality of your content on YouTube or Twitch.

How Much Do Customer Service Representatives Make When Working For Video Game Companies?

Typically, a customer service representative for a video game company will make between $13.50 to $20 an hour.

Customer support and customer service are essential factors for any company. If you know your way around a certain game, you can help customers and deliver support via an in-game chat function. You may want to consider an internship first if you want to go on this career path.

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Nick Loper

About the Author

Nick Loper is a side hustle expert who loves helping people earn more money and start businesses they care about. He hosts the award-winning Side Hustle Show, where he's interviewed over 500 successful entrepreneurs, and is the bestselling author of Buy Buttons, The Side Hustle, and $1,000 100 Ways.

His work has been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Forbes, TIME, Newsweek, Business Insider, MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Financial Times, Bankrate, Hubspot, Ahrefs, Shopify, Investopedia, VICE, Vox, Mashable, ChooseFI, Bigger Pockets, The Penny Hoarder, GoBankingRates, and more.

6 thoughts on “16 Ways to Make Money Playing Video Games: Get Paid $4000/mo to Have Fun!”

  1. One of the apps that let me earn a decent amount of money is Paidwork. I’ve found it a couple months ago, I believe back when it’s name was still Zareklamy. Anyway, the app has a huge following and great amount of positive ratings. You can earn money in Paidwork by playing mobile games, filling surveys, watching videos, creating accounts and doing online shopping. I’d recommend it myself to at least give it a try, I’ve tried and I’m happy about it :D

  2. Great list once again!

    I would add few apps though that enable you to earn more:

    – Benjamin (they are available for iOS too): with Benjamin you can earn money from playing games and doing surveys. Kind of like a mix of Mistplay, RewardedPlay and Surveyjunkie. It pays better than any of those apps though.

    -Fiver: Sign up as a logo making artist, then add the description your client gives to you to a chatgpt and tell chatgpt DALL-e to design the logo – vola! Easy $20.


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