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Know-How: Make Money Playing Online Games – Myth or Reality?

Know-How: Make Money Playing Online Games – Myth or Reality?This is analytical post, i warn you. Well, as much analytical, as this theme could be IMHO. I’ve been reading several articles on the subject of “how to earn money playing games” and it seems to me that people are constantly trying to find a way to pull this trick off: to earn money by playing a game, i.e. by doing no real work and getting all the good stuff at the same time. No wonder everyone wants that. But this post isn’t for boasting about a new “magical” way to earn money, no – i want to sum up whatever I’ve heard on the matter around the Internets and look critically at it. Really, is that even possible, to earn anything by just playing a game? Well, my answer is “no” – mostly you still have to work hard to earn anything, but at least this work has something to do with gaming. So, let’s sort out what can of work might that be? (Side note – no links provided, to avoid even accidental promotion of scammers and such).

As i see it, there are several different classes of approaches that are supposed to earn you money, each of them having several sub-classes.

You play a game and earn money by just playing it, pure and simple.
There are two ways for this: professional gaming and tournaments.

1) Professional gaming

Know-How: Make Money Playing Online Games – Myth or Reality? Professional Gaming (Cybersport) It’s no joke. While it may be enticing to just play games all day and get paid for it, like kids often imagine this stuff, it’s not that easy – it’s a work. Cyber sport is official now, but it includes only so much disciplines (games), the most famous are StarCraft and several multiplayer shooter games, but not any MMOs so far (though, there are rumors of League of Legends being accepted as a cyber sport game too). People playing in cyber sport, like other sportsmen, have to train constantly – to play 16-18 hours per day, each day, all the time. Usually they are young males with no more education than a school behind them, having no real profession besides playing. Those who got ranked can earn significant amounts of money at the time, but what will happen to them when they’ll get too old to compete with more younger contestants or their game is out of the business? And to one successful cyber sportsman how many are there who couldn’t get any top scores, or couldn’t get past their local gaming club at all?

Verdict: there are people who earn on cyber sport, but it’s as much a reliable way to make money, as becoming an actor and hoping to get as rich and famous as Angelina Jolie. Some can do it, but the majority can not.

2) Paid tournaments

Know-How: Make Money Playing Online Games – Myth or Reality? Paid tournaments The first I’ve heard of debuted in 2007, a service named Tournaments and offered by some UK-based company, and today many of them exist. The point was to imitate professional gaming without all the participants being professional. There are some games, you pick one and pay a fee to compete against other players, whoever wins gets the money and the company gets its per cent. Look nice, but in reality the company does everything to make everyone lose, for example, in some of them even if your odds are 50/50 to win a match, the system counts it more like 70/30. So if you won one match you’re up, but if you lost one – you’re lower than you were before and it will take more than one match to be back where you were.

Verdict: a hidden scam. If you’ll to play in a casino there’s a better chance to win anything than here.

You play a game and do some stuff based on your gaming experience, that you sell to other gamers for profit.

Know-How: Make Money Playing Online Games – Myth or Reality? Selling game guides If you know a game really good, you could write a guide about the game and sell it. There are tons of guides and e-books about pretty much any game, about leveling and money-making techniques or even class guides. And from what i can tell, people are actually buying this stuff, especially when the writer is already an established name and is known to be selling useful guides. There are several downsides to this method, though:

1) You’ll need to know a game pretty well and be fluid with words to write something worth paying for. If you write about something that everyone already knows, after several first sales the word of mouth will go around and people will stop buying.

2) You’ll need to promote your e-book – to design a landing page that will convince people your book is something they really in need of, that it’s worth paying for and is not a scam (landing page is what you see after clicking an advert on some website – made entirely to succeed in selling something). You’ll also need to invest into making and placing ads that will let people know you’re selling something and catch their interest, and of course you’ll need to find a system that’ll accept people’s payments and send you your part earning.

Bad landing page!  3) And let’s not forget that there are other e-books selling around, maybe on the very same subject you choose to write on. To compete with them successfully you need at least a minor knowledge of psychology and advertising, because you would make mistakes and couldn’t best other sellers who may have this knowledge.

Verdict: a possible way to earn money, but troublesome business and potentially requires some special knowledge and initial investments.

You play and sell in-game stuff.

Know-How: Make Money Playing Online Games – Myth or Reality? Selling in-game stuff and accounts That’s like gold farming, just on your own – you farm for items and gold, and then sell it off to other players. The bright side is that you play a game, the downside is that your game gets to be your full-time work from now on, which takes off most of the fun. And don’t forget you could get banned any time for selling things that aren’t supposed to be sold. Around 5 years ago or so i heard about a Russian guy in Eve Online, he was farming in-game money with like 7 or 8 accounts at the same time and making around $1k per month off eBay with those, so he dropped his day-time job and spent all the time farming. Don’t know what happened to him later, though. World of WarCraft gold and stuff is what’s most popular to be farmed and sold, but Blizzard is watching over gold farmers and just early this year Ebay banned everyone who sold items for WoW, as i heard. I had a post about gold farming a long ago. Also, there is a way to earn something by selling out your entire gaming account – it’s quite popular in Eve Online even now.

Verdict: may be theoretically possible, but depends on a game and needs a lot of work and time. Also, possible investments – to buy botting software and to replace banned accounts and such.

You play a game and then gather people around you based on your common gaming preferences.

Know-How: Make Money Playing Online Games – Myth or Reality? Earning money by blogging  You set up a blog and write stuff – whatever, gaming tips, reviews, gaming techniques, news, etc. Or, in case of video blogging, you set up a YouTube (or some other network’s) account, record videos and upload them for people to watch – video reviews, gameplay videos, etc. Or you develop a website about a particular game or a whole genre or whatever, and post videos and articles on the matter on it (the difference between a website and a blog is that blogs are more dynamic and can react to things faster, while a website usually can cover more topics at once by having different sections). Anyway, the point is to build up a community around your blog or website so people will come to read you again and again.

