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Stop Working So Hard: Make Money in the Gaming Industry

Sherry Gray

Getting Paid to Play Video Games Sounds Too Good to Be True, Right? Maybe Not.

The gaming industry is gigantic.

The game sphere once populated by pimply teenage boys has grown to encompass literally everyone and explosive growth in the global market has reached $91.5 billion in revenues.

While most people who want to work in gaming set their sights on designing or developing you can tap into the profits without being a tech genius.

Earn Income Gaming on YouTube 

A surprising number of people make a living on social media and the gaming industry spawns tremendous opportunity for those active on socials. PewDiePie is perhaps the most famous YouTube gamer. He's a Swedish comedian (real name Felix Kjellberg) who earns millions.

Yes, you read that right, millions, by uploading videos to YouTube of himself playing games. Forbes reported his 2015 income at $12 million. If you're rethinking your entire career trajectory right now, join the club.

*Warning: NSFW. Language and violence.

While PewDiePie has diversified his presence from YouTube to other channels, he was never the only one. Other YouTubers may not have found the same ridiculous level of success, but plenty of them are earning good money by tapping into the gaming industry. Here's a list of the top 500 YouTube gamers.

Become a Video Game Tester

Seriously, video game testing is a real thing. There are multitudes of people who get paid by actual companies to play video games. Before you start that particular jobs search, though, do some research about the reality of video game testing.

While it may not sound as fun as it seems like it should and testers don't earn high salaries those who are detail-oriented and looking to get their foot in the door in the gaming industry see this as a reasonable place to begin their new career.

Make Money Hosting Your Own Specialized Gaming Server

Multiplayer gaming is an obsession for millions of players, and the most dedicated gamers purchase server space designed to enhance their experience and allow them to connect with their friends. A few enterprising companies have jumped on the opportunity to offer stable, reliable gaming servers specific to certain popular games.

For example, Minecraft is a wildly popular game with more than a million players online at any given time. Players begin with a blank landscape, a few basic tools, and learn to construct buildings brick-by-brick often until they have a whole empire. Leasing server space guarantees that they won't lose what they've built.

Consider the business opportunity. Canadian-based GGServers offers Minecraft hosting plans starting at free. Casual users try it out, and if they don't like the game or the hosting, they can drop off.

When they get serious (read: hooked), they will feel the need to expand incrementally to bigger packages that offer unique features and bigger price tags. This becomes a revenue stream that never ends for some users, with more than 200,000 players worldwide creating their own private worlds.

Pursue a Career as a Video Game Producer

While a team of people is tasked with creating the game another team handles the business end. The producer is a project manager who deals with the administrative duties much like a business manager at any kind of company. A producer might oversee staff and manage project workflow, deal with licensing, marketing and budgeting.

It's a great job with a lot of responsibility and as a bonus, you get all that insider knowledge about upcoming releases. If your career ambition is business administration, video game producer is a way to make it a lot more interesting.

There are plenty of other administrative jobs in gaming. Unless they are created by an independent developer working on a shoestring budget with no staff games, like every other product, need websites, IT support, marketing, and customer service.

Find a Support Job for Games

A lot goes into video games and many rely heavily on music to set the mood and the pace of the game. Original music requires a composer, musicians, technicians, and producers.

Other creative gigs include voiceover acting. There's even a job board for hiring voices where actors upload voice samples showcasing their range, accents, and character portrayals.

3D Modeling for Game Design

Several online marketplaces exist for 3D artists to sell their work. Game designers can cut production time down by buying ready-made 3D models of people, animals, objects, and buildings. Talented artists can resell their designs and the design possibilities are endless. Artist renderings of everything from the small independent elements like hands to faithful renderings of complicated machinery.

Gaming Psychology Opportunities

Even psychologists have job opportunities. Video games are far more than just empty entertainment. They are addictive for a reason. They inspire strong emotional responses because they are designed to do just that. Game developers turn to psychologists for insight into emotional triggers, behavioral cues, and emotional responses.

Psychologists also help game developers respond to shifting demographics. As I mentioned, gaming is no longer strictly for teenage boys. While the perception remains the same nearly half of all gamers are women.

Women should have always been a natural audience, but game developers are just beginning to tap into the female fascination with gaming. Since the earliest civilizations, women have played games both with their children and in social groups. How strange that video games were so specifically targeted to men for so long.

With all of the money in the gaming industry, opportunities abound for enterprising entrepreneurs and young people looking to start a career in a fascinating industry. The cleverest among us forge a different path and make their own way creating a new industry that never existed before.

Image Credit: LightFieldStudios / Getty Images
Sherry Gray Member
Sherry Gray is a freelance content writer from Key West, FL, currently suffering the burbs of Orlando. She's a science geek, a social media junkie, and a unapologetic fan of all things bacon.