Some time ago during the winter MarkeeDragon announced blogging as a reliable way to make money and many their readers rushed in, setting up blogs and video network accounts, expecting money to flow in. But in truth, video game blogging has nothing special and is covered by general blogging rules, meaning it’s not easier to make money off gaming blogs than off any other blogs for that matter. The downside is that blogs are so popular these days that every housewife seems to have a blog by now, which means market is really saturated and you have to pick out your niche very carefully to avoid as much competition from other bloggers as possible.

There are two general ways how people earn money with blogging:

Know-How: Make Money Playing Online Games – Myth or Reality? Eaning money with Adsense 1) Advertising. For English-speaking Internets this includes both networks like Adsense (Google’s network) and pay-for-place ads that other bloggers or websites may want to buy. Advertising networks pay you for impressions (how many people saw their ads displayed on your blog) and clicks (how many proceeded to click the ads displayed). Usual click-through rate is around 0,01-0,03% – out of 1000 impressions maybe 1 or 3 clicks. 5 is a good rate. As you may see, to earn anything off ads you need to either have a very popular place (with thousands of visitors daily at the very least) or have many not-so-popular blogs. I know of people who make money off blogging who run over 50 blogs at the same time – they have a special software to fill in the blogs for them or “black writers” who would generate content for mere cents.

I don’t know about other segments, but in Russian Internets there also “link exchange” and “post sales” – I’m speaking of it as a general example that different segments of Internets have different means of making money. Link exchange in Russian Internet has been taken to a whole new level that no Easters service has reached yet, there are huge websites where people are selling and buying tens of thousands of links in blogs and websites, so bloggers can get paid to put links in their posts. Also, post sales is when you’re paid to post about something.

As far as i know, Twitter can be monetized too, when someone pays you to tweet about something, but you need several thousands of followers for it and i never have actually tried it.

Know-How: Make Money Playing Online Games – Myth or Reality? Affiliation programs 2) Affiliation programs. The essence of it is simple: if you have a website or a blog you may post links to goods that other people are selling and get your share of sales made with your links. As an example for gaming, i may point out Shattered Crystal’s program – it’s a service selling assortment of game time cards for a lot of games.

Verdict: it IS possible to earn money by blogging. Just remember, either you need to have a LOT of blogs and the same time, or you need to get very popular. Both ways are neither fast nor easy, and you certainly won’t see a flow of income right the next day. It’s really hard to get traffic when you just started gets up to several months for search engines to notice you.

Not that i am a big expert here, you see – I’m too lazy to run 50 blogs at a time and too busy to make promoting my blog a full-time job. In the first place i made this blog just to see how it works, to try out different online promotion services (and you can’t try them unless you have something to promote, right?) and to keep my English from receding. So i have earned 15$ so far off Adsense (you can check the first post for a date when this blog has started, to get the whole idea). If I’d be more persistent and had, like, 10 blogs – that would be a more significant amount, i guess.

Getting a real-life works that has something to do with gaming.

Know-How: Make Money Playing Online Games – Myth or Reality? Being a gaming journalist Being a writer. The next step you may take after the blogging is getting yourself a job as a gaming journalist, for example, as a MMORPG.com reviewer, or maybe some other site or magazine that would pay you to play a game for several weeks and then review it. You have to be really fluent in English (or whatever other language you’re going to write in) and lucky to find just the right spot to get the job, though, and they may be not paying you for some time at first – just like with any other jobs, i guess.

Being a tester. Every game needs testers, and at some point developers hire people to test the games, even MMOs are going through that process before being beta-tested, although these days MMO developers prefer to release games unfinished so when beta-Know-How: Make Money Playing Online Games – Myth or Reality? Being a testertesting them we’re actually providing them with free alpha tests. The difference between alpha and beta testing is that the alpha test is done very early in development to test core features like game engine and textures, and the beta is held just prior to launch, to check the balance and polish stuff. Being a beta tester is possible only for those who live geographically close to big companies developing games (you lucky bastards, lol!). I’d love to work as a tester, but no one develops games around where i live :(

Know-How: Make Money Playing Online Games – Myth or Reality? Being a developer Being a developer: Geographically not so restrictive, because for a good developer many companies are willing to pay to move even overseas. My husband’s childhood friend is moving to work in USA just about now. But you have to be a skilled developer for that, you know – having a degree in programming, engineering, design or computer graphics, and such.

Verdict: Have to be a skilled professional OR live in the right place. Being a writer is entirely possible, but is like getting any other job – need to have some skills and work hard, and be lucky enough to get it in the first place. Being a tester is a matter of where you live and if you have the needed skills (yes, testers DO need skills for their work too!). And being a developer… well, if you’re 14-16 years old now, you can start aiming for that job by planning to go into the right college.

Developing something on your own

Angry Birds! That’s the last resort. If you’re a programmer and have friends that can draw (or, you’re an artist and have a friend who can code, for that matter), you can develop your own game and sell it. With Apple and Android gadgets it’s getting easier with every year – just look at AngryBirds, these guys who made it has hit just the right spot! But i think i don’t need to tell you that developing a game is no easy business, do i?

Also, it is possible to develop and sell other non-game stuff. For example, i saw tools for WoW on Apple Store – a small programs that would calculate how much money you’re going to earn selling something, or what your character stats would be with certain gear, etc. Just an example. Again, you’ll have to promote your good, and that is a another matter apart from developing something.

Verdict: have to be a skilled professional again, and not an easy task.

